UF Women’s Swimming & Diving: Gators Claim Trio of Medals on Third Day at Auburn; Remain in Second-Place

Sherridon Dressel took home a bronze medal with the third-fastest 100 fly time in school history.
Photo by Courtney Culbreath

Vanessa Pearl, Elizabeth Perez, and Sherridon Dressel all make stops at the podium on Thursday night.

The No. 7 University of Florida women’s swimming and diving team reeled in a trio of medals on Thursday night in the 2020 Southeastern Conference Championships at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center in Auburn, Ala.

The Gators remain in second place for the second straight day with 585.5 points, just 47 points behind the leader, Tennessee (632.5 points). Kentucky rounds out the leaderboard in third with 491.5 points.

In Thursday’s finals session, 13 swimmers and divers tallied 229 points.

Vanessa Pearl and Sherridon Dressel led the Gators in the pool with their individual medals on the third day of competition.

Pearl claimed a runner-up bid in the 400 IM with a new season-best swim of 4:04.61. The time would stand as the fourth-fastest time in the NCAA this season and meets B-cut standards .

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Dressel swam the third-fastest 100 fly swim in Florida history to claim a bronze medal and a lifetime-best effort of 51.20.

She would improve on her morning tally by .40 seconds, which stood as her previous personal-best.

For the first time of her diving career, Elizabeth Perez secured a podium finish at the SEC Championships. She would earn a silver medal with her runner-up tally of 346.50, which was just 7.25 points from a first-place bid.

The score is also a new season-best for the sophomore.

Gator Splashes

  *   Kathleen Golding and Kelly Fertel posted seventh- and eighth-place finishes in the 400 IM A-final alongside Pearl. In her first career A-final, Golding hit a time of 4:10.56, while Fertel touched in 4:10.71.
  *   For the second time this week, Ashley McCool notched a fourth-place finish for the Gators, this time on the 3-meter board with an overall mark of 334.65.
  *   Qualifying for the B-final with the 10th-fastest prelim swim, Savanna Faulconer would shave 1.41 seconds off to win the event. Her time of 4:08.18 was the sixth-fastest swim overall.
  *   Rosie Zavaros would post a new personal-best with her swim of 4:12.60 in the 400 IM. Allie Piccirillo would finish in fourth-place in the heat with a swim of 4:15.12. In the prelim, she posted a new personal-best of 4:14.84.
  *   A trio of Florida swimmers would hit the water in the 200 free C-Final, with Tori Bindi leading the way with the second-fastest heat time after hitting the wall .52 seconds faster than the morning session. Leah Braswell finished right behind her in third, with a personal-best swim of 1:45.73. Jillian Hatch (seventh) and Taylor Ault (eighth) were the final finishers for the Gators in the pool on Thursday night.


Head Coach Jeff Poppell-

“We had a fantastic day today, filled with several outstanding performances, both in the pool and on the diving boards. I’m really proud of Vanessa and the way that she competed in the 400 IM. She had a little goggle mishap on the start but battled through the swim regardless. I think that swim sets her up really well for the NCAAs in just under a month. Sherridon has come so far since her freshman year, and it’s just so awesome to see the success that she is having as a senior. That was Sherridon’s first individual swim of the meet and a great way to get things rolling, heading into tomorrow’s 100 back, her best event. We’re still very much in the team race, just down 47  points to Tennessee. We don’t have many swims tomorrow, so we’ll need to make the most of our opportunities to stay in the hunt heading into Saturday.”

Head diving coach Bryan Gillooly-

On the divers’ performance on the 3-meter today…
“Everybody did great, all four of them. We had two that just missed the final, they made B-final–Brooke Madden and Emma Whiter. Hats off to them. Big team points there. It’s a great boost for the team”

On Ashley McCool’s performance in her first SEC meet…
“Ashley is solid. Two fourth-place finishes so far (at SEC’s), and she can do better. She didn’t do her very best, and we were still able to pull out fourth place, which is amazing. She toughed it out and kept battling through.”

On Elizabeth Perez’s second-place finish…
“What can I say about Elizabeth? She works harder than anybody I’ve ever met. Very deserving for her to pull this off. This is just the first step for her. I think she has a lot more in store, and this is going to help her, boost her confidence in the long run, and she has got a bright future ahead. She really needed this, and I’m really proud of her.”

On the remaining diving events and its impact on the overall team…
“Platform is typically not our strongest event, but everybody dives platform, and that’s for the team. That’s valuable team points that we can score there. Brooke (Madden) has been a finalist the last two years. Emma Whitner was a finalist last year. I’m looking for Emma to really step up. Everybody puts together a platform list, even though they’re really springboard divers primarily. We’re looking to rack up team points Saturday.”

Gator Medals

Day One- Bronze, 200 Medley Relay (Dressel, Ball, Garofalo, Pearl- third-fastest in school history)

Day Three- Silver, 400 IM- Vanessa Pearl Silver- 3-Meter- Elizabeth Perez, Sherridon Dressel (100 fly),


1. Tennessee- 632.5
2. Florida- 585.5
3. Kentucky- 491.5
4. Texas A&M- 491
5. Auburn- 478
6. Georgia- 456
7. Alabama- 351.5
8. Arkansas- 254
9. Missouri- 252
10. LSU- 236
11. South Carolina- 228
12. Vanderbilt- 90

What’s Next

Day Four will kick-off on Friday morning with the 200 fly prelim at 10:30 a.m. ET.

Tomorrow’s prelim and finals slate additionally includes the 100 back, 100 breast and men’s platform dives. The 400 medley relay will wrap-up things up on Friday night.