Sept. 9, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Nnamnse Ammons ended up at Florida State for one reason.
Make that a very good reason.
That reason was named Brendon Dedekind, who is the most decorated and accomplished swimmer in Seminole history.
Dedekind holds the school record for most individual All-America honors with eight and relay accolades with eight. Dedekind won 10 ACC championships, including the 50-free all four years from 1996-99. He became the first Seminole to win two national championships (100-yard breaststroke and 50-freestyle).
Ammons, who was being recruited by Arizona State, Florida and LSU among othes, felt the opportunity to learn from Dedekind was too good to pass up. Dedekind also represented South Africa in the Olympics, finishing fifth in the 50-free and 26th in the 100-free at the 1996 Atlanta Games and ninth in the 50-free at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
“I wanted somebody who I could feed off of and with him staying around that extra year I knew I would get a chance to swim with him,” Ammons said. “I wanted to see how he trains and how he prepares. Yes, I like the school, I like he social life, I like the academics. But the main thing for me, I felt the possible position for me to succeed was being around this type of guy.”
Dedekind’s work ethic certainly rubbed off, as Ammons, who is polite, personable and extremely focused, is expected to help anchor a talented Seminoles’ swim team this season.
Last year, the men’s swimming and diving team finished fourth overall at the 2002 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. In the 400-yard freestyle relay, Ammons, Matt Carmen and Joey Marshburn and sophomore Michael Paulus placed second with a NCAA-B cut time of 2:59.19. Ammons and Carmen tied for fourth in the 100-yard freestyle championship. The duo swam a NCAA-B cut time of 44.91, which ranks them eighth all-time in school history. FSU looks to battle for top ranking in the conference this year with six seniors to lead the way.
“I am pretty excited,” Ammons said.
“This will probably be the best we have ever been, as a team, just because we are so strong in so many areas. We have a strong incoming class and we also have the returnees who are going to contribute. We really do have a lot of depth, especially in the sprint events. We are very deep. Everybody has worked hard over the summer, which is going to pay off.”
After a quick two-week break, Ammons will be back in the pool in preparation for the upcoming season. Ammons swims twice a day, logging around 9,000 yards daily. At the moment, the strong and athletic Ammons is concentrating more on quantity than quality. But that’s by design.
“Right now I am concentrating on getting in as much yardage as possible in order to get your heart rate up, get the blood circulating, get in shape,” said Ammons, who is noted for his work ethic. “I am just getting off a short break. Two weeks off – I guess that’s enough for me.”
Ammons can thank his mother’s aerobic class for his swim success. A laughing Ammons tells the story how he would cause “mischief” in his mother’s class – she was the instructor.
“One of the ladies in the class told my mother about swimming lessions, so she put me in the swim class and I guess I was a natural,” Ammons said. “I wanted to play other sports like basketball, but swimming was kind of my calling. Up until high school, that’s all I did.”
While Ammons did play hoops and ran track in high school, he developed into an All-America swimmer. And once it came to selecting a college, the ‘Noles can thank Dedekind’s influence on Ammons, who has clocked the seventh-fasted 50-yard free style time in FSU history (20.25).
When it comes to freestyle sprints, it’s all about speed and preparation. Ammons is expected to have a great chance of qualifying for the NCAAs in the 50- and 100-free and in the freestyle relays.
“When I am practicing, I am trying to focus on everything that I have to do, as far as my stroke and maintaining my speed, head position and body position,” Ammons said. “I concentrate on swimming my own race, and I am not concerned about what the person is doing next to me. Sometimes the person next to you is having a bad bad day and I try not to let that affect me. You just want to go out and swim your own race.”
Class: Senior Hometown: Mitchellville, Md High School: DiMatha High Height/Weight: 6-4, 170 Position: Sprint Free
2002: Seventh-fastest 50-yard freestyle time in FSU history (20.25)… eighth-fastest 100-free time in FSU history (44.91)… swam anchor leg of the ACC championship 200-yard medley relay… swam anchor leg in the 400-free relay at ACCs which finished second… fourth in the 100-free at ACCs with a NCAA B-cut time (preliminary qualifying time)… 10th in the 50-free at ACCs.
In 2001: Finished 6th in the 50 Freestyle and 9th in the 100 Freestyle at the ACC Championships… Won both events in the 50 and 100 Freestyle against Georgia Tech… Other 1st place finishes came in the 50 Freestyle against Florida, Truman State, and Alabama… Accumulated 2nd place finishes against Arizona, FAU, Indian River, and LSU in the 50 Freestyle… Finished 2nd against North Carolina State and 3rd against Southern Methodist, Florida, Alabama, and LSU in the 100 Freestyle… Also competed in the freestyle and medley relay teams for the Seminoles.
2000: ACC finalist in both the 50 and 100 Freestyle… member of the ACC Champion 200 Freestyle Relay… finished 4th on the 400 Freestyle Relay at the ACC Championships.
Coach Neil Harper on Ammons: “Nnamnse is a highly talented sprinter who will make an immediate impact and with a great year, we should see some good results.”
Prep: High school All-American inthe 50 and 100 Free… team MVP freshman and sophomore years… junior and senior All-PG County Swimmer of the Year and 1st team all-metro as a junior and senior… WCAC Male Swimmer of the Year senior year… a member of student government… also played basketball and ran track.
Personal: Majoring in finance.
-Jim Henry covers Seminole athletics for TheTerritory.com. Check out Henry’s latest on the Tribe at www.theterritory.com.