Florida won its first women’s swimming and diving NCAA championship since 1982, holding off Stanford by 2½ points in the second-closest finish in the history of the competition.
Florida finished with 382 points to Stanford’s 379.5 points. In 2006, Georgia beat Stanford by 1½ points.
“It’s kind of a Cinderella finish,” Florida coach Gregg Troy said. “I can’t say enough about these girls. It was a total team effort.”
Florida came into the third and final day in fifth place with 236 points. Heading into the final event — the 400-yard freestyle relay — Florida had 350 points to Stanford’s 339½.
“The NCAA is a relentless meet,” Stanford coach Lea Maurer. “This isn’t something you could begin to script in fiction. We just came up 2½ points short, but it was a monumental finish.”
Stanford won the final relay event, adding 40 points, but Florida’s 32 points for a third-place finish was enough to keep the lead.
“We were close to perfect,” Maurer said. “There’s nothing I would change, I just wish I could give them a gold.”
Florida had Kara Salamone (16 points in third place) and Monica Dodson (11 points in eighth) pick up key points in the diving that made the difference between the Gators and Cardinal.
Florida finished the 400-yard free relay in school-record fashion, led by seniors Liz Kemp and Gemma Spofforth, sophomore Shara Stafford and anchor leg, freshman Jamie Bohunicky, who clocked a 3:13.43 third-place finish.
“This day was an emotional roller coaster,” Spofforth said. “We didn’t really, honestly, think we were going to win and to come out with such a victory is a great feeling. We have a lot of great people behind us.”
Spofforth, who would have become the first four-time 200 back NCAA champion if she won, completed her career with seven national titles, including the 100 back Friday and as a member of the 200 free relay Thursday.