Sept. 27, 2011
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida State women's swimming and diving team will travel to Coral Gables, Fla. this weekend to face Miami and Florida Gulf Coast in its first test of the season. This meet marks the first time that the ladies have opened with an ACC opponent since the 2007-08 season, when they faced both Clemson and Georgia Tech.
After a third place finish for both the men's and women's teams at last season's ACC Championships, the Seminoles are looking to climb higher up the ladder. The Noles wrapped up a successful summer with numerous athletes participating in national and competitions and seven swimmers posting Olympic Trial marks. With a combination of veteran leadership and new talent, the Seminoles are prepared to dive into their 2011-12 season.
"Our women's team needs to come together," Florida State head coach Neil Harper said. "Miami is an ACC rival and Florida Gulf Coast is an up and coming team. We have to prepare well and have a great week of training as well as handle going on the road in order to be a great team on Saturday."
The Hurricanes finished last season in sixth place at the ACC Championships, however they do possess enough talent to compete with the Seminoles.
Miami's divers will challenge the Seminoles on the boards and will be led by All-American diver Carrie Dragland, who is coming off of a solid performance at the World University Games that were held in Shenzhen, China. She scored a silver medal in the overall team competition as well as a bronze in the 3-meter synchronized event. Lindsay Lester will also be a factor for the Hurricanes as she turned in a ninth place finish on platform at the AT&T Diving National Championship this summer.
In the pool, the Hurricanes return a 2011 ACC champion in Sofia Johansson, who won the 100 breast in 1:00.58. In addition, Kelsi Hall will be a threat in the sprint events and relays as she posted an 18th place finish at the ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships in the 50m free this summer. She was also fifth in the 50 free at the ACC Championships last season.
As the three-time defending CCSA Champions, Florida Gulf Coast is a team that is on the rise. Last season they finished with an 11-2 record and were ranked 32nd in the nation in the 2010-11 CSCAA/TYR Top 25 Poll. The Eagles are led by a pair of athletes that competed in the World Championships held in Shanghai, China this summer. Junior Danielle Beaubrun recorded a 19th place finish in the 50 breast and Karen Vilorio competed in the backstroke events.
The Seminoles own the advantage over the Hurricanes in the series matchup with a record of 23-11 and since Harper took over the program in 2000, the Seminoles haven't lost a dual meet to their ACC foe. In addition, the Noles have posted a 4-0 record against the Eagles.
"I'm looking forward to it," Harper added. "We are going to compete well and fight for it on Saturday morning."
Recapping Friday's exhibition of the Garnet vs. Gold meet, the ladies were led with some fast swimming by sophomore Julia Henkel who won both the 200 free (1:51.62) and the 200 IM (2:05.37) and junior Kristine Polley took both 100 (1:06.02) and 200 (2:20.04) breaststroke events. Senior Charlotte Broadbent outlasted the field in both the 1000 (10:25.88) and 500 (5:04.37) free and sophomore Tiffany Oliver claimed victory in both the 50 (23.58) and 100 (51.52) sprint free events. In addition, senior Stephanie Sarandros turned in a pair of firsts in the 100 (57.35) and 200(2:02.82) back events. Junior Ariel Rittenhouse showed her talents by winning the diving event. The 2008 Olympian was a key addition to the Seminoles diving core as she will contribute her efforts in the springboard events throughout the season.
The meet will start at 10 a.m. Check back to Seminoles.com and Twitter @FSU_swimming for more updates. In addition, the Seminoles will see both teams next weekend at the All-Florida Invite at the University of Florida.