March 29, 2014
AUSTIN, Texas - It was a night to remember for the 17th-ranked Florida State men's swimming and diving team on the second day of the 2014 NCAA Championships. Behind a pair of individual All-America swims from Pavel Sankovich as well as a team effort from the 200 medley relay, the Seminoles sit in 10th place heading into the final day of competition.
Sankovich became the first Seminole in history to ever capture a pair of individual All-America honors on the same night, while medley posted the highest relay finish ever.
"We had a great day," head coach Frank Bradley said. "Three All-American swims in one night was definitely a success for us. I'm happy with how the whole team swam today, now we've got to focus and get ready for one more day."
In the first of two individual races of the night for Sankovich, the Hronda, Belarus native grabbed silver in the 100 fly lowering his own FSU and ACC record time (45.00), finishing behind Florida's Marcin Cieslak (44.87).
Sankovich worked out of lane six after turning in the fourth fastest time in the heats. During finals he was fourth at the 75 yard mark before he turned it up on the final lap using his underwater speed, hitting the wall in second and just shy of the win.
"I was very proud of Pavel," Bradley said. "He always has a great sense of race management and I thought he did very well today. He came home hard on that last 25 like he always does and got in there for second. It was a fun race to watch."
Sankovich's NCAA silver was the best individual swimming performance by a Seminole since 1999 when Brendon Dedekind won the 100 breast.
But, his night was not finished. In his third race of the session and sixth on the day, Sankovich placed eighth in the 100 back with a final time of 46.44 after clocking a 45.68 in prelims.
"Today was tough but it was a lot of fun," Sankovich said. "It's great to be a part of FSU history with my teammates. I was happy with my swims and I can't wait for tomorrow."
Florida State began the finals session with a fourth place finish in the 200 medley relay, touching in at 1:24.57 - a new FSU record that topped their swim at the ACC Championships (1:24.72).
Sankovich led off with the third fastest split in the field (20.99) and was followed by Jared Pike, who split a 24.14 in his final swim of his collegiate career. Connor Knight would take over and keep the Noles in an even fifth place (20.46) before Paul Murray brought it home in an 18.96, originally touching in fifth place.
However, Arizona was called for an illegal relay exchange, moving the Seminoles up to fourth.
Prior to this evening, Sankovich, Pike, Knight and Murray tied the highest relay finish in school history with a sixth place finish on Thursday night in the 400 medley relay. By finishing fourth, the four now own the top relay performance by an FSU team at an NCAA Championships.
"That was a great race," Bradley said. "It's awesome that those guys are now own a little bit of history. I'm glad they turned in their best (time) in their last swim together."
In prelims, Knight swam in the heats of the 100 fly and tied for 19th place in his individual event debut with a time of 46.42.
Swimming in the trials of the 200 free was Kevin Rogers, who placed 40th with a time of 1:37.17.
Jason Coombs competed in prelims in the 100 breast, placing 20th with a time that was slightly off of his best at 53.26.
Saturday's races include the 1650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly and the 400 free relay. Murray (100 free), Coombs (200 breast) and Knight (200 fly) will all swim individually before the Seminoles battle in the final relay.
Prelims will start at 11 a.m. (CT) and will be streamed through Texassports.com. Finals will begin at 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN3.
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Photo Credit: David Knight (knightscapeimages.com)