March 28, 2014
Connor Knight gets ready for the fly leg of the 400 medley relay.
AUSTIN, Texas – On the opening night of the 2014 Men’s NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships held at the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, the 17th-ranked Florida State Seminoles put together a pair of All-America performances behind senior Paul Murray and the 400 medley relay.
“I’m very happy for those guys,” head coach Frank Bradley said. “Any time you can write school history and it’s pretty cool for these guys. Overall I think we had a solid first day and I like where we are as a team for tomorrow.”
Sankovich opened with a split of 45.68, tying for the third-fastest start in the field, Pike dove in and split a 52.78, leaving the Seminoles in the middle of the pack for Knight. Knight held a steady sixth place, splitting 45.73 and Murray brought it home (42.12), touching in sixth improving from the seventh place qualifying seed (3:07.02).
The sixth place showing ties for the highest FSU relay finish in school history. The team of Brendon Dedekind, Julio Santos, Kevin Flanagan and Matt McVittie also took sixth in the 200 free relay at the 1999 NCAA Championships. Murray captured his first-career individual All-America nod by placing seventh in the 50 free with a final time of 19.14. It was the best finish in the event at the meet since Scott Baker placed seventh in 2008.
The Coconut Creek, Fla. native earned his spot in the championship final by swimming the sixth fastest time in trials of 19.08.
“Paul set himself up well for finals,” Bradley said. “I’m really proud of Paul and what he’s accomplished this year.”
Kevin Rogers swam a time of 4:25.45 in the 500 free, placing 48th in prelims.
In prelims of the 200 IM, Jason Coombs swam a career best time of 1:46.09 to win heat two and he would go on to place 40th.
The Seminoles suffered an unfortunate disqualification in the 200 free relay to start of the session.
“We had nothing to lose with that relay,” Bradley said. “It’s just a shame that we didn’t gain anything from it because we would have scored points. But, it’s swimming and that stuff happens and we were able to recharge and get after our other events.”
After the first of three days, the Seminoles sit in 12th place with a team total of 38 points.
Prelims will begin at 11 a.m. (CT) and finals will start at 7 p.m. and will feature to the top 16 times from the morning session. Prelims for Friday will be streamed live through Texassports.com, while finals will be televised on ESPN3.
Friday’s events list contain the 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back and the 800 free relay. Sankovich will swim the 100 fly and 100 back, while Knight will battle in the 100 fly. Rogers will compete in the 200 free and Coombs will race the 100 breast.
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Photo Credit: David Knight (knightscapeimages.com)