Florida Gators even out at No. 13 in Top 25 polls

With eight days off, the Florida Gators (21-5, 10-2 SEC) were well-rested for their road match-up against the LSU Tigers (10-17, 2-10 SEC), even if they were without senior forward Chandler Parsons. Florida’s victory, combined with some losses at the top of the polls, allowed them to finally even out and climb in both standings.

WeekGator BaitRecordAP Top 25USA TodayNCAA RPI
Preseason--No. 7 (1,153)No. 7 (568)-
2W 68-45 vs. William & Mary1-0No. 8 (1,127)No. 7 (560)-
3L 69-67 vs. Miami
W(OT) 61-56 vs. ULM
2-1No. 18 (467)No. 16 (303)-

ESPN/USA TODAY
Last Week 1-25: Kansas (14), Texas (13), Ohio State (3), Pittsburgh (1), Duke, San Diego State, Notre Dame, Brigham Young, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Purdue, Connecticut, Arizona, Villanova, Florida, Louisville, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Syracuse, Missouri, Kentucky, Saint Mary’s, Utah State, Temple
+ Florida received 341 voting points

This Week 1-25: Duke (19), Kansas (1), Ohio State (4), San Diego State (3), Texas, Pittsburgh (4), Brigham Young, Purdue, Notre Dame, Arizona, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Florida, Villanova, Connecticut, Louisville, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Syracuse, Missouri, Kentucky, Utah State, Temple, St. John’s
+ Florida received 397 voting points

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Last Week 1-25: Kansas (22), Ohio State (14), Texas (23), Pittsburgh (6), Duke, San Diego State, Brigham Young, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Purdue, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Villanova, Louisville, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Missouri, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Temple, Xavier, Utah State
+ Florida received 775 voting points

This Week 1-25: Duke (35), Ohio State (10), Kansas (5), Pittsburgh (12), Texas (1), San Diego State, Brigham Young (2), Purdue, Notre Dame, Arizona, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Florida, Connecticut, Villanova, Louisville, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Missouri, Texas A&M, Kentucky, St. John’s, Temple, Xavier
+ Florida received 841 voting points

Numbers in parenthesis represent first-place votes.

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No. 14 Florida Gators at LSU Tigers Gameday

Location: Pete Maravich Assembly Center – Baton Rouge, LA [Capacity: 13,472]
Time: 1:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPN/ESPNHD
Online Video: ESPN3.com
Online Audio: Yahoo!
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

No. 14 FLORIDA GATORS LSU TIGERS
Head Coach: Billy Donovan Head Coach: Trent Johnson
Record: 20-5 (9-2) Record: 10-16 (2-9)
Division: SEC East Division: SEC West
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -10.5

HISTORY and STREAKS

» LSU leads the all-time series against Florida 60-38, has won six out of the last nine games in the series, and has not dropped a home game to UF since 2003. However, the Gators defeated the Tigers 72-58 last season.
» Donovan is now 10-8 all-time against LSU and 3-4 when facing them on the road. Conversely, Johnson is 1-1 against UF.
» Florida has won 15 of their last 18 games with 11 victories against RPI top 100 teams. The Gators are 6-1 on the road this season, which includes a 4-1 record in SEC play; they were 8-9 away from home last year. A victory Sunday would give UF seven true road wins for the first time since 2003.
» Florida is 3-1 against the SEC West this season after finishing a perfect 6-0 in the division last year. They are 53-17 against the division since 2000. LSU is 0-3 against the SEC East this season.
» The Gators earned back-to-back victories against ranked opponents for the first time since 2007, defeating then-No. 24 Vanderbilt and then-No. 11 Kentucky two weeks ago.
» Florida improved to 17-1 when holding opponents under 70 points this season after limiting South Carolina to 60 points last Wednesday.
» UF is 11-0 this season when forcing more turnovers than their opponents and 4-0 in SEC play when dishing 15 or more assists.
» The Gators will be without senior forward Chandler Parsons Sunday afternoon; a deep thigh bruise has ended his streak of 43 consecutive starts.
» Florida junior point guard Erving Walker is a trio of three-pointers away from tying the career total of Matt Walsh (192); the mark would place him sixth all-time in school history. Nine treys from Walker would move him into the top five.
» Defeating Tennessee on Saturday, UF reached 20 wins for the 13th consecutive season, the longest active streak in the SEC.
» The Gators best the Tigers in all four major statistical categories. Florida holds advantages in points per game 71-62.4 (120th-306th), rebounding 38.2-35.5 (39th-149th), assists 13.9-11.4 (106th-285th) and field goal percentage .458-.401 (78th-318th). UF ranks 12th in RPI (.6389) and seventh in strength of schedule nationally compared to their opponent being 215th (.4704) and 114th, respectively.

