2009 Florida Gators Men's Swimming and Diving
The University of Florida has a proud athletic tradition across all sports, a tradition that manifests itself in high levels of performance and accompanying success in them. Swimming and diving are no exception to this track record of success. The University of Florida, since the formation of the Southeastern Conference for swimming and diving back in the late 1930's, is far and away the most winning program in the history of the conference.
The University of Florida men's swimming and diving program was part of the inaugural SEC conference back in 1937, and the program set itself apart early, winning the SEC Championship not only that year, but also for the next 5 years in a row. Then, following a brief period in which then SEC member Georgia Tech became the dominant team in the conference, Florida once again usurped control of the SEC beginning in 1953. Florida then went on to win 16 of the next 18 Southeastern Conference Championships, with the only interruptions in that epic streak coming in 1955 (to Georgia) and 1969 (to then up and coming program Tennessee).
Tennessee then took over the reigns as the conference's best swimming and diving program for much of the 1970's. But Florida was never far behind, lurking and competing at a high level. And beginning in 1979, the team went on another mini-dynastic run, winning 7 out of the next 8 Southeastern Conference Championships. The last Florida titles came as part of a 4 in a row run in the early 90's.
All told, the University of Florida men's swimming and diving team has won 33 SEC Championships all time. The remainder of the current SEC teams have won 30 combined.
2009 Florida Gators Women's Swimming and Diving
The Florida Lady Gators swimming and diving program has, much like its male counterparts, been far and away the most dominant team in the history of the Southeastern Conference. And while the team only began competing in SEC play back in the early 80's (unlike the men, whose SEC conference play began in the late 1930's), the women have nonetheless demonstrated equally impressive stretches of dominance over that time period.
Much like the Florida men did back in 1937, the Florida women's swimming and diving squad made it be known immediately that they would be a force to be reckoned with by winning the SEC Championship in their debut season, 1981. Then, after putting the car into drive, they refused to let their feet off the pedal for the next 16 years, winning 15 of the next Southeastern Conference championships, some by incredibly large margins. The only loss in that stretch came in 1985 to Alabama.
1996 was the last of that series of championships. And while Florida has remained a consistent performer in the SEC in the years since, and in fact even managed another SEC Championship in 2002, generally speaking the torch seems to have been passed in the conference, at least for now, initially to Georgia and then on to Auburn., However, Florida is invested in swimming and diving, and there is little doubt that its day will come once again, and the SEC Championship will one day be Gator Orange and Blue once again.
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