Feb. 18, 2004
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. –
Even though the team champion won’t be crowned until Saturday evening, the Florida State University women’s swimming and diving team started the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships with a bang on Wednesday (February 18). The Seminoles began the league summit by capturing the 200 medley relay title.
“The fact that we won that last relay is huge,” FSU deck boss Neil Harper said. “The fashion that we won it in was huge too. It was good for our team to watch us win a close race. Both relays posted school records and you can’t ask for much more than that.”
After just two events at the University of Virginia Aquatic and Fitness Center, the Tribe finds itself just four points out of first place. The Seminoles trail North Carolina 74-70 with Maryland in third at 66 points.
Only two events were held on the first night of competition, but both resulted in school records for Florida State. The winning 200 medley quartet posted a time of 1:40.84-missing the pool record by .02-while the 800 freestyle squad chalked up a fourth-place mark of 7:24.09. Both times are NCAA “B” cut provisional marks.
Senior Emily Breen (Savannah, Ga.) got the medley started with a split of 25.93 in the backstroke. Giving the Seminoles the lead after the breaststroke was rookie Lauren Brick (Culpepper, Va.) as she swam a 27.83. Extending the lead was a swim of 24.90 by senior Rachel Dong (Paramount, Calif.) during the butterfly and classmate Emma Dutton (Bradford, England) brought home the title with her 22.18 in the freestyle leg.
“In the medley we thought we had the team to win, but to get it done under the pressure is another thing,” Harper added. “That really ignited our team and we’re excited about the rest of the week. Emily led off with her best time and then Lauren got us out there and Rachel held on to it. Emma brought it home for us, it’s good to have someone like her at the end.”
Even though the Seminoles weren’t atop the winner’s stand, they had something to cheer about during the first event of the championships. Florida State broke the school record in the 800 freestyle relay with an NCAA “B” cut time of 7:23.37. The team of Loren Hansen (Pensacola, Fla.), Renee Gajda (Goldcoast, Australia), Lisa How (Preston, England) and Andree-Anne LeRoy (Nanaimo, British Columbia) placed fourth in the event.
Florida State got a big lift from the freshmen Brick and Gajda. Growing up just 30 miles from UVA, Brick gave FSU a lead it would not relinquish in the 200 medley. Gajda posted the fastest time in the 800 free relay with her split of 1:48.12.
“I was very proud of them,” Harper said of the freshmen. “It’s so hard for freshmen to come in and perform with the rest of the team watching them. It’s great for their confidence to come out and do that. Lauren is excited because a lot of her friends and family are here and now that she’s got that swim out of the way I think she can do some great things here.”
The Championships continue on Thursday (February 18) with one-meter diving, 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free, and the 200 free relay. Preliminaries start at 11 a.m. with finals at 7 p.m.
ACC WOMEN'S SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPOINSHIPS TEAM STANDINGS:
1) North Carolina 74
2) Florida State 70
3) Maryland 66
4) Virginia 62
5) Duke 62
6) Clemson 50
7) Georgia Tech 50
8) NC State 48
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. –