March 24, 2004
EAST MEADOW, N.Y. –
While they don’t have as many representatives as the women, the Florida State University men’s swimming and diving team will look to make its mark on the NCAA Championships this week. The Seminoles will have a pair of swimmers in the meet with Wickus Nienaber and Joel Roycik taking part in the three-day event that hits the water on Thursday.
Hosted by the Long Island Aquatic Club, the national summit will be held in the Nassau Aquatic Center, which was originally constructed to host the 1998 Goodwill Games. The venue hosted last year’s women’s NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.
Florida State’s highest seeded swimmer in the event is the senior Nienaber (Manzini, Swaziland) as he is rated 15th in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 54.18, the second fastest in school history. He won the event last month at the ACC Championships. Nienaber will also take part in the 200-meter distance after notching a second-place finish in the event.
Just being at the event could be considered a victory for Nienaber. Last October he returned home to take part in the All-Africa games. While there he contracted malaria and spent several days in the hospital. The virus kept him out of the pool for several weeks and he wasn’t able to compete in a meet until January.
Each day of the championships Roycik (Winter Park, Fla.) will an opportunity to prove his talents against the best swimmers in the country. The sophomore will start on Thursday when he takes part in the 50 free with his seed time of 20.32. Day two may be his best shot at All-America honors as he is ranked 16th in the 100 fly. Roycik won the event at the league meet with a time of 47.53, ranking him second in school history. The final day will see him hit the water in the 100 freestyle.
Because 2004 is an Olympic year, the NCAA Championships will be held in short-course meters as oppose to short-course yards. The change is designed to help swimmers make qualifying standards for the Olympic trials.