March 20, 2004
COLLEGE STATION, Texas –
When it came time for the Atlantic Coast Conference to hand out its top awards for Swimmer and Diver of the Meet at the conference championships, Florida State University’s Tiffany Manning and Emma Dutton were natural choices for both accolades. The duo proved their merit once again, but this time on a national stage as they each won All-America honors during the final day (March 20) of the NCAA Championships.
For Manning (Mission Viejo, Calif.), she has become a mainstay on the podium after the platform diving and 2004 was no exception as she earned her third All-America title in the event. Dutton (Bradford, England) captured her second award in as many days as she placed eighth in the 200-yard breaststroke.
After a regular season schedule in which it set a school and conference record with 15 wins, the only fitting way for the Florida State to finish the year would be to have a great showing at the national summit. The Seminoles did just that as they ended the meet in 17th place with 84 points, the best showing in school history since FSU started competing in the NCAA Championships.
The Tribe moved up 19th spots from last year 36th-place showing when they scored just nine points. The 600 percent improvement and the jump up 19 spots are the best improvement in the country. FSU’s point total equals that of both Virginia, who took 19th at 53 points and 23rd-place North Carolina (31). Auburn won the team title with a score of 569 points.
“The goal of our program was to strive for something like that and this week we put Florida State on the map,” FSU head coach Neil Harper said. “The great thing was that all seven girls got here on their own merits and they all came together as one team. Those 54 points are a total tem effort.”
Going into the evening session Manning stood in sixth-place on the platform. She did herself one spot better as she climbed into fifth-place with a score of 424.25. The junior is just the third Seminole on the women’s side to earn All-America honors in three different years. Her fifth-place mark is the highest by a Seminole since Christy Cech placed fourth in the 50 free during the 2001 meet.
“Tiffany did a great job all week and I’m really happy for her,” FSU diving coach Patrick Jeffrey said. “She had a great season, winning everything at the ACC meet, then the platform title at the zones and now earning All-America honors. She has become a more well-rounded diver and she was three points from earning All-American on all three boards so next year she could be a major factor.”
Having swum at the NCAA meet twice before, Dutton had never come home with any hardware. After her performance in the morning session she was guaranteed her second award. The senior hit the wall with a time of 2:27.75, which converts to 2:12.38 and resets her own school record.
By placing eighth with a time of 2:28.66, she collects her second national award and joins a list of just 11 Seminoles to accomplish the feat and is the first since 1988 when Kathy Isackson medaled in both the 100 and 200 butterfly. Dutton is also the first female swimmer to earn All-America accolades in the 200 breastroke.
“Emma was confident in all the training she had done and she put herself in a position to go out the way she did. I’m so proud of her,” Harper added. “To break her own school record was tough. She swam on our four relays that scored and then to come back in swim the 200 breaststroke is tough.”
Wrapping up the season which began in September, the 400-meter freestyle relay secured points for FSU with a 16th -place time of 3:47.33. Joining Dutton on the final quartet was juniors Emily Breen (Savannah, Ga.) and Lisa How (Preston, England) and senior Rachel Dong (Paramount, Calif.). All four of FSU’s relays at the meet earned honorable-mention All-America accolades.
“The year before I came back we were six at the conference meet and scored zero points at the NCAA meet,” Harper noted. “To be at the top of the ACC and in the top 20 nationally, I couldn’t asks for anything more.”
During the morning swims, Breen clocked in with a time of 56.86 in the 100-meter breaststroke. Since 2004 is an Olympic year, the NCAA meet is being held in short-course meters, as opposed to short-course yards.