March 27, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- The No.15 - ranked Florida State men's swimming and diving team is ready for the 2013 NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, Ind. staring on Thursday. The three-day meet will run through Saturday and will feature nine FSU athletes during the weekend.
"We have some seniors going with maturity and we have some highly ranked swimmers," head coach Neil Harper said. "Tom (Neubacher) is a great returning diver, so we have all of our bases covered. We have a shot to be All-American in four relays. We also have few individuals that have a chance at the podium. We've covered a lot of events. It's an exciting time and we're looking forward to getting there and performing well."
For the first time in school history, the Seminoles will have an entry in every event on the first day of the meet. The session will kick-off with the 200 free relay at 11 a.m. Paul Murray, Trice Bailey, David Sanders and Mark Weber enter the meet as the third fastest relay team behind Auburn and Michigan and will look to improve upon their ninth place finish from a year ago.
Following the free relay, senior John Jessell will swim the 500 free just before Josh Friedel and Pavel Sankovich contest in the 200 IM. Sankovich is seeded fourth and will look to become the first-ever All-American for the Seminoles in the event.
Murray and Weber are seeded in the top 10 of the 50 free, eager to score their first individual points on the national level.
"Guys like Paul, Mark and Pavel are highly ranked going in," Harper said. "They want to be All-Americans. They want have that chance of medaling and maybe being in the top three. They've certainly worked hard and they can step through for us and make a name for themselves."
The Seminoles will close out the swimming portion of tomorrow's session with the 400 medley relay before Tom Neubacher dives his best event on the 1-meter springboard.
Florida State enters the competition with 10 events expected to score points. The Seminoles will look for their best team finish at the NCAA Championships, which was set in 1997 when FSU placed ninth.
Playing a key role in the team scoring will be the four relays (200 free, 400 free, 200 medley and 400 medley) that the Seminoles will field - a feat that has not been accomplished since 1999.
"Going to the meet and swimming faster than we did at ACC's is a goal for us," Harper said. "At NCAA's, it's the cream of the crop, so if you go a little bit faster, you could move up four or five places. It's critical that we swim well. But, we're in that position where we're not relying two relays like last year, we now have a shot to score big points in four relays and put FSU in the spotlight."
The top 16 qualifiers in each event will earn a spot in finals, which begin at 7 p.m. each night. All prelim sessions and Thursday's finals will be streamed live through the Indiana Spots Corporation. Friday and Saturday's finals can be watched on ESPN3.com.
For more information throughout the meet, check back to Seminoles.com, Facebook and Twitter.