March 21, 2014
McKayla Lightbourn places 16th in the 100 back.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - Competing in their final meet as members of the Florida State swimming and diving team, seniors Julia Henkel and McKayla Lightbourn qualified for the consolation heats of their individual events on Friday at the 2014 NCAA Championships, held at the University Aquatic Center.
“That’s a great way to go out,” head coach Frank Bradley said. “There’s always something about seeing your seniors step up on the big stage. It’s very cool and I’m incredibly happy for Julia and McKayla.”
With her consolation final appearance of the 400 IM, Henkel became the second swimmer in school history to earn an All-America honorable mention in the event. The only other female to accomplish the feat was Sara Linke back in 1984, when she placed 13th in the race.
In prelims, Henkel swam a strong, well-paced race in order to win her heat touching in with a career best time of 4:09.74. That time was under her previous FSU record of 4:11.60 – a mark which she performed at the Last Chance Bulldog Invite a few weeks ago in order to earn her spot in the meet.
She qualified for the consolation final tied for 13th place improving from her 34th place original seed.
Lightbourn opted to swim the 100 back and she made it count, finishing in 16th place with a final time of 52.90, capturing her first All-American honorable mention.
In her preliminary race, Lightbourn used her lethal underwater kicks in order to win her heat from the outside lane eight, taking back her school record from Bianca Spinazzola (53.06) with a time of 52.39.
After waiting through five more heats, Lightbourn qualified 14th for the consolation final after being seeded 41st.
Lightbourn writes a little more FSU in history with that swim as she is the only Seminole to make a final of the 100 back at the NCAA Championships.
The Seminoles started the trials session off by contesting in the 200 medley relay with the team of Bianca Spinazzola, Sami Pochowski, Chelsea Britt and Tiffany Oliver, touching with a time of 1:38.74, good enough for 24th place.
Following the medley, Britt competed in the 100 fly and tied for 37th place with a time of 53.48.
In the 200 free, Madison Jacobi and Oliver exercised their option to swim the 200 free. Jacobi touched with a time of 1:47.38, placing 38th, while Oliver finished with a mark of 1:50.23 (50th place).
Pochowski raced the 100 breast, placing 46th with a time of 1:02.03.
Florida State also swam the 800 free relay and placed 19th with a team of Kaitlyn Dressel, Henkel, Lightbourn and Jacobi with a time of 7:09.63.
“We had a better day today,” head diving coach Patrick Jeffrey said. “We still had some hiccups that kept us out of the final, but this is a competitive meet and any little mistake can cost you. I’m proud of Ariel and what she’s accomplished at FSU and Katrina still has platform tomorrow and she’s ready.”
Prelims will start on Saturday at 11 a.m. (CT) and the top-16 in each event will advance to finals which begin at 7 p.m. (CT).
Jacobi contests the 1650 free on Saturday while Britt will swim the 200 fly. Lightbourn will use her option in the 200 back and Oliver and Dressel will race the 100 free. Young will dive her specialty, the platform.
All information on the meet can be found at the NCAA Championship site. Prelims can be seen streamed live through gopherspots.com and finals will be televised on ESPN3.com.
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