Jan. 4, 2014
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The nationally-ranked men’s (3-1) and women’s (5-2) Florida State swimming and diving teams fell to the top-five Florida squads on Saturday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
“It was tough to lose the women’s meet by six points,” head coach Frank Bradley said. “We were a few events away from pulling off the upset. We lost a few close races that we needed to win. Overall I think both teams fought hard and I like how we’re setting up for the end of the season.”
In past years, the matchup between the Seminoles and Gators has been severely slanted in Florida’s favor, however after Saturday’s contest, FSU has closed the gap over the past two seasons. In 2012, the ladies picked up their fourth win in school history 157-143, while the men lost 167-133. This season, the women fell to the fifth-ranked Gators 153-147, while the men dropped their meet to third-ranked UF, 180-118.
“Florida is such a great team,” Bradley said. “They will always be tough to beat, but I think we’ve closed the gap on them. They swam well today and the difference was their depth. They’re top-five for a reason.”
In addition to diving, The 23rd-ranked women’s team was dominant in the sprint races as Kaitlyn Dressel and Tiffany Oliver swam one-two punches in both the 50 free and 100 free events. Dressel was victorious in both, swimming times of 22.90 (50 free) and 50.49 (100 free) respectively, while Oliver was 23.14 and 50.84 taking second.
Leading wire-to-wire in the 500 free was sophomore Madison Jacobi, who touched with a time of 4:53.94.
Senior Julia Henkel made her move in the breast portion of the 400 IM in order to win the event with a time of 4:22. 38. Henkel’s day also included a second place showing in the 200 fly, who posted a time of 2:03.22 finishing behind the winner Chelsie Britt (2:02.22). Henkel also led the Seminoles in the 200 free with a third place finish with a time of 1:50.68.
The diving portion of the meet took place on Thursday with the Seminoles taking first and second on both boards. Senior Kelsey Goodman was the winner on 1-meter with a score of 292.50, while her classmate Ariel Rittenhouse followed in second with a score of 288.97. Moving to 3-meter, redshirt junior Katrina Young led the event with a score of 298.95 edging out Goodman (295.20) who was second.
“I was happy with our performance,” head diving coach Patrick Jeffrey said. “It was another solid outing for the ladies.”
After Henkel’s victory in the 400 IM, the Seminoles needed to take first and second place in the final event of the meet in order to win the meet, however FSU was first and third. The team of Tiffany Oliver, Kaitlyn Dressel, Laura Flewelling and Sami Pochowski won the race with a time of 1:32.97.
The 16th-ranked men’s team was led by senior Pavel Sankovich, who performed two dominating wins in the 100 back and 100 fly events. Sankovich first swam a 47.33 in the 100 back before posting a season best time in the 100 fly with a mark of 46.49. His 100 fly race was the sixth fastest time in the NCAA this season.
Following Sankovich in the 100 fly was Connor Knight, who was second with a time of 47.96. Knight was also second in the 200 fly with a time of 1:47.60.
“Pavel and Connor swam well today,” Bradley said. “I really like how those two are dominating the 100 fly. They’re fun to watch.”
Tom Neubacher was dominant on the boards as he won both events with scores of 351.75 on 1-meter and 342.60 from 3-meter. In 1-meter, the Seminoles dove a sweep with freshmen Dylan Grisell placing (281.93).
“Tom is such a competitor,” Jeffrey said. “When he’s locked in he’s so tough to beat and that showed on Thursday.”
Both teams return home for a meet against Florida Atlantic on Jan. 17 at 4 p.m. For more information on FSU swimming and diving, visit Facebook and Twitter.