GATORS WITHOUT PARSONS ON SUNDAY

Parsons, who is averaging double-digit points (10.8) while leading the Gators with 7.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game, will not be active Sunday after suffering a deep thigh bruise last Saturday against Tennessee, the University of Florida announced Saturday evening. He underwent treatment for the injury throughout the week and even traveled with the team to Baton Rouge but is simply not healthy enough to get on the court. Florida was hopeful Parsons could be ready as the team had eight consecutive days off for him to heal. With the Gators’ next game not until Thursday, he could have up to 11 days off should he not return to practice early in the week. It is expected that freshman F Casey Prather will start in his place, though Donovan could choose to go with a smaller lineup including freshman PG Scottie Wilbekin instead.

KEEP AN EYE ON…

» Walker…who is leading his team in scoring with 14.7 points per game and leading the backcourt in both field goal percentage (.423) and three-point percentage (.385). Walker also leads Florida in turnovers (63) and became the 47th player in school history to score 1,000 points earlier this season.
» Redshirt senior center Vernon Macklin…who is shooting a team-best 58.3 percent from the floor this season with most of his buckets coming inside the paint. He averages 11.3 points and 5.9 rebounds a game while being a major presence for UF.
» Sophomore guard Kenny Boynton…who is arguably the Gators’ most talented player but is struggling with consistency shooting the ball. Boynton is only hitting 36.1 percent from the field and 29.5 percent from beyond the arc; however, he is second in scoring with 12.9 points per game and makes a team-high 82.9 percent of his free throws.
» Senior F Alex Tyus…who is averaging career-lows in points, rebounds and field goal percentage as a starter. Tyus became just the fifth player under Donovan to reach 500 career field goals, accomplishing the feat two weeks ago against Vanderbilt.
» Prather…who will likely earn his first start for the orange and blue on Sunday. The freshman only plays an average of 6.9 minutes per game but is shooting at a 48.5 percent clip on 33 shot attempts this season.
» Wilbekin and C Patric Young…who are Florida’s primary reserves each averaging approximately 17 minutes per game. Wilbekin, in relief of Walker, leads UF in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.25:1), while Young averages 3.3 points and 3.3 boards off the bench.
» LSU Gs Ralston Turner and Andre Stringer…who are both freshmen yet their team’s best scorers. The duo combines for 24.2 points per game while each playing 30-31 minutes every contest. Turner is the better three-point shooter (33.6 percent), but Stringer is the best free throw shooter of the starting five (76.3 percent).
» Tigers F Malcom White…who is his team’s third-leading scorer with 8.5 points per game. White also averages 5.5 boards and shoots a team-best 47 percent from the field.

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2/18: Parsons questionable for Sunday at LSU

No. 14/15 Florida Gators (20-5, 9-2 SEC) head basketball coach Billy Donovan likes to talk – and we like to listen – which is why we have compiled some of the most important news, notes and quotes following his press availability Friday.

PARSONS DAY-TO-DAY FOR WEEKEND MATCH-UP

Though he will travel with the team to Baton Rouge, LA, senior forward Chandler Parsons (deep thigh bruise) is questionable to play in Sunday’s game and will almost certainly not be in the starting lineup for Florida, Donovan said Friday. Parsons has been hobbling around all week after injuring himself last Saturday against Tennessee and has been receiving treatments multiple times per day.

