Nina Kucheran swimming breaststroke at the 2023 NCAA Championships (Photo courtesy of @GatorsSwimDv twitter)

Florida Women’s Swimming Finish Ninth at NCAAs

The number six Florida women’s swimming and diving team finish the 2023 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at their highest place since the 2014-2015 season. At ninth place at the end of the four-day event, the Gators secured 16 All-American honors.

There were 17 women who helped Florida score their 179 points to finish out a highly decorated season. Anna Auld, Talia Bates, Micayla Cronk, Camille DeBoer, Zoe Dixon, Kathleen Golding, Nina Kucheran, Katie Mack, Tylor Mathieu, Hayden Miller, Ekaterina Nikonova, Olivia Peoples, Amanda Ray, Aris Runnels, Emma Weyant, Mabel Zavaros and Maha Amer competed in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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Day 1: All-American Honor relay

Session 1 started Wednesday night with the 200 medley relay and the 800 freestyle relay. Ekaterina Nikonova, Talia Bates, Tylor Mathieu and Micayla Cronk notched sixth place in the 800 relay with a 6:57.22 time. With the third-fastest time in program history, the relay team also earned All-American honors.

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Day 2: Individual Events begin

Individual events began Thursday, and Emma Weyant started the day strong by clocking a 4:38,46 in the 500 free to finish sixth and earn All-American honors. It was only Weyant’s fourth meet as a Gator. Mabel Zavaros and Tylor Mathieu advanced to the B-final of the 500 freestyle and earned honorable mention All-American honors.

Nikonova, Bates, Katie Mack and Cronk finished seventh overall at the end of the night in the 200 free relay with a 1:27.31. Again, the Gators earned All-American honors for the consecutive relay.

Maha Amer also splashed into her individual events on Thursday, starting on the 1-meter. Finishing 12th overall, she scored a 304.85 and was an honorable mention All-American, her second consecutive season to receive this honor.

Florida moved to seventh place overall after Day 2.

Day 3: Record breaking relay

Friday brought a highlight to the championship meet for the Gators. Aris Runnels, Nina Kucheran, Olivia Peoples and Cronk not only landed another All-American honor but a school record as well. The 400 medley relay team finally broke the school record with a 3:28.36, after swimming the second-fastest time at SEC Championships last month.

Weyant finished third and Zavaros followed with fourth in the 400 IM. Both women earned All-American honors. Dixon received honorable mention in the same event.

Recording her first All-American honors of her career, Olivia Peoples swam a 52.04 in the 100 fly. Aris Runnels also earned her first All-American honor of her career after swimming a 51.76 in the 100 backstroke. Nikonova swam the 200 free for 13th and received her third All-American honor of the week.

Final day: senior Nikonova brings home school record

The fourth and final day of competition ended on a high note with Nikonova breaking the 200 breaststroke school record with a 2:06.55 and placed 13th in the country. The senior will leave having both the 100 and 200 breast records, earning both just in one season.

Nikonova joined Bates, Mack and Cronk in the 400 free relay to earn All-American honors and eighth place.

Weyant took home another All-American title after her 1650 freestyle time of 16:01.59, which was also a personal best.

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The standings after Saturday ended with Virginia taking the NCAA title. Texas followed in second and Stanford took third.

Florida men’s swimming and diving team will head to Minneapolis for their NCAA Championships on March 22-25.

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