March 13, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Five members of the 17th-ranked Florida State men’s swimming and diving team have been invited to compete individually at the 2014 NCAA Championships from March 27-29 at the University of Texas.
Senior Paul Murray was selected to his third NCAA meet while classmate Pavel Sankovich will contest in his second. Juniors Connor Knight and Kevin Rogers along with freshman Jason Coombs, will make their NCAA debut.
“I think we’ve only scratched the surface with what we’re capable of doing,” head coach Frank Bradley said. “These guys swam fast at the ACC’s, but I think there is more left in the tank. This a great group representing Florida State and I think they’re going to have a great meet.”
Murray enters the meet tied for the third seed in the 50 free (19.04) and is ranked 11th in the 100 (42.59). The Coconut Creek, Fla. native posted those times at the ACC Championships, setting new school records in both races on top of taking down Cullen Jones’ conference record in the 50 free. Murray will also be a key asset on the Seminole relays.
Since the 2012 NCAA Championships, Murray has captured an All-America honor as a member of the 400 free relay team that took seventh (2012) on top of a pair of honorable mention relays.
Like Murray, Sankovich will be busy over the three-day meet with three individual races where his times place him inside the top five on top of contributing on relays. Sankovich solidified his top seeds following his ACC MVP performance by ways of winning the 200 IM, 100 fly and 100 back while setting new FSU, ACC meet and conference records in each of his three individual races.
The Hronda, Belarus native will be seeded fourth in the 200 IM and ranks third in both the 100 fly and 100 back.
At the 2013 meet, Sankovich earned honorable mention accolades in three races – placing 16th in the 200 IM before taking 11th in the 100 back. He also led of the 200 medley relay that placed 10th.
Knight has also earned high seeds in his specialties, ranking eighth in the 100 fly (45.83) and ninth in the 200 fly (1:42.46). The Juno Beach, Fla. native swam his best marks at the ACC Championships, winning bronze in the 100 fly before setting a new FSU record in the 200 fly with a fourth place finish, taking down Stephen Parry’s standard which was set in 1998. Knight is also expected to contribute on relays during the meet and has the option to swim the 200 IM.
Rogers earned his bid after leading of the 800 free relay at ACC’s in FSU record time of 1:34.52 in the 200 free. In the individual race, Rogers placed sixth with a time of 1:35.10. The Raleigh, N.C. native will also have the option to swim the 500 free and 200 back races.
Among a highly competitive FSU breaststroke group, Coombs emerged at the end of the season with the tops times in both the 100 and 200 distances. Coombs earned his bid in the 100 breast as he posted a 53.09 at ACC’s, setting a new FSU mark. The Osteen, Fla. native will be seeded 25th in the race and will also have the option to swim the 200 breast.
The Seminoles have earned the chance to swim all five relay races, however they are most potent in the medleys as they will be seeded second in the 400 distance and sixth in the 200.
“We can do some big things with these relays,” Bradley said. “I thought we had some great swims at ACC’s, but we can be faster.”
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