“Because of the internal bleeding in his leg, the first 48 hours were pretty critical in terms of him staying off of it, on crutches, elevation,” Donovan said. “The pain in his leg is subsiding. He’s done some workouts in pools, but he has not done any running. He has not done any shooting. “

Donovan, who noted that Parsons will make a “full recovery” has had “no issues” and could be “100 percent” by next Thursday, said he has a “50-50″ chance of playing Sunday, partially because he will not have practiced all week up until the game. “If he does play, I’d say that he probably definitely will not start,” he said. “It would probably be a situation where we put him in there just to see how he [feels]. As a coach, I’m going into the game planning that he’s not going to be able to play. I know in his mind he wants to play, thinks he’s going to play.”

Aggravating the injury further is not an issue UF needs to worry about, Donovan noted. “We’re not concerned that, if he does play, there’s going to be any more damage to his leg,” he said. “He’s going to be padded up enough that, if he did get hit there, they’re confident it’s not going to be an issue.”

Luckily for the Gators, the LSU Tigers (10-15, 2-8 SEC) are one of the worst performing teams in the Southeastern Conference. Nevertheless, Parsons has been on fire for Florida recently, notching three consecutive double-doubles before getting injured.

He will probably be replaced in the starting lineup by either freshman point guard Scottie Wilbekin or freshman guard Casey Prather, Donovan noted. Prather would be the more natural fit, while Wilbekin would push Walker to the two and Boynton to the three. “When you got a really good player that’s out, it’s got to be a collective group of people that’s got to try to raise their play,” he said.

ADDITIONAL TIME OFF CAN BE GOOD OR BAD

With at least two games per week since 2011 began, the Gators have not had much time to relax, recover and get healthy in the second half of the season. Playing Sunday after eight days off could be a gift or a curse, Donovan said.

“We’ve been on a pretty regular schedule, playing a lot of games. This is the first time probably since Christmas break that we’ve had [extra time off],” he noted. “We play Thursday-Saturday-Tuesday. Although we have a little bit of a break with one game in 12 days, we then have a lot of games in a short period of time. […] You’re always concerned how your team is going to come out and play when you have eight days off.”

One group with no issues about the extra time off is the players. “This break has done a lot for us,” sophomore guard Kenny Boynton said. “[Thursday] we had a great practice. The LSU game, we should be energized. We should come out with a lot of intensity and be ready to play.” Walker agreed. “It was huge for us, especially with Chandler being hurt right now,” he said. “The extra time to rest up may help us get him back on Sunday.”

Check out Donovan’s thoughts on Walker’s freedom with the ball…after the break!
Continue Reading » 2/18: Parsons questionable for Sunday at LSU

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SIX BITS: Trattou, Donovan, Dwyer, gym, swim

1 » Former Florida Gators defensive end Justin Trattou will participate in the 2011 East-West Shrine Game at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, FL on Saturday. He will wear No. 84 in the game, which will air live on NFL Network at 4 p.m.

2 » Florida head basketball coach Billy Donovan is currently participating in The Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge, a charitable contest where coaches are vying to win money for an organization they choose to represent. Donovan, who is representing the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation, could win $100,000 for the organization in the contest. Vote for him right here and remember that “inspiration is contagious.”

3 » When it comes to Dwyer High School four-star quarterback recruit Jacoby Brissett (West Palm Beach, FL), it seems no one knows exactly what he is going to do. Though he has officially eliminated South Carolina and Florida State from contention, Brissett is being pursued heavily by a number of schools in addition to the Gators. Miami and Washington are both going hard after him, according to the Palm Beach Post. Dwyer head coach Jack Daniels believes Brissett is the “No. 1 player [Miami] target[s],” and says the player is intrigued by Washington because of their success in getting players ready for the NFL. Daniels disputed that Brissett “holds a grudge” against Florida. “He doesn’t hold a grudge because it’s a new coaching staff. He’s just proud, and he wants to show everyone who didn’t offer him early,” he said. “It wasn’t against UF; it was against the staff that was there before.” That statement aligns with the original story on the subject, the point being that the negative feelings may be too much to overcome – even with a new coaching staff in place.

