March 1, 2013
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The No. 15-ranked Florida State men’s swimming and diving team sits in fourth place heading into the final day of the 2013 ACC Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
The third day of the meet concluded with record-shattering swim from Pavel Sankovich in the 100 back as he posted an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 45.86 while taking home his third gold medal of the meet.
Sankovich set the ACC meet and conference record, while grabbing his second individual FSU record of the meet. The Belarusian took down Andy Hodgson’s mark of 47.31 set back in 2009 while erasing Tommy Wyher (UNC) marks set in 2010 from the ACC record books.
“With Pavel winning and setting ACC records was just a great way to carry into tomorrow,” head coach Neil Harper said.
In addition, Sankovich swam the second fastest time in the country this season behind Kyle Owens of Auburn (45.60).
Starting off the evening, Sankovich split a 46.01 in the backstroke leg of the 400 medley relay. Junior Alex Rodriguez posted a 53.58 before sophomore Connor Knight swam a 46.92 in the fly. Senior Mark Weber brought it home with a 42.95 in the free, posting a final time of 3:09.46 – the fourth relay to make an NCAA ‘A’ standard time for the ‘Noles this year.
Sankovich, Rodriguez, Knight and Weber jumped on the podium for the bronze medal.
“Another good day at the top,” head coach Neil Harper said. “Getting the relay team to NCAA’s is important and they swam well.”
Sophomore Juan Sequera placed 14th with a time of 3:51.20 in the 400 IM.
Moving on to the 100 fly, Knight finished his first ACC Championship final in fifth place with a time of 47.16 after swimming his career best in the morning at 47.06.
“It was a great race for Connor Knight in the fly,” Harper said. “He’s young and still learning, but it looks like he’ll be going to NCAA’s with us.”
In the ‘B’ final, the Seminoles had four qualify for the heat. Cadell Lyons touched in 12th place with a time of 48.21 before Weber (48.26) in 13th and David Sanders (48.55) in 14th. Senior Danny Nguyen rounded out the FSU field in 15th with a time of 48.66.
Florida State had two swimmers in the ‘A’ final of the 100 breast with Rodriguez taking fourth with a time of 53.82, just ahead of Jared Pike who touched in seventh with a mark of 54.10. Both swam their fastest races of their careers.
“The breaststrokers did well,” said Harper. “Alex Rodriguez improved a second and a half today alone. He has gone from a good dual meet swimmer to fourth place finisher in the ACC, which is phenomenal.”
Richie Hildebrand battled in the ‘B’ final of the race, taking 14th with a time of 55.19.
Adding to Sankovich’s historical swim, sophomore Josh Friedel finished in 12th place in the consolation heat with a time of 48.24. Friedel went a career best in prelims with a 48.01.
Saturday’s lineup in Greensboro includes the 1650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly before closing out the meet with the 400 free relay.
The Seminoles currently sit in fourth place with 353 points, trailing Virginia (528), Virginia Tech (400) and North Carolina (374).
“We’ve set up to do well here,” Harper said. “But we really want to peak at NCAA’s and our top guys are getting that done. We do have some guys swimming their best events tomorrow, so we’re looking forward to it.”
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.