Dec. 3, 2004
ATHENS, GA. –
Throughout the fall season, the Florida State University swimming and diving teams have had to face one obstacle after another. Going into the final event of the fall campaign, the Seminoles wanted to set the tone for the second half of the year by ending this half on a high. The Tribe appears to be on their way towards reaching that goal after the first day of the Georgia Fall Invitational.
The 25th-ranked men’s team sits in second place with 248.5 points, trailing number six Minnesota and 50 points ahead of host and No. 16 Georgia. FSU’s women’s squad, rated No. 22 in the land, is in fourth, but only trailing Minnesota by 33 points.
“We’re off to a good starts, I’m happy with the way it went today,” FSU head coach Neil Harper said. “Typically the first day is never great for us, but we got a lot done today and that’s very encouraging. We had some great swims like Steve Roof in the 500 free, but there were a lot of lifetime bests that didn’t show up in the finals, but a lot of people contributed today.”
The Seminoles best finish in the pool came at the very start of Friday’s finals session with the team of Michael Averett (Davie, Fla.), Joel Roycik (Winter Park, Fla.), Alex Kennon (Winter Haven, Fla.) and Ed Denton (Maidenhead, England). The quartet posted the fastest conference time of the year in the 200 free relay with their second-place mark of 1:20.88.
The first day also ended on a high note with the men’s 400 medley relay posting the fastest standard in the ACC while also tallying an NCAA “B” cut. Ian Powell (Guernsey, Channel Islands), Billy Jamerson (Savannah, Ga.) Roycik and Denton hit the wall at 3:17.16 to take third. Powell’s lead-off backstroke split of 50.45 places him eighth in school history and seventh in the ACC this year.
Grabbing the men’s best individual finish of the night was freshman Dan Keeling (Westminster, Colo.) in the 200-yard individual medley. He placed third with his time of 1:50.74, but swam a season-best mark of 1:50.48 in the prelims that rates him seventh in school history second on the ACC list.
Scoring the first NCAA consideration time for the Seminoles was Steve Roof (Canton, Ohio) in the 500-yard freestyle. He touched in with a time of 4:27.20, just half a second off his career-best mark and fourth in the league, to take second. Senior Alan Ribeiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) was eighth with a time of 4:31.85.
As a team, the best event for Florida State was the 50 freestyle where FSU had three swimmers in the finals. Leading the way was Roycik with his season-best time of 20.48 that catapults him to fourth in the ACC. Finishing just a hair behind was Averett in sixth at 20.49, while Kennon was right there with a 20.56 to take eighth.
The diving competition was also very fruitful for the men with two Seminoles in the top 12. Leading the way was freshman Alex Tilbrook (Largo, Fla.) with his seventh-place tally of 260.20. Nine points back was Curtis Schroeger (Shawnee Mission, Kan.) with a 251.65 to take 11th.
“On the first day I looked for us to makes some headway and a lot of people posted lifetime bests. For the freshmen you look to see how there are going to react. For us it’s a good measuring stick to see how they’re reacting to the training and for the most part it’s gone really well.”
Not to be left out, the women also got a pair of NCAA “B” cut times during the first day. The team of Stacey Rademacher (Charlotte, N.C.), Lauren Brick (Culpeper, Va.), Emily Breen (Savannah, Ga.) and Carrie Ellis (Valrico, Fla.) posted a “B” time of 3:44.35 to take fourth and rate second in the ACC.
Bolstering the women’s score was the performance of the divers during the three-meter competition, including the best overall individual performance of the night. Senior captain Courtney McClow (Jacksonville, Fla.) posted a second-place score of 473.65. Sophomores Brittany Lerew (Orlando, Fla.) and Camille Akridge (Orlando, Fla.) also finished in the top ten with Lerew fifth at 473.65 and Akridge’s 417.20 placing her ninth.
While Ellis’ eighth-place mark of 23.50 in the 50 free was good, it was her morning swim in the event that turned heads. The senior scored a career-best time of 23.38 in the prelims that rates tenth in school history and is an NCAA “B” cut. Also making it to the finals was senior Laura Kenney (Plano, Texas) as she took eighth in the 200 IM with a 2:06.93 after posting a season-best 2:05.73 in the morning.
FSU started with a 200 free relay that finished fourth and chalked up the second-fastest time in the ACC. Ellis, Breen, Abbie King (Brunswick, Maine) and Kayce Zemina (Plantation, Fla.) put together a time of 1:33.03.
The action continues on Saturday at the Gabrielsen Natatorium with prelims in the morning and finals starting at 5 p.m.