GREENSBORO, N.C. – The No. 15 Florida State men’s swimming and diving team finished in fourth place at the 2013 ACC Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. For the second consecutive season a Seminole was named the championship’s most valuable swimmer. In 2012 the honor went to Mateo DeAngulo and this year it was Pavel Sankovich who finished the meet with six medals, four of which were gold.
“So proud of our team effort tonight, we had some adversity and some tough breaks but came back tonight and really raced well,” said head coach Neil Harper. “Sankovich was named ACC Championships MVP with four gold medals, one silver and one bronze. I am so proud of him and the team. We won so many titles and medals I am so proud of the high level of achievement.”
Sankovich continued his dominance in the pool on Saturday capturing another gold medal, this time in the 200 yard backstroke. That gold went along with the others he won in 100 backstroke, 200 individual medley and as part of FSU’s 200 medley relay. The two-time Olympian left Greensboro with two ACC records and another meet record. He is the third Seminole to take home most valuable swimmer honors since 2007. Teammate Josh Friedel was not far off from joining Sankovich on the podium in the 200 backstroke with a fifth place finish and NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:43.38.
“Pavel swam great all week but was getting tired, he held on and did enough to pull out his third individual gold medal,” said Harper. “Pavel has adjusted well to life in Tallahassee and FSU’s campus and the FSU Swim Team. He loves his teammates who have upped his level of competition in training.”
Sankovich wasn’t the only Seminole to enjoy a strong final day in the pool. Paul Murray also captured gold in the men’s 100 yard freestyle. His time of 42.94 wasn’t only good enough to take home first but it was also an NCAA provisional qualifying time in the event. Mark Weber finished ninth with a time of 43.52 and Trice Bailey finished tenth at 43.72. Both times were also NCAA provisional qualifying times. Weber’s time was a new personal best for the senior.
“Paul Murray’s win was a gutsy swim and followed his teammates 1-2 finish in the consol final (Weber and Bailey),” said Harper.
John Jessell started the day off claiming a silver medal in the 1650 free. Other strong performances were turned in by Conor Knight who joined his teammates in posting NCAA provisional qualifying marks as he finished in ninth place with a 1:44.81 in the 200 yard butterfly, setting a personal best.
“Jon Jessell started it off great with an amazing swim and a silver medal. What a way to finish his ACC career,” said Harper. “The butterfly consolation was won by Connor Knight who improved 5 seconds over his prelim swim and set a personal best.”
In the final event of the meet FSU’s 400 yard freestyle relay set an NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 2:52.74 but couldn’t best NC State for the gold. Murray, Weber, Sankovich and Bailey all ended up on the platform once again picking up silver medals to close out the championships.
“Now we turn our focus to the NCAA Championships in less than a month in Indianapolis,” said Harper. “We could have at least 8 Noles make the trip. I’m so proud of our team’s achievements and their immediate future.”
Men – Team Rankings – Through Event 21
1. Virginia 759.5
2. Virginia Tech 597
3. North Carolina 549
4. Florida State 534
5. NC State 481
6. Georgia Tech 269.5
7. Duke 268
8. Boston College 120
9. Miami 13