Feb. 1, 2013
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Tennessee men's and women's swimming and diving teams both lost to Florida in the regular-season finale Friday at Stephen C. O'Connell Center
The fourth-ranked Lady Vols (8-1, 3-1 SEC) took their first loss of the year 167-133 to the seventh-ranked Florida team, while the Vols (4-4, 2-1) fell to the fifth-ranked Gators 208-92.
Both Gator teams were honoring their own seniors both in the ceremony beforehand and the competition, much like the Tennessee squads had done the week before en route to upsetting Georgia.
The Lady Vols won 8 of 16 total events and clocked some of their best times of the season but could not quite match Florida's home pool advantage in the point totals. The Lady Vols won both relays in NCAA qualifying times and the team posted nine B-cut times in individual races.
Senior Kelsey Floyd and sophomore Molly Hannis both stayed unbeaten this season in their signature strokes and led the way for the Lady Vols. Floyd won the 100- and 200-yard butterfly in NCAA B-cut times, and Hannis did the same in the 100 and 200 breaststroke.
"For the women, we had a lot of swims and times that were faster than last week, so I think we're making progress," Tennessee head coach Matt Kredich said. "To be in this environment on their Senior Day, we were competitive out there."
"The Florida men's team is very special," Kredich said. "They're very deep, very good. I'm proud of our guys for staying after it, and I thought we competed very well. There was no real letdown by our guys, even when it was obvious the score wasn't going our way. It was a big step for our men."
Now Tennessee's sights are set on the SEC Swimming and Diving Championships, which start Feb. 19 at Texas A&M.
IN THE MEN'S RACESFreshman Sean Lehane has become a force in the backstroke for the Vols this season, and he led the way again against Florida on Friday. He won the 200-yard backstroke in 1 minute, 45.08 seconds. He also took fourth in the 200 freestyle in 1:39.41.
The Vols' other win off the blocks came from the 200 medley relay team of Samuel Rairden, Renato Prono, Oystein Hetland and Ed Walsh in 1:28.26. Prono had a solid day all around, taking second in the 100 breaststroke in an NCAA B-cut time of 55.01.
"We made some mistakes in different places, and I think it came from being too aggressive," Kredich said. "We didn't quite have the presence I hoped we would have, but I would rather be too aggressive than passive."
Tennessee nearly swept the backstroke. Rairden was just beat out at the wall in the 100 backstroke, finishing in 48.56. He was also third in the 100 freestyle. Walsh also took second in the 50 and 100 freestyle.
IN THE WOMEN'S RACESSenior Kelsey Floyd and sophomore Molly Hannis provided four of the Lady Vols' five individual race wins. All four victories came in NCAA B-cut times.
Floyd won the 100 butterflies in 52.97 and the 200 butterfly in 1:57.93. Hannis won the 100 breaststroke by more than two seconds, touching the wall in 1:01.65. She also enjoyed a strong win in the 200 breaststroke (2:15.17).
"We lost close races, which we never like, but we saw some mistakes exposed that we can clean up," Kredich said. "I like where we are in the last couple weeks heading into secs."
Junior Lindsay Gendron won the 200 freestyle in 1:44.43, edging out Florida's Jamie Bohunicky by .14. She also placed second in the 500 freestyle (4:41.22) and third in the 200 individual medley (2:02.94).
The Lady Vols also racked up an NCAA A-cut time in the 400 freestyle relay. Floyd, Faith Johnson, Harper Bruens and Lindsay Gendron finished in 3:17.20 in victory. The 200 medley relay team of Lauren Solernou, Hannis, Floyd and Caroline Simmons won in a B cut of 1:38.44.
In other NCAA B-cut times: Solernou was second in the 100 backstroke (54.19), Johnson was second in the 50 free (22.79) with Simmons following right behind (22.94).