Feb. 28, 2013
Greensboro, NC – The Florida State men’s swimming and diving team put on a dominant display on day two of the ACC Swimming and Diving Championships taking three of the four events. The Seminole 200 yard freestyle relay team set a new ACC meet record as did junior Pavel Sankovich in the 200 IM. Mark Weber also took home gold in the 50 yard freestyle.
The Seminoles set the tone for the night in the first swim of the finals session. The 200 yard freestyle relay team of Paul Murray, Trice Bailey, David Sanders and Mark Weber set a meet record posting a time of 1:17.42. The new ACC meet record was set by the same group of Seminoles who established the top time last year at 1:17.73.
“Our top end kids are swimming great,” said Seminole Head Coach Neil Harper. “To come out tonight and win the free relay to get it started was exciting. They’ve been the best in the conference all year and to hold it here with an eye on NCAAs is a credit to them.”
In the 200 IM two-time Olympian Sankovich took gold setting a new ACC meet record at 1:43.22, which was also an automatic qualifying time for the upcoming NCAA Championships. The Belarus native out-paced the field by nearly two full seconds to capture his first ACC title. He broke the record set in 2009 by Georgia Tech’s Gal Nevo. Sankovich’s gold plus another point from Juan Sequera who finished 16th with a time of 1:49.44 gave the Seminoles 21 points in the event.
“To come in and get an automatic NCAA cut time was a huge boost and a credit to Pavel,” said Harper. “It’s also a credit to how he’s adjusted to Tallahassee and the team has really helped him train.”
In the 50 yard freestyle the top two times in the prelims were established by Florida State swimmers so the pressure was on the Seminoles in the finals and the sprinters came through taking gold and silver. Weber followed up his second place finish in the prelims by edging out teammate Paul Murray for the top spot on the podium. Murray, who has been posting some of the fastest 50 times in the nation this year, came in just .15 seconds behind his teammate posting a 19.59 compared to Murray’s 19.44.
“Going 1-2 in the 50 was one of the goals coming here but Mark being a senior and winning was just so good,” said Harper. “It was great for Paul to get second also.”
Florida State picked up critical points in the 500 yard freestyle thanks to senior John Jessel. The Miami, Fla. native finished eighth with a time of 4:23.47 as he continued his remarkable season after not participating in the ACC Swimming and Diving Championships as a junior last year. His 11 points in the distance swim helped keep the Seminoles in top three at the end of day two.
Friday’s lineup in Greensboro includes the 400 yard medley relay, 400 yard IM, 100 yard butterfly, 200 yard freestyle, 100 yard breaststroke and 100 yard backstroke. The Seminoles currently trail meet leading Virginia which has 256 points. Virginia Tech sits 39 points back with 217, ahead of Florida State with 205 and North Carolina with 192.
“We had some highlights tonight but we need a gut check tomorrow morning to keep pace with the top teams,” said Harper. “Several of our guys have their favorite events coming up so I think we are ready for the challenge.”
Live coverage of the finals on Friday and Saturday can be seen on the ACC Digital Network on theACC.com and on ESPN3 starting at 7 p.m. For more on the 2013 ACC Swimming and Diving Championships, head to the official website at http://theacc.co/SwimDiveChamps.