Feb. 25, 2006
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -The No. 16 Florida State men’s swimming and diving team finished in second place for the fourth consecutive year. Virginia won the meet with 694 points and was followed by FSU (685.5), North Carolina (496.5), Georgia Tech (371), NC State (362), Virginia Tech (334.5), Clemson (293), Maryland (222.5), Duke (99), Boston College (99) and Miami (37).
“I’m proud of the boys,” said head coach Neil Harper. “I think disappointed is to less of a verb to describe how we feel right now. We have come so far, had a lot of ambition and put forth a lot of effort. We would have had a great memory if the men had gotten their first ACC title but these men have to be proud of what they did and they will reminder that forever.”
“We inspired ourselves with great swims and fired each other up, so it wasn’t like we ran out of gas on the last night. We had some wonderful swims and amazing achievements. I just can’t be prouder of our guys. They did it with class, were great sportsmen and true student-athletes. I think the team needs to be proud of what they did. Just getting this close to winning a men’s acc title is quite an accomplishment.”
It was FSU’s highest point total and the closet conference meet finish since 1999 when Florida State placed second with 697.5 points, just 6.5 points behind Virginia (704).
“I feel for the team,” said Harper. “This time last year we were 140 points off and we have cut that by almost 135. We certainly sent the message to Virginia. It really brought out the best of both teams.”
Florida State capped off an impressive showing at the meet by winning the 400 free relay. The team of senior Joel Roycik (Winter Park, Fla.), junior Alex Kennon (Winter Haven, Fla.) and sophomores Jarryd Botha (Worcester, South Africa) and Ed Denton (Maidenhead, England) finished first with an NCAA “B” cut time of 2:55.92.
Botha came through for Florida State in a big way as he won the Seminoles’ only individual gold medal of the meet in the 200 back with an NCAA “B” cut time of 1:45.54.
Sophomore Carl Marais (Pretoria, South Africa) had an impressive swim in the 200 back championship final as he took third with an NCAA “B” cut time of 1:46.18 while classmate Ian Powell (Guernsey, Channel Island) finished eighth in 1:49.29.
Florida State picked up valuable points in the 100 free championship final as Roycik finished second in 43.75, Denton took third in 43.86 and Kennon placed fourth in 44.00. All three swimmers recorded NCAA “B” cut times.
In the 1650 free, sophomore Kyle Young (Oviedo, Fla.) moved from lane seven to finish third with an NCAA “B” cut time of 15:08.40. Junior Steve Roof (Canton, Ohio) took fifth with an NCAA “B” cut time of 15:11.94.
Junior Paul Erben (Panama City, Fla.) finished fifth in the 200 breast championship final in 2:00.29 while classmate Mark Nichols (Charlotte, N.C.) took fifth in the 200 fly championship final in 1:49.52.
Senior Jared Heine (Honolulu, Hawaii) finished third in the 200 back consolation final in 1:49.31 while classmate Stephan Connor (Burr Ridge, Ill.) won the 100 free consolation final in 44.83. Sophomore Billy Jamerson (Savannah, Ga.) placed second in the 200 breast consolation final in 2:02.18.
Florida State had three swimmers in the 200 fly consolation final. Sophomore Danny Keeling (Westminster, Colo.) finished third in 1:49.53, classmate Michael Rice (North Miami, Fla.) took seventh in 1:51.18 and Powell placed eighth in 1:51.42.