Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Gators Swimming Fast at National Championships

The 2022 U.S. Swimming National Championships kicked off on Tuesday, and the gators came ready to swim. With 22 current and former UF swimmers in attendance, they have been representing the swamp well. Through two days of competition, the Gators have collected three gold medals.

Women Grabbing Gold

Through the competition to this point, the gators have fought hard and placed well. The story of this week so far has been the women representing the Gators. Katie Ledecky has shown up with a dominating performance per usual, swimming her way to two gold medals thus far. On day 1 of the competition, Ledecky took first place in the women’s 800m freestyle with a time of 8:12.03. Her dominance was put on display as she finished nearly 20 seconds faster than the second-place swimmer. On day 2, she won gold in the women’s 200m freestyle with a time of  1:54.50. Ledecky now owns the 29 fastest times for the women’s 800m freestyle.

Katie Ledecky is not the only gator taking gold this week. Former Gator Natalie Hinds took golden in the women’s 100m freestyle on day 1 with a time of 53.53. Hinds held the top qualifying spot in the 100m freestyle that morning and defended it later to win the gold. She was challenged by the second-place swimmer, who took silver with a time of 53.86, but she pulled through to take the win.

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A gator trio of Hinds, Kathleen Golding and Ekaterina Nikonova competed in the women’s 200m freestyle B-final. Hinds finished in second place with a time of 1:59.82, and Golding and Nikonova finished fifth and eighth respectively.

Gator Men Swimming Hard

Despite not taking home any golds as of yet, the representation on the men’s side is still out there competing and making the gator nation proud. Kieran Smith took the silver medal on day 2 in the men’s 200m freestyle. With a time of 1:46.32, Smith finished second missing gold by just .18 seconds. Michigan transfer Jake Mitchell finished fifth with a time of 1:46.90, the same time Smith finished with in prelims to qualify for the finals.

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In the men’s 200m breast B-final, Dillon Hillis and Kevin Vargas finished back to back in second and third place. Hillis finished second with a time of 2:12.51, while Vargas finished third with a time of 2:13.12.

Just Keep Swimming, Gators

It is only Thursday, and there’s still a lot more swimming to go before the national championships conclude. So far, the Gators have swam well and they will look to build momentum off their wins to bring more medals back to the swamp.

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