Feb. 16, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
Who: #17 Florida State Women's Swimming & Diving What: At Atlantic Coast Conference Championships When: Wednesday-Saturday (February 18-21) All Day Where: Charlottesville, Va. (UVA Aquatic and Fitness Center)
SEMINOLES HAVE EYES ON A TITLE IN CHARLOTTESVILLE: When the Florida State University women’s swimming and diving team started the season on October 10, it had four days in February circled. Five months of training will be paid off February 18-21 when the Seminoles travel to Charlottesville, Va., for the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, hosted by the University of Virginia at the UVA Aquatic and Fitness Center.
TOUGH COMPETITION AWAITS FLORIDA STATE AT LEAGUE SUMMIT:Even though FSU head coach Neil Harper feels that he has his best women’s team ever at Florida State, the road towards an ACC Championships is a rough one. Four of the eight teams in the league are ranked in the top 20 by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America poll. Heading the list is North Carolina at No. 15, followed by FSU at #17. A spot back is defending champion Virginia, with Maryland rounding out the list at No. 19.
FSU TRIES TO IMPROVE ON A PAIR OF THIRD-PLACE FINISHES:The last two seasons Florida State has equaled its best finishes at the ACC meet with a pair of third-place tallies. The Seminoles first won the bronze medal in 1994 and repeated in 1995. If history is any indication, Florida State should make another jump up the standings this year. During the last two meets held in even number years, FSU has moved up at least one place with a jump to third in 2002. Going against the Seminoles is their track record in Charlottesville, Va. The two times the meet was held there with FSU in the conference, the Seminoles finished sixth (1998) and fifth (2001).
WOMEN SET SCHOOL RECORD WITH 15TH VICTORY AT LSU: A bittersweet afternoon at his alma mater was a bit sweeter for head coach Neil Harper as his women’s team made history in the final dual meet of the year. The Seminoles downed LSU 137-100 on January 31 for their 15th victory of the season. In setting the school mark, FSU also broke it’s conference record of 14 triumphs set in 2002. Under Harper’s guidance, Florida State has won ten or more meets the last three years and has never finished below .500.
DUTTON IS POISED FOR A REPEAT: Senior Emma Dutton (Bradford, England) is on a mission to accomplish a feat that hasn’t been done by a Seminole at the ACC meet. Tops in the league in three events, she is trying to become the first FSU women’s swimmer to win a trio of individual championships at a single meet. Dutton has already qualified for the NCAA Championships with “A” cuts in the 50 free (22.73) and her school record time of 1:01.39 in the 100 breaststroke.
LEROY AND DONG GIVE HARPER SOME OPTIONS: Besides the shared experience of transferring from Washington State, seniors Andree-Anne LeRoy (Nanaimo, British Columbia) and Rachel Dong (Paramount, Calif.) have something else in common: diversity. The two are the only ACC swimmers ranked among the league’s best in five different categories. LeRoy, tops in the 200 IM, looks to repeat as champion in that event. Both have posted NCAA “B” cuts in several events.
DIVERS GO FOR FOUR IN A ROW ON BOTH BOARDS: As of late, no group of events has been dominated at the ACC meet like the work the FSU women’s team has done in the diving competition. That trend could very well continue this year as the top five scores are littered with Seminoles. On the one-meter board, Florida State holds the first four marks, while the three-meter is covered by numbers two through five. Junior Tiffany Manning (Mission Viejo, Calif.) is tops on the one-meter board this year with her school-record of 331.05. Classmate Courtney McClow (Jacksonville, Fla.) also set a new FSU mark with her 339.50 on the three-meter to rank her second in the loop.
BREEN RIDING HIGH COMING INTO CONFERENCE MEET: Over the last two months, no swimmer has come on like junior Emily Breen (Savannah, Ga.). Since coming back from holiday training, she is undefeated in the 100 back, 100 fly and 100 free with a pair of NCAA “B” cuts in the fly and the free. Breen ranks among the ACC’s top ten in four categories, including the 100 fly where she sits second at 54.44.
FAB FROSH: While this may be their first conference meet, freshmen Brittany Lerew (Orlando, Fla.) and Lauren Brick (Culpeper, Va.) will be anything but intimidated. Despite missing the early part of the season, Lerew has come on strong to post top three scores in the conference on both the one-meter (311.20) and three-meter (338.25) boards. Trailing only her teammate Emma Dutton, Brick is second in the league and 14th in the country with her 1:02.48 in the 100 breaststroke, the third fastest time in the country by a freshman.
HOW AND HANSEN HONE IN FOR LEAGUE SUMMIT: From sprint to distance, IM to fly, junior Lisa How (Preston, England) and senior Loren Hansen (Pensacola, Fla.) have done a little bit of everything for the Seminoles this season. Both will be focusing on the 200-yard butterfly, perhaps the hardest race of the meet, where they are both ranked in the ACC Top 10. How stands in fifth at 2:01.11, while Hansen’s 2:01.64 is just two spots back.