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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. The Virginia men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams were defeated by Florida Thursday in the season-opening meet at the Aquatic and Fitness Center. The Gator men defeated the Cavaliers 162-133 and Florida defeated the Virginia women 169-126.

“We honestly wanted to start out with against one of the premier teams in the country,” Virginia head coach Mark Bernardino said. “Florida is no doubt one of those teams. They have a great tradition that spans well over 50 years. They are incredibly well-coached and incredibly talented. They have multiple Olympians and international stars. We felt competing against the best right away put an urgency in how we train. We have an extremely young team and wanted them to get an idea of what collegiate swimming is all about.”

Freshman Taylor Smith won his very first collegiate event, the 1000-yard freestyle in 9:12.39, six seconds ahead of Florida’s second-place finisher. Classmate Scot Robison had a first-place finish of his own, a win in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 21.02. Smith also placed second in the 500-yard freestyle with a mark of 4:29.30 and Robison earned a second-place finish in the 100-yard butterfly in 49.31.

Rookie Matt McLean also had a pair of second-place finishes in the 200-yard freestyle (1:38.33) the 100-yard freestyle (45.75).

“All-in-all, I’m pleased with the performances tonight,” Bernardino continued. “We had some outstanding swims from some very young swimmers. We fought. We never quit. Every kid gave it his or her best shot in every race. That kind of attitude is what is going to carry us through the season.”

The women started off with a bang, winning the very first event of the meet, the 200-yard medley relay. The team of Mei Christensen, Katherine McDonnell, Stephanie Glover and Jessica Lewis finished first in a time of 1:43.52. Freshmenn Ellie Freeman won the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:14.64 and Liz Shaw won the 200-yard butterfly in 2:01.20.

Jenn Narum earned a second-place finish in the 1000-yard freestyle in a time if 9:58.32. Glover also placed second in the 200-yard freestyle (1:50.68) while Freeman was second in the 100-yard breaststroke in a time of 1:03.08.

Evo placed second in the 200-yard butterfly (2:01.40) and the 100-yard butterfly (56.08). Lewis was second in the 100-yard freestyle with a mark of 51.58 while Christensen also placed second in the 200-yard backstroke (2:01.96).

Alex D’Ambrossio was first on the 1-meter board for the Cavaliers, earning a score of 180.05. He went on to win the 3-meter event as well with a score of 205.40.

Virginia is back in action next Saturday at Virginia Tech.

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