Oct. 24, 2000
Second-year Head Coach Neil Harper and the Florida State men’s
swimming and diving team kicked off the 2000-01 season with a splash in
mid-October, with solid road victories over Florida Atlantic and Miami.
After finishing last season with a No. 22 national ranking and a
fourth-place finish at the ACC Championships, the Seminoles are geared up
to surpass those accomplishments. Despite losing 11 seniors, the Seminoles
return with a young squad eager and determined to compete this season.
The men have worked hard in the off season and the pre-season,
participating in extensive weight room training as well as exhausting
themselves in various dry land exercises. Harper couldn’t be happier about
their effort and progress.
“The team looks hungry and is fired up for the upcoming season,”
Harper said. “I am very excited at where things are headed for this group
of men this year.”
The Seminoles return with a young nucleus of swimmers that intend
to lead this year’s charge. After a fourth-place finish in the 100
Backstroke at last year’s ACC Championships, co-captain Greg Main-Baillie
will be looked upon to lead the squad in short freestyle events as well as
the backstroke and individual medley events. Sophomore Devin Crock, who
placed third in the 100 Fly and fourth in the 100 Backstroke at last year’s
ACC Championships, is also expected to have a strong influence on this
year’s team. With a year of collegiate competition under their belts,
sophomores Justin Betts, Joey Marshburn and Nnamnse Ammons will also be
heavily counted on to play a key role in the success of this year’s team.
“These four sophomore swimmers, along with Main-Baillie and captain
Will McReynolds, will lead the Seminole charge,” Harper said. “This year’s
sophomore class have made a great transition from being freshmen and are
leading the team by example. It’s great to see the rest of the team
following behind the positive influences from this year’s sophomore class
and our seniors.”
Florida State welcomes 13 newcomers to this year’s roster and will
look to them to make an immediate impact. The FSU coaches are confident
with the performance capabilities of this year’s recruiting class of
incoming swimmers and divers. With 11 freshmen and two transfers, the
Seminole coaching staff hopes these swimmers will quickly make the
necessary adjustments of competing at the collegiate level.
“There is no doubt that we will give the newcomers the opportunity
to perform and compete in races this season,” Harper said.
Senior co-captain Lou Dondero, the only returning diver from last
season, will lead this year’s team. Dondero will be looked upon as the
“go-to” man and will also be a mentor for the incoming class of divers.
Freshmen Josh Edelman, Mike Franks and James Korten are all expected to be
solid additions to the diving team this year. Freshman Jeff Boatright,
from Waynesboro, Va., will add depth to the butterfly events, while
freshman Erik Moe, from Melbourne, Fla., will contribute heavily in the
freestyle events as well as the relays.
The 2000-2001 schedule features several great rivalries. As the
program continues to improve each year, so does FSU’s strength of schedule.
“Our tough schedule will provide our young team the experience of
competing against some of the more successful teams out there,” Harper
said. “It will make our opponents aware that we are here to compete and
that we mean business.”
Highlighting the Seminoles schedule will be a trip to Auburn, Ala.,
for a meet with the two-time NCAA national champion Tigers, as well as a
meeting with nationally-ranked Arizona in Tucson. FSU’s home schedule
includes meets against Georgia Tech, Florida and Louisiana State.
Harper hopes as the season progresses, so will the performance of
the young men’s team. The Seminoles are striving for a Top 3 finish at
this year’s ACC Championships.
“All we can really control is what we do,” Harper said. “Our goal
for this season is for everyone on our team to record a lifetime personal
best. If we can do that, the results will take care of themselves.”