March 26, 2004
EAST MEADOW, N.Y –
In his home country of Swaziland, Wickus Nienaber is virtually a one-man national team so every time he sets a personal-best time, it is a national record. That was the case on Friday (March 26) as the Florida State University swimmer took part in the 100-meter breaststroke at the NCAA Championships at the Nassau County Aquatics Center.
With just one swim, Nienaber (Manzini, Swaziland) set two nationals records. His 50-meter split of 28.66 and his overall time of 1:01.00 are both personal-bests and, hence, new Swaziland marks. His time was good enough to place him 18th in the country. Because 2004 is an Olympic year, the NCAA Championships are being held in short-course meters as oppose to short-course yards. In yards, the time converts to 54.66.
“Wickus gave himself every opportunity and he had a great swim,” FSU head coach Neil Harper said. “You can’t control what everyone else does and a couple guys just passed him by, but he’s excited about the 200 meter tomorrow.”
“I was excited about the race,” Nienaber admitted. “When I was warming up I was feeling good and I was comfortable in the water so I knew I would have a positive swim. I stayed focused on the race and I’m happy with the way the swim came together.”
The morning swim was the second day of competition for Joel Roycik (Winter Park, Fla.) as he took part in the 100-meter butterfly. The ACC Champion in the event, the sophomore touched in with a time of 54.75 to take 34th. The time converts to 48.98.
“Joel swam okay,” Harper added. “He had three turns to execute and was a little off on all of them. Once one goes bad you try to scramble to catch up and you don’t quite get back into the race. The 100 free tomorrow will be a better race for him.”
There is one more day of competition left at the national summit with the 200-meter distances of the stroke events as well as the 100 free, 1,500 and 400-meter free relay.