Jan. 10, 2008
Tallahassee, Fla.- Florida State swimming and diving begins a busy weekend on Friday, January 11, at 3:00 p.m. when they welcome LSU to the Bobby E. Leach Center for the Seminoles’ first home meet of the new year.
“LSU is a very good team, a very dangerous team this time of year,” said head coach Neil Harper. “They’ve got some great individual swimmers and great team depth, I don’t see any weaknesses.”
FSU competed with the Tigers earlier this season at the Georgia Tech Invitational, with the Seminoles finishing first on both the men’s and women’s side, while the Tigers took home second place. But facing LSU in a dual meet setting will be a greater challenge for Florida State.
“We’re certainly going to get tested,” said Harper. “Our team needs to step up and compete hard and defend our home territory.”
LSU is a familiar foe for Harper as he was a member of the Tigers’ swimming and diving program from 1985-88. He was a part of LSU’s most successful team in school history during the1988 season when the Tigers won the SEC Championship and finished sixth at the NCAA Championships. Harper was a seven-time All-American and still ranks in the school’s top ten best times for six events.
“It’s sort of bittersweet because they’re my second favorite team,” said Harper. “I always want to see them do well except for the time when they are competing against us. However, I can’t control that, this meet is in the hands of the swimmers and the divers. All I can do is try to stay calm and coach the best way I know how and see if we can get a win.”
Senior Day is Saturday, honoring the 12 seniors on the Seminole squad. The meet begins at 10 a.m. with Florida state squaring off against Florida A&M, Florida International and Florida Gulf Coast.
“I think it’s great because it allows them to get some recognition and swim in front of their home crowd,” said Harper. “It’s also a good time for them to enjoy the meet, enjoy the occasion and have their friends and family see them compete.”
Saturday’s meet against three Florida schools gives the Seminoles the opportunity to compete against some elite swimmers and for some this means former high school teammates.
“Anytime you swim against schools from the state of Florida there’s a vested interest,” said Harper. “The kids know several of the athletes who compete for these teams and these teams always have some swimmers that can challenge our kids so our team has to be on their toes and compete well.”
Admission is free for both meets, for times and results visit www.seminoles.com.