Feb. 28, 2014
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The 17th-ranked Florida State men’s swim team continued rewrite the history books at the ACC Championships as senior Pavel Sankovich led the charge by contributing to three new standards tonight at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
Tonight, Sankovich set a total of nine new records while capturing gold in three events. All told, Sankovich set new ACC Meet, Conference and FSU records in each of his individual races as well as the 400 medley relay, while adding a school mark as a part of the 200 medley relay equaling out to 13 new standards.
“Pavel had great race management today,” head coach Frank Bradley said. “He took care of his of body and he’s such a smart racer, so he was able to carry that through the whole day. It was one of those things where he wasn’t going to lose in any race and he just threw it down.”
Sankovich grabbed his second gold of the night in the 100 fly by turning in a time of 45.12 en route to posting the second fastest mark in the NCAA this year. In the prelims, Connor Knight originally erased the mark set by Jarryd Botha of 46.23 in 2009, however The Hronda, Belarus native topped Knight’s time. Knight finished with bronze turning in the exact same time of 45.83.
Following his 100 fly, Sankovich contested in his third race of the night in the 100 back. Showing little signs of fatigue, Sankovich utilized every turn and his powerful underwater kicking to propel him to another gold medal, turning in a time of 45.83.
In one of the stronger relays in the Florida State arsenal, the top seeded Seminoles held on for a huge victory in the 400 medley relay to start the session with a time of 3:04.47 – a mark that shattered the ACC Meet, Conference (3:07.17) and FSU records.
Sankovich led the race off with a new trio of records in the 100 back leg, touching with a 45.31 allowing the Seminoles to lead the race from start to finish as Jared Pike (52.56), Connor Knight (45.20) and Paul Murray (41.40) closed out the race. For Sankovich, that time is also the second fastest in the country this season.
With the win, the Seminoles brought home the first gold in the 400 medley relay race since 2007 while taking down a FSU standard that was set in 2009 by Andy Hodgson, Scott Thacker, Jarryd Botha and Ed Denton at 3:08.89.
“Those four knew they needed to be sharper in the 200,” Bradley said. “All four guys had great splits and they were smart and confident about it tonight. They didn’t over-swim it and they did it together and the biggest thing was they wanted to win it.”
Also scoring points in the 100 fly in addition to Sankovich and Knight was Cadell Lyons, who won the ‘B’ final with a career best time of 46.65 while Cole Hensley was victorious in the ‘C’ final with his personal best of 47.55.
“Our guys did a really good winning each heat,” Bradley said. “They all swam really well tonight and they all took a decent bit of time off that race this season. But the biggest thing for us, we needed to learn how to get it done in the morning session, but these guys are maturing and they’ll get there.”
With four swimmers in the ‘B’ final of the 100 breast, Jason Coombs led the way winning the heat and placing ninth with a final time of 53.09. The personal best set a new FSU record which erased Brendon Dedekind’s mark which was set back in 1997 of 53.16.
Following Coombs was Pike in 11th (53.33), Alex Rodriguez finished 14th with a final mark of 53.92 and Richie Hildebrand placed 15th at 54.06. All four contributed a career best in the event during the meet in addition to Paul Murray, who placed 20th with a time of 54.49 following a 54.32 morning swim.
“Coombs made some good adjustments,” Bradley said. “He was really aggressive on the back end with and I was happy with that swim and it’s great that he could break that record. They all stepped up and had a great session of racing tonight.”
Saturday’s events will contain the 1650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast and 200 fly before concluding with the 400 free relay.
With all of the diving events factored into the meet, the Seminoles are in third place (717) behind Virginia Tech (898) and NC State (820). FSU holds a slight edge over North Carolina (692), Virginia (668) and Notre Dame (665).
Live stats can be found on the ACC Championship page. Finals of the event will be streamed live through the same site start at 7 p.m.
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