Nov. 15, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Taking on the number three and four teams in the country would normally raise the stakes for the Florida State University swimming and diving teams, but the intensity is turned up eleven when the teams carrying those national ranking are the Florida Gators.
The Seminoles take their shot at knocking off the Gators Tuesday (November 16) when they play host to a 5 p.m. meet at the Bobby E. Leach Center. Florida State’s women’s team (12-2 overall, 4-1 ACC) are ranked 19th in the country, while the men’s squad (9-1 overall, 4-0 ACC) sits in the No. 24 spot. Florida women’s team is third in the country and the men are fourth.
“It’s a great rivalry, a lot of the instate swimmers know each other, and it’s a great opportunity,” FSU head coach Neil Harper said. “We want to expose our team to top quality teams and the only way we are going to know if we’re getting better is to compete against great teams and see how we do. It’s going to be a big challenge for us and we’re glad that we get to swim in familiar territory.”
A win for the women’s team would make history as the Seminoles have never beaten Florida with the Gators holding a 29-0 advantage. It has been eight years since the men’s squad has defeated Florida, dating back to a 133-108 win on November 29, 1996. Florida has the lead in the all-time series, 44-22-1.
Both squads have been on a roll as of late, particularly the men’s team. Winner’s of seven-straight meets, the men’s team hasn’t suffered a loss since a 171-127 defeat to third-ranked California. The women have won seven of their last eight meets, with just a lone lost to 15th-ranked Maryland since the trip out west.
“In the grand scheme it’s just another dual meet,” Harper added. “We had a hard weekend on the road and we’re starting another hard week of work and we’re not going to do anything in particular to get an edge. The atmosphere of swimming Florida will do a lot more to inspire our team and we have to come in with a nothing to lose attitude.”
Giving the Seminoles a big boost this season has been the performance of many of the newcomers. All told, newcomers on the Florida State roster have won 40 individual events so far and have been on virtually every winning relays. The Seminoles have ten new swimmers and divers ranked in 16 different categories in the ACC top ten, including Ian Powell (Guernsey, Channel Islands) who is ranked second in the 200 backstroke (1:49.52) and Billy Jamerson (Savannah, Ga.) who is runner-up in the 100 breaststroke (56.61).
Recently a pair of seniors has stepped up in the distance events to give the Seminoles some much needed points. Coming off an appearance in the 2004 Olympics, Golda Marcus (Coral Springs, Fla.) won a trio of events over the weekend. At the ACC quad meet in Atlanta, she posted a career-best 4:56.28 in the 500 free.
Swimming in his backyard, last weekend was a big step in the right direction for Alan Ribeiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). In two meets he swept four individual events and took part on a pair of winning relays. His season-best 1:41.56 in the 200 free moved him into the ACC top ten list.
“Swimming can be a bit more predicable that most sports,” Harper noted. “You don’t see too many number 19 or 24 teams knocking off third or fourth ranked teams. The meet may look one-sided, but we’re going to do our best to even it out and there are a lot of opportunities out there for us to score some points.”
This will be the last dual meet for the Seminoles until the New Year and their next to last competition of 2004. Florida State wraps up the fall portion of its schedule on December 3-5 at the Georgia Fall Invitational.