Daniels also told the Post that four-star linebacker Curt Maggitt (West Palm Beach, FL) was pleased with an in-home visit from Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley. He is planning to visit the Gators next weekend and, though he may take an unofficial trip to Miami, is likely between UF, UT and Wisconsin with the first two schools out in front.

4 » No. 1 Florida gymnastics (3-0, 2-0 SEC) continued their winning ways on Friday, defeating the No. 24 LSU Tigers (0-3, 0-2 SEC) 196.425-194.00 on the road at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, LA. Sophomore Ashanée Dickerson won her 10th all-around title while claiming at least a share of each of Friday’s five event titles. She is the first Gators gymnast since 2000 to sweep all of the event titles in a single meet, winning the floor exercise (9.95), vault (9.90) and balance beam (9.825) while sharing the uneven bars title (9.80).

5 » Though they put together a solid performance, No. 5/6 Gators men’s and women’s swimming fell to the No. 6/12 Auburn Tigers on Friday at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center in Auburn, AL. The men (4-3, 2-1 SEC) lost 167-133, while the women (4-4, 0-2 SEC) were upended 165-135. Florida’s men had not fallen in SEC competition in almost two full years…their prior defeat also came at Auburn on Jan. 24, 2009.

In more upbeat news, three Gators swimmers were selected to the United States’ 2011 FINA World Championship Team on Friday. Senior Conor Dwyer, junior Teresa Crippen and freshman Elizabeth Beisel will all participate for USA Swimming in Shanghai, China from July 24-31. Gregg Troy, Florida’s head swimming coach who agreed to coach the United States’ men’s team at the 2012 London Olympics, will be an assistant coach on the FINA squad, which also features another former Gators swimmer, Ryan Lochte. Florida’s three selections to the team led any NCAA school.

6 » No. 9 Gators men’s tennis (1-0) took home an impressive 7-0 victory against the Furman Paladins in their season-opener on Friday at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville, FL. The No. 11 duo of senior Alexandre Lacroix and junior Nassim Slilam won their doubles match 8-3; No. 4 Lacroix also won his singles match 6-0, 5-7 (10-4). Other ranked victories came from sophomores No. 28 Sekou Bangoura, Jr. (6-1, 6-1) and No. 52 Bob van Overbeek (6-0, 6-1) in singles action.

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FOUR BITS: Crowder, Gonzales, Fox, Andrews

You can view the rest of the pictures from this photoshoot right here.

1 » Before returning to coach in college, new Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp spent a season coordinating the defense under Nick Saban in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins. As a rookie third-round draft choice, former Gators linebacker Channing Crowder played for Muschamp and was thrilled to learn he was hired to lead his alma mater. “He’s an energetic dude. I’m excited for him,’’ Crowder told MiamiDolphins.com writer Andy Kent, who related his thoughts to the University of Florida senior writer Scott Carter. “He’s a proven defensive coordinator and he knows defense. When he was here I want to say we were the No. 3 or No. 4 defense in the league. He’s just a smart dude and he’s going to be a young head coach. He’s going to bring energy to the team. Urban [Meyer] was a great coach but he was more of that laid-back, dictator type. Will’s going to get in there and get dirty with the guys and I think he’s going to be great for Florida. […] Now he’s going to be in the spotlight at Florida, especially coming into the situation he’s coming into with a proven program. I think it was a great hire and I think he’ll bring a lot of excitement.’’

