March 25, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The No. 21-ranked Florida State men’s swimming and diving team will send a record number of athletes to the NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas from March 26-28.
“I am obviously excited for our team and this is the most we have ever sent to the meet,” FSU head coach Neil Harper said. “We knew that we were going to have some guys make it, but to have this many is great and I think it takes a lot of the pressure off.”
The Seminoles will send 10 swimmers and two divers to the meet, the largest contingent from FSU in school history. Fifth-year seniors Jarryd Botha, Ed Denton and Kyle Young, senior Jimmy Holway, juniors Andy Hodgson and Scott Thacker and sophomores Robby Hayes, Rob Holderness, Stephen Pendleton and Ian Rowe will compete in swimming events for the Seminoles. Senior Dan Frebel and junior Terry Horner will compete on the diving board.
Five Seminoles have earned either All-American or honorable mention All-American awards previously at the NCAA Championships led by former National Champion Horner. The Orlando, Fla., native won the one-meter competition at the 2007 Championships and is a three-time All-American and one-time honorable mention All-American. Young and Rowe are the only other members of the team to earn All-American honors in individual events with Young earning All-American honors in the 1650 free and honorable mention All-American honors in the 500 free in 2007. Rowe earned honorable mention All-American status in the 1650 free at the 2008 meet.
“In past years we’ve only had a couple of guys and there has been a lot of pressure on them to put us on the board,” Harper said. “Now we have strength in numbers which helps us considerably.”
In addition to the individual events, the Garnet and Gold qualified all five relays for the meet which gives the team an opportunity to earn big points.
“In the past we may have had a backstroker, a breaststroker and a freestyler qualify for the meet, but no butterflier so we could not swim the medley relays,” Harper said. “This year we’ve got them all and relays are worth double points so it is big if we can get those guys in the top 16 or even the top eight.”
Florida State’s highest finish at the NCAA Championships came in 1999 where FSU placed ninth. The Seminoles have never placed in the top 15 under Harper which is the goal this season.
“We’ve been 16th and 17th, but we have not quite cracked the top 15,” Harper said. “If we have some guys move up and some of our relays move up I think we can accomplish that.”
The NCAA Championships begin on Thursday, March 26 with preliminary heats of the 200 free relay, 500 free, 200 individual medley, 50 free, 400 medley relay and one-meter diving. Competition begins each day at 1:00 p.m., with finals beginning at 8:00 p.m. For a link to live stats and live video visit www.seminoles.com.