Jan. 24, 2001
By Jason Leturmy, FSU Sports Information
Where is Pietermaritzburg you might ask? Well, it’s a beautiful and tranquil city located on the east coast shores of South Africa, 50 miles inland from the city of Durban. Pietermaritzburg, also called “Umgungunhlovu,” which translates to The Place of the Elephant, is a melting pot of several cultures including a blend from Africa, Asia and Europe. This small, relaxed city has been a heavily recruited area for Florida State’s swimming and diving program.
The swimmers in which FSU has brought over from South Africa have done very well from the likes of Brendon Dedekind, national champion in the 50 Freestyle and 100 Breaststroke, and owner of three school records, Liska Dedekind, sister of Brendon, and present day swimmers Steven Forson, Keryn Krynauw, Greg Main-Baillie, and Christy Cech. These swimmers continue to contribute heavily to the success of the Florida State swimming and diving program.
Junior Christy Cech has been a valuable asset to the women’s swimming and diving program this year. Her perseverance to work hard in the offseason and her years of dedication to the sport have contributed to her success this season. After Cech’s sub-par performance at nationals last summer in South Africa, she realized there were some areas in her swimming she needed to improve. She worked diligently with Seminole head coach Neil Harper, and assistant coaches Andy Robins and Michelle Gacio, in an offseason training program that included a great deal of running and underwater work.
“The three coaches have worked well together to allow me to reach the levels that I have wanted to achieve,” said Cech. “Each one has played an integral role in what I want to achieve.”
Cech’s off season training has definitely paid off. She currently holds the fastest times in the ACC in the 50 Freestyle (22.64) and 100 Freestyle (49.36) and is second in the 200 Freestyle (1:48.45). Nationally, her times in the 50 and 100 Freestyle are good for second and fourth place, respectively. She attributes a great deal of her success to her teammates.
“Everyone has bonded very well together,” said Cech. “We are so relaxed when it comes to race time. We love to race. We love being together. We are so much closer this year than I can remember. When people are happy, you are going to race well.”
In a sense, it is safe to say that Cech herself is happier this year. She feels she brings a great deal of character to the team. Cech feels she has a lot more to offer this year, but that ultimately everyone has played a role in the success of the team so far this year.
“I hope to take my swimming to its limit,” said Cech. “I don’t feel I have gotten to my full potential yet. I really feel this is going to be a great year for me.”
For the remainder of the season, Cech hopes to final at the NCAA Championships in Long Island, N.Y. in mid-March.
“Right now, everything is up in the air,” said Cech. “But I am very excited. I have never felt this confident with my swimming before.”
You can see Cech and the rest of the Seminoles in their final home meet of the season on February 3, when FSU takes on the LSU Tigers at 1 p.m. at the Bobby E. Leach Center.
Wait a "Cech!" Here are a few more facts about junior free stylist Christy Cech: Born: January 21, 1979 Hometown: Pietermaritzburg, South Africa Event: Freestyle Major: Graphic Design Advertising Most Admired Person: My Dad Most Admired Athlete: Brendon Dedekind Why she became a swimmer: "My grandfather was a coach and before I could walk I was swimming in the water with him. I was born into it. I love it so much!" Started racing competitively: 10 years old