Feb. 17, 2005
ATLANTA, Ga. –
Day two of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships swimming and diving is typically not a strong one for the Florida State University, so head coach Neil Harper has to be pleased with times that his team posted during the Thursday morning preliminaries.
Overall, the Seminoles have nine swimmers taking part in the evening, including one in the finals. The one-meter diving, one of the team’s strongest events will feature all three FSU divers at the meet.
With four-straight titles on the one-meter board, the Seminoles have a trio of divers trying to keep the streak alive. The 2002 champion in the event, Courtney McClow (Jacksonville, Fla.) is poised for a run at bookend titles after the prelims. The senior captain sits in second place with a score of 295.36.
Right behind her in third place is sophomore Camille Akridge (Moultrie, Ga.) after her 268.98 during the prelims. 2004 All-ACC selection Brittany Lerew (Orlando, Fla.) is in fifth with a six-dive 259.25.
Moving up a spot from her seed time into the number two spot for the finals of the 50 freestyle was Carrie Ellis (Valrico, Fla.) with the fifth-fastest time in school history. For five minutes the senior held the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center pool record with her NCAA “B” cut of 23.08 that won her heat. Two heats later Virginia Tech’s Mason Walsh reset the record at 22.65.
“We’re always excited for Carrie, that’s another career best time for her and to be second going into finals tonight is great,” Harper said. “Abbie and Kayce in the consols is great and they know they made some mistakes in their races so we’re looking for them to move up tonight.”
Also making it to the evening session was freshman Abbie King (Brunswick, Maine) and senior Kayce Zemina (Plantation, Fla.). King swam the best time of her early career with a 23.69, while Zemina made her first consolation heat with a career-best 23.76.
Two more Seminoles will be in the bonus heat as Lauren Sparg (Durban, South Africa) notched a 23.95, while Katie Metka (Largo, Fla.) added a career-best 24.02. Rounding out the Florida State entries in the 50 free was Lauren Brick (Culpeper, Va.) – 24.15 – Georgia native Brittany Stevens (Peachtree City, Ga.) – career-best 24.54 – and Keri Whitehurst (Christensen, US Virgin Islands) – 25.15.
Getting a spot in the consolation finals of the 200 individual medley was rookie Lindsay Kenney (Plano, Texas). After a great swim on the 800 free relay, Kenney came back on Thursday to post a career-best 2:05.35 that rates as the eighth-best mark in school history.
“For us normally the IM is kind of bare event so it’s good for us to have a freshman up there and it’s not her best event,” Harper added. “It’s good that she’s in the consolation heat and this morning was her best time, but I think she can go a little faster.”
Scoring point Thursday night for Florida State in the 500 freestyle will be Golda Marcus (Coral Springs, Fla.). The senior posted a career-best time of 4:53.66 to put her in 13th-place after the preliminaries. The mark is an NCAA “B” cut and ranks fourth in school history.
Joining Marcus during the evening session will be a pair of Seminoles in the bonus heat. Senior Angie Leach (Leesburg, Fla.) hit the wall with a personal-best 4:55.08 that rates her seventh in FSU lore. Leach missed making the top 16 and scoring points for the Seminoles by 0.04.
Sophomore Katie Ronan (Pensacola, Fla.) continued to have a strong meet during the morning session as she posted a career-best time in 500 freestyle. Ronan won her heat of the event with the eighth-best time in school history, a 4:55.76. Coming in right behind her was rookie Elise Hatfield (Merritt Island, Fla.) as she touched in with a career-best mark of 4:56.94. Freshman Kate Skaggs (Jacksonville, Fla.) hit the wall in 5:03.03 Renee Gajda (Queensland, Australia) added a 5:03.21.
The four-day competition continues Wednesday night at 7 p.m. with the finals of the 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free and one-meter diving, as well the 200 free relay.