Feb. 25, 2005
ATLANTA, Ga. -
In just one night, the Florida State University men's swimming and diving team equaled its number of individual all-conference selection from all of last year during Friday's (February 25) finals at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships. The Seminole had two swimmers and one diver earn All-ACC accolades to go along with a second-place relay finish.
Increasing its margin over North Carolina for second place, the Seminoles have 383 points through three days of competition. Virginia increased its overall lead with 502.5 points, while the Tar Heels are third (300.5 points).
"It was sort of a mix bag tonight, we had expectations of winning some events, but this is a tough competition and our guys did well," FSU head coach Neil Harper said. "We had some guys move up in the consols and the relay kept us solidly in second place, we're excited about day three and we'll see what we can do."
Finishing the night the Seminoles' 400 medley relay gave them three medals in four relay events. The quartet of Jarryd Botha (Worchester, South Africa), Billy Jamerson (Savannah, Ga.), Michael Averett (Davie, Fla.) and Joel Roycik (Winter Park, Fla.) garnered silver medals with a second-place and NCAA "B" cut time of 3:15.84. Originally the Seminoles touched in third, but benefited from a false start by NC State.
Just the fifth rookie under Harper's tenure to earn All-ACC honors, Jamerson just missed stamping his ticket for the NCAA meet with his second place finish of 54.13 in the 100 breaststroke. The freshman's mark is the third-fastest in school history and the Seminoles fastest time in five years. Sophomore Paul Erben (Panama City, Fla.) posted a season-best time of 55.80 to take sixth in the event.
"That's Billy's best time, you can't complain about that," Harper commented. "We tried to change some things at the last minute, some fine tuning, but I'm happy with his time. He's not swimming through this meet, but he hasn't totally peaked yet. We know he's made (NCAA Championships) already and we're trying to get the best out of him despite keeping his yardage up more than anyone else."
For the first time since 2001, Florida State has a pair of freshman All-ACC selections. Joining Jamerson on that roster is Alex Tilbrook (Largo, Fla.). The freshman exceeded his career-high tally by 70 points, nailing a 580.20 to take second. Ironically the last time the Seminoles had two All-ACC freshman it was in the identical events as Wickus Nienaber (100 breast) and Josh Edelman (three-meter diving) made the list.
"That was a huge event for us, we've been hungry for a performance like that," FSU diving coach Patrick Jeffrey said. "Our men's program is in a transition phase so for a freshman to come in and perform like that says a lot about Alex. That was some of his best stuff; he had some great rips at the end of his dives and when he's on, he's on."
Making the medal stand for the first time in this championships, Roycik earned All-ACC honors for the third time in his career in the 100 butterfly. The junior co-captain hit the wall with a season-best time of 48.10 to take third with the NCAA provisional time. Fellow captain Averett also registered an NCAA "B" cut with his fifth-place, career-best swim of 58.53.
"Joel and Mike gave it a great shot, it was a very, very close race," Harper added. "Joel did a great job and got himself a medal. I think that Mike just ran out of gas at the end there, but you can't take anything away from a couple of great swims."
The 200 freestyle was a big scorer for the Seminoles, led by Ed Denton (Maidenhead, England) in the finals. The rookie moved up two spots with a sixth-place and NCAA "B" cut time of 1:38.38. The biggest surprise for Florida State was sophomore Brett Irvin (Boca Raton, Fla.) in the consolations. Jumping up from the last seed, he hit the wall second in the heat and tenth overall with a career-best and NCAA provisional time of 1:38.95.
"Obviously having Ed move up to fourth was big for us," Harper noted. "The guys in the consolation heat did a great job of moving up. Brett had a career best to move up six spots and Stephan had a lifetime best as well."
Nearly equaling his career-best from the prelims of the 100 backstroke was the freshman Botha. The semester addition snatched up sixth place with a 59.74. In the consolation heat, rookie Ian Powell (Guernsey, Channel Islands) took 13th overall at 50.33 and junior Jared Heine (Honolulu, Hawaii) was 16th with a 50.65.
Two spots back of Irvin in the 200 free with another career-best was junior Stephan Connor (Burr Ridge, Ill.) as he snagged a fourth-place time of 1:39.56. Taking eighth in the heat was senior Alan Ribeiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) with a 1:40.23. During the bonus swim, freshman Kyle Young (Oviedo, Fla.) posted a career-low 1:41.69.
Holding their seeds in the consolation heat of the 400 individual medley, but flipping the order was Thomas Bishop (Houston, Texas) and Dan Keeling (Westminster, Colo.). The sophomore Bishop improved his career-best time, already fourth in school history, with a 3:54.37 that took first in the heat and ninth overall. Keeling just missed his career mark, touching in at 3:55.86 to finish one spot back of Bishop.
The championship concludes on Saturday with preliminary heats of the 1,650 free, 200 backstroke, 200 butterfly, 200 breaststroke and 100 butterfly starting at 11 a.m.