FOUR BITS: Dwyer, Holloway, baseball, watch list

1 » The second day of the 2011 Southeastern Conference Swimming Championships, held at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL, was just as exciting for the No. 5 Florida Gators men’s team as Wednesday’s opening day. Senior Conor Dwyer, who set two SEC records in one race (800-yard freestyle relay) a day ago, broke yet another on Thursday by swimming the 500-yard freestyle in 4:11.36. The No. 8 women also had some celebrating to do as junior Sarah Bateman set the school record in the 50-yard freestyle. The men’s team jumped up to second place overall after day two (70 points behind leader Auburn), while the women’s team took a hold of first place with a new total of 291 points (five above Georgia).

2 » Florida head swimming coach Gregg Troy was named the head coach of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Men’s Swimming Team on Dec. 8. Joining him as a Team USA coach in England for the 2012 London Olympics is Gators head track & field coach Mike Holloway, who was picked as an assistant coach for sprinters and hurdlers on Thursday. “It’s an incredible honor to be chosen by my peers to coach on the United States Olympic staff,” Holloway said, according to the University of Florida. “It’s something that I am very proud of, and I look forward to serving my country.”

3 » No. 1 Florida baseball will begin the 2011 season over the weekend with a trio of home games against the South Florida Bulls. The Gators have announced starters for the series but will be without last year’s ace, junior left-handed pitcher Alex Panteliodis (11-3, 3.51 ERA), as the team is being cautious with his return from offseason hip surgery. Sophomore LHP Brian Johnson (6-4, 4.03 ERA) will start the season on the hill. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Hudson Randall (8-4, 3.24 ERA) takes over Saturday, and freshman RHP Karsten Whitson, the No. 9 pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, will start his career in the orange and blue on the mound Sunday.

4 » Johnson and junior first baseman Preston Tucker received nominations to the Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list on Thursday. The award, presented to the top amateur player in the country, is sponsored by Major League Baseball but has never been presented to a Florida player in its 33-year history. Both Johnson and Tucker are preseason All-Americans according to Baseball America.

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FOUR BITS: 200 FR title, WNIT, Murphy, Crowder

1 » Competing in the first night of the finals of the 2010 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championship meet, the Florida Gators women’s team has already taken home a national title. UF’s 200-yard free relay team – seniors Gemma Spofforth and Stephanie Napies and sophomores Shara Stafford and Sarah Bateman – won the title behind a school-record 1:27.79 time. The Gators are in fourth place with 107 points after the first day of competition, even with their 101st national title being captured.

2 » Though they failed to reach the 2010 NCAA Tournament, the Florida women’s basketball team (15-16) got off to a quick start in the WNIT with a 61-54 win over the South Florida Bulls (15-16) at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Senior guard Steffi Sorensen scored a team-high 16 points as sophomore center Azania Stewart contributed 11 of her 15 points in the second half. The Gators move on to face the Miami Hurricanes (19-13) on Sunday at the BankUnited Center.

3 » Sophomore right-side/setter Kelly Murphy of the Florida volleyball team has been announced as one of 24 players selected to the roster of the 2010 U.S. Women’s National A2 team. The 2008 AVCA National Freshman of the Year, Murphy ranked third in the SEC in hitting percentage (.344) and seventh in assists per set (7.04) in 2009. She is the 35th Gators volleyball player to receive this honor since 2001.

4 » One of OGGOA’s favorite all-time Florida football players is Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that one of our all-time favorite Gators’ mom’s is his very own – Pauline. Aside from helping raise Channing and supporting him throught his life, Pauline has started a Football 101 for Women & Friends class that has become quite popular in South Florida. You can read more about it here.

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Swimming finishes second at SEC Championships

Competing for four days in the Gabrielsen Natatorium at the University of Georgia, the No. 6 Florida Gators men’s and No. 7 women’s swimming and diving teams each finished in second place at the 2010 Southeastern Conference Championships. On the men’s side, the Auburn Tigers took first place by only 19 points (784-765), while the Georgia Bulldogs finished ahead of the Florida women by a larger margin (824.5-698).

Men’s coach Gregg Troy and women’s coach Donnie Craine led the Gators’ efforts all season long, bringing home recognition for themselves while assisting numerous student-athletes in reaching accolades of their own. The men’s and women’s teams combined for 14 SEC Championship titles (six and eight, respectively), two SEC records and six school records. Florida also earned 18 NCAA automatic qualifying marks/times.

2010 Florida SEC Awards
SEC Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year – Gregg Troy
SEC Women’s Diving Coach of the Year – Donnie Craine
SEC Men’s Swimmer of the Year – Conor Dwyer
SEC Women’s Swimmer of the Year – Gemma Spofforth
SEC Women’s Diver of the Year – Kara Salamone
Commissioner’s Trophy, High Point Award (Men’s) – Conor Dwyer, Shaune Fraser
Commissioner’s Trophy, High Point Award (Women’s) – Gemma Spofforth

Check out Florida’s numerous new SEC titles, SEC records, school records, NCAA qualifiers and more after the break!
Continue Reading » Swimming finishes second at SEC Championships

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