2 » Passed over for Steve Addazio for the open offensive coordinator position with the Gators, Billy Gonzales left his post as wide receivers coach under Meyer to join the LSU Tigers staff for the same position with the enhanced title of “passing game coordinator.” Though the Tigers are now searching for a new offensive coordinator, ESPN‘s Bruce Feldman reports that head coach Les Miles will be looking to fill the position with someone outside the program. It should be noted that, contrary to Feldman’s report, there are rumors that Gonzales is the frontrunner for the position. Those have not yet been confirmed.

3 » Denver Broncos president John Elway announced Thursday afternoon that he and the organization have decided to hire veteran John Fox as the team’s next head coach. Fox, who will be faced with a number of important decisions in his first year including deciding whether or not Tim Tebow is his starting quarterback, had glowing things to say about the Heisman Trophy winner before the 2010 NFL Draft. “[Tebow] had a very, very good workout,” Fox said last March at Florida’s Pro Day. “He doesn’t lack in the work ethic department, so whatever needs to be done, he’ll do. I definitely saw some adjustment and I thought he executed very well.” He said later that Tebow is “a guy that has a great work ethic … that if there’s something that needs to be fixed, he can fix it.” Asked about his talent compared to his intangibles, Fox referenced another quarterback who was overlooked by some. “Did you ever watch Bernie Kosar play?” Fox said at a league meeting last year. “Bernie might not appreciate it, but I call it as I see it. He won a lot of games. So it’s not all just how pretty they are [or] how big.”

4 » Former Florida dazzler and current ESPN reporter Erin Andrews has signed an endorsement deal with Reebok to promote the company’s ZigTech brand. Joining names like Peyton Manning, Chad Ochocinco, John Wall and Sidney Crosby, Andrews will pitch the company’s footwear and apparel while helping to expand the ZigTech brand’s reach to a female audience. “I’m very excited to be the first female to become part of Reebok’s ZigTech campaign,” she said in an official statement. “I have been athletic all my life, and I’m thrilled to be working out in the same footwear and apparel that helps these athletes perform at the top of their game.”

Photo Credit: Reebok

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Top 10 for 2010: On the Field Moments of the Year

For as much as the Florida Gators were in the news off the field in 2010, the Gator Nation was making plenty of headlines on it as well. From game-winning baskets to displays of pure emotion, Florida experienced some unique athletic moments in 2010. Below are OGGOA‘s Top 10 On the Field Moments of the Year.

OGGOA RELATED: Top 10 for 2010: Off the Field Stories of the Year

10 » FLORIDA WINS INAUGURAL LACROSSE GAME (2/20/10)
When Florida decided it wanted to start another women’s athletics program, the University Athletic Association did extensive research and found out that women’s lacrosse would be the perfect fit. In preparation for their first season, the Gators and head coach Amanda O’Leary secured the country’s No. 1 recruiting class (according to Inside Lacrosse Magazine). All the hard work and preparation to get the team ready paid off on Feb. 20 when lacrosse debuted in the brand new Donald R. Dizney Stadium to a boisterous crowd of 2,114 spectators. Florida defeated Jacksonville 16-6 behind four goals and four assists from freshman sensation Ashley Bruns. All-in-all the Gators faced 16 championship-caliber teams and played so well that they reached the 2010 ALC Tournament semifinals. In just their second year of existence, Florida women’s lacrosse is ranked as the No. 17 team in the country going into the 2011 season.

9 » NEAR VICTORIES/HEARTBREAKING LOSSES (5/25/10 * 3/18/10 * 10/9/10)

It is rare for teams to go undefeated and even less likely that an entire athletic program can go through a season without its share of close losses and nail biting finishes. Such was the case for the Gators in 2010. On May 25, No. 3 women’s tennis was barely defeated by the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal for the 2010 NCAA National Championship. Stanford won 4-3 after Florida rallied when they were just two individual games away from being defeated. The Gators forced third sets in two singles matches; sophomore Joanna Mather took down her opponent but senior No. 65 Marrit Boonstra was not as lucky. Losing her first set 6-4, Boonstra fought back to even her match with No. 33 Mallory Burdette by taking the second set 6-7 (4). Down 2-0 in the third, she pushed ahead with a valiant effort to take a 5-4 lead but ended up losing her final three games, the match itself and the championship.

Returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three seasons, No. 10-seed Florida got in a bit easier than some might have expected. Matched up against the No. 7-seed Brigham Young Cougars in the event’s opening game, the Gators fought hard but could not stop Cougars star guard Jimmer Fredette. Allowing BYU to jump ahead 59-46 in the second half, UF came back behind freshman G Kenny Boynton and junior forward Chandler Parsons. Florida missed potential game-winners during regulation (Parsons) and the first overtime (Boynton) and eventually fell to Brigham Young 99-92 in a double-overtime heartbreaker with Fredette adding to his game-high 37 points.

Though losing a national championship and NCAA Tournament game are both difficult, Gators fans will probably look back on No. 12/14 Florida’s shocking loss to the No. 9/12 LSU Tigers on Oct. 10 as the worst near-victory of the season. Wearing orange jerseys for the first time since 1989, the Gators came back from a 12-point deficit when freshman wide receiver Andre Debose returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown, sophomore running back Mike Gillislee rumbled in for a touchdown and redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley completed a two-point conversion to sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. to cap a 10-play, 80-yard drive. All Florida wanted when its defense came out was a stop, but LSU put together a 62-yard game-winning drive that included numerous third down conversions and a converted fake field goal attempt on fourth down from UF’s 36-yard line with 35 seconds remaining. Back-to-back passes to WR Terrence Toliver (of 28 and 3 yards, respectively) and the Tigers left The Swamp with a 33-29 victory. Players have noted that the loss was a negative turning point in the season, one that may or may not have led to the team dropping their third-straight game one week later at home to Mississippi State.

Continue Reading » Top 10 for 2010: On the Field Moments of the Year

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Gators lose four-star LB Shazier to Buckeyes

Four-star linebacker Ryan Shazier (Plantation, FL) decided to decommit from the Florida Gators early Friday while taking an official visit in Columbus, OH, only to commit to the Ohio State Buckeyes later that evening.

One of the country’s top-ranked linebackers and a top-five commitment for the Gators, Shazier had received offers from more than three dozen schools including almost every major program in the country but committed to Florida and head coach Urban Meyer in June. After Meyer resigned, Shazier decided to look around and was called on by Ohio State and the LSU Tigers.

Because he plans to be an early enrollee, Shazier had to make his decision now rather than later.

New head coach Will Muschamp had met with Shazier and expressed his interest in retaining him as one of the Gators’ recruits. With his reneging, Florida will only have one front seven defensive commitment left on board in four-star defensive end Clay Burton (Venice, FL). Four-star DE Jeoffrey Pagan (Asheville, NC), formerly the Gators No. 2 overall commit, decommitted in late Nov.

Photo Credit: Davide De Pas/ESPN

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SIX BITS: Haslem, volleyball, WNIT, golf, swimming

1 » Injured Saturday while facing the Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem has been diagnosed with a torn ligament in his left foot and is expected to be out until at least the NBA All-Star break in February – if not longer. Haslem’s injury – should it require surgery – could keep him out the entire regular season though he would likely be able to return for the playoffs.

2 » No. 1/1 Florida Gators volleyball (26-1, 19-0 SEC) continued its roll through the Southeastern Conference on Sunday with a 3-1 (25-19, 33-31, 25-27, 25-13) victory over the No. 16 LSU Tigers (24-4, 15-4 SEC) at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, LA. Senior outside hitter Callie Rivers accounted for a career-high 21 kills, and junior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel registered 15 kills. Junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy’s dominance continued with her 14th straight double-double; she notched a season-high 31 assists along with 13 kills and eight digs. Florida ends regular season action on Friday on the road at South Carolina before beginning the 2010 SEC Tournament as the likely No. 1 overall seed.

Four more BITS on women’s basketball’s near upset victory, an achievement for men’s golf and updates on swimming and diving…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Haslem, volleyball, WNIT, golf, swimming

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