UT Swimmers Claim Victories at National Championships

Published: Mar 16, 2009
University of Tampa swimmers claimed three individual national championships last week as both the men’s and women’s swim teams made an impressive showing at the 2009 NCAA Div. II Swimming and Diving National Championships in Houston, TX.

UT’s Alex Hetland took two individual national championships, the first in the 200 individual medley with a time of 1:46.03, and later in the 100 breaststroke. Hetland is a native of Oslo, Norway, and a UT graduate student.

“I definitely swam up to my expectations, so I was real happy about the meet,” he said. “Setting two national records was definitely a cool extra bonus.”

While Hetland has no more NCAA eligibility left, he will continue training for international competitions, representing his home country Norway, and hopes to help coach the UT team.

On Thursday, women’s swimmer Jessie Bardin won the 200 freestyle, the second time that the UT junior from St. Petersburg has won the race at the national level. Bardin also later placed third in the 500 freestyle, breaking a UT record in the event, and seventh in the 100 freestyle.

“It felt amazing,” she said. “I was in shock. None of it could be done without (Head Coach Ed Brennan) and the coaches and the team. I really appreciate everything they’ve done for me.”

As a nursing student, Bardin faced a hectic schedule this season that included clinical rotations at Tampa General Hospital two days a week. She came in on Sundays, and swam with the local club team in the afternoon to make up for time lost in the pool.

In the final day of the competition, the UT men’s team finished eighth while the women placed 12th overall at the national level.

All participants who finished in the top eight of the finals are award all-American status.

For the full results of UT’s performance at the national championships, see the UT athletics Web site.