Tampa Wins Sunshine State Championships, Qualifies More Swimmers for Nationals

Box score

ORLANDO, Fla. - The University of Tampa men's and women's swimming teams each took first place finishes at the 2008 Sunshine State Championships. The 16th ranked men and the 15th ranked women each defeated Rollins, Saint Leo and Florida Southern.

The Spartans also qualified five additional swimmers for nationals as Patrick Murray, Daniel Hernandez, Ellie Eshleman, Madison Flake and Kim Tench each posted qualifying times. Tampa will now send 19 swimmers to the NCAA Nationals on March 12-15 at Rolla, Mo.

In the relays, Tampa's women took the 200 Free as the team of Marissa Mumford, Megan Garland, Kelsey Lubbers and Erica Cromwell finished in a time of 1:41.99. UT also won the 400 Medley Relay in a time of 3:56.89 from Eshleman, Lubbers, Susanna Ashley and Jessie Bardin.

In day two of women's relay action, Ehleman, Lubbers, Ashley and Bardin took a first place finish in the 200 Medley Relay in 1:50.51.

On the final day of competition, UT won the 400 Free Relay as Eshleman, Tench, Garland and Cromwell took honors in 3:40.16.

The Spartan women taking their individual races were Hannah Hudson (500 Free, 5:09.47), Tench (50 Free, 25.03), Allison Vetter (100 Fly, 1:01.02), Flake (200 Free, 1:56.74), Ashley Arzadon (100 Breast, 1:10.17), Eshleman (200 Back, 2:07.52), Bardin (100 Free, 52.08), Ashley (200 Fly, 2:10.49), Susan Johnson (1650 Free, 18:14.87).

The Spartan men opened up with a first-place finish in the 200 Free Relay as Patrick Murray, Cory Allen, Frank Kuchta and Mike Verdi swam to a 1:28.13 finish. The 400 Medley Relay team of Murray, Mike Lewis, Hernandez and Kuchta won in a time of 3:33.59.

Tampa began day two with a 200 Medley Relay victory from Kyle Merritt, Lewis, Hernandez and Verdi as the team completed the race in 1:37.27. UT also won the 800 Free Relay from Murray, Kuchta, Merritt and Lewis in 7:01.40.

On Sunday, the team of Murray, Allen, James Villa and Kuchta championed the 400 Free Relay in 3:12.54.

Tampa men's swimmers who won their respective races included Hunter Lineback (500 Free, 4:44.10; 400 IM, 4:08.47; 1650 Free, 16:23.93), Lewis (100 Fly, 50.82; 200 Fly, 1:51.75), Kuchta (200 Free, 1:43.92), Murray (100 Back, 53.60; 200 Back, 1:54.94).

Women - Team Scores
1. Tampa, 912
2. Rollins, 707
3. Saint Leo, 598
4. Florida Southern, 370

Men - Team Scores
1. Tampa, 1055
2. Rollins, 740
3. Saint Leo, 629
4. Florida Southern, 289