Aug. 16, 2004
ATHENS, Greece –
With nothing to lose and everything to gain on a world stage, three current and former Florida State University swimmers hit the water with some strong showings during the first two days of competition at the 31st Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
The top performance was turned in by senior Chris Vythoulkas (Nassau, Bahamas) as he won his heat of the 100-meter backstroke. Swimming in his lone event of the competition, the All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection posted a personal best time of 58.31, improving on his previous top time by eight one-hundredths of a second to place 38th overall.
Coming through for the best finish by a Seminole at the games so far has been Golda Marcus (Coral Springs, Fla.). Swimming for her native El Salvador, she posted a time of 4:22.27 to place second in her heat and 33rd overall in the 400-meter freestyle. The senior will be back in action on August 19 when she swims the 800-meter freestyle.
“Chris had a great swim in the 100 backstroke and we’re real pleased with how he swam his race,” FSU head coach Neil Harper said. “Golda did a great job in the 400, but the 800 is more suited for her so we’re looking for big things out of that race. Wickus and I were a little disappointed by his race, but after everything he’s gone through this past year he’s shown a lot of toughness just to get to this point.”
Competing in his second Olympic Games, former Florida State swimmer Wickus Nienaber participated in the 100-meter breaststroke during the first day of competition. A member of the Swaziland contingency, he missed his personal best by just over a half of a second, taking 42nd with a time of 1:04.74. Harper is in Athens as a member of the Swaziland coaching staff.
With six days of swimming competition still on tap, there will be at least two more swims by former Seminoles. Great Britain’s Stephen Parry will start his chase for a medal in the 200-meter butterfly with the prelims and semifinals on Monday followed by the finals the next day. Thursday will see Julio Santos in action as he swims the 50-meter freestyle for Ecuador.