The Gators and the Gophers dual meet Saturday at the Dorothy L. Sheppard pool on the campus of the University of Minnesota marks the second meeting for the two schools in as many years. Saturday’s dual meet hosts the Pack the Pool event that will feature an alumni band, a chance to meet the Gopher swimmers, and an appearance by Goldy Gopher.
The two schools met last year in Gainsville, with the Florida women winning by a 165-127 score and the Gopher men winning by a 161-139 tally. This year, the Gators come into the meet ranked 8th on the men’s side and 6th on the women’s side. The Gopher men are currently ranked 10th while the women are listed 21st in the most recent poll.
The 2006 Gopher victory was buoyed by then-senior Igor Cerensek’s victories in the 50 and 100 freestyles and triumphs by each of the Gopher relay teams. The Gators were ranked third in the country at the time, and the upset victory helped springboard the Gophers to their fifth Big Ten conference title in seven years. The Gophers’ Colin Lee-To (100 breaststroke) and Mike Woodson (200 freestyle) return to defend their event titles from last year’s meet.
The Florida women return to University Aquatic Center for the first time since an impressive seventh-place finish at last March’s NCAA Championships. Their convincing victory over the Gopher women last year included big days from Samantha Vanderbilt, who won both backstroke events and Caroline Burckle, who won the 100 and 1000 freestyle events. Both Vanderbilt and Burckle are captains this year and return to defend their dual meet titles against the Gophers this weekend. The Gophers Kim Kazika (100 breaststroke), Yuen Kobayashi (500 freestyle) and Jenny Shaughnessy (400 IM) will also defend their individual victories.