Jan. 17, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State swimming and diving teams will conclude their dual meet schedule this weekend as they travel to Columbia, S.C. to face a pair of SEC foes in South Carolina and No.18 Arkansas on Friday at 4 p.m. Less than 24 hours later, the Seminoles will take on NC State and Georgia Tech in Raleigh, N.C. at 11 a.m.
“We knew that this weekend was going to test our team,” head coach Neil Harper said. “Going on the road isn’t easy along with being tired and training hard. We’re facing two SEC schools and both have had success on the NCAA level. Then we have to switch gears and take on two teams that would like nothing more than to beat us. It’s going to be a challenge all weekend.”
After a solid month of training for both squads, the 13th ranked men’s team (5-2, 1-1 ACC) will face South Carolina on Friday, before taking on NC State and No. 25 Georgia Tech on Saturday. Last season, the Seminoles defeated South Carolina 199-101 in a tri-meet with Alabama. Later in the year, FSU split with the Wolfpack and Yellow Jackets, losing to NC State 176-122 before claiming victory against Georgia Tech at 162.5-137.5.
“South Carolina swims very well at home,” Harper said. “They’re a good SEC team and it will be a good test for our guys.”
The Gamecocks made their debut in the polls this year at No. 12 before gradually slipping out of the ranks on Dec. 4, 2012. The Wolfpack started off the season ranked, but have also dropped out of the rankings. The Jackets’ current ranking is their debut in the polls this year.
The 21st ranked women have a perfect record at steak (10-0, 3-0 ACC) heading into this weekend. They’ll be put to the test on Friday against the 18th ranked Razorbacks in addition to the Gamecocks. Arkansas jumped seven spots in the polls after it defeated No. 14 Penn State last weekend.
“Arkansas is as hot as any team in the country,” Harper said. “They swam so fast last weekend against Penn State and they’re going to be well-prepared in order to get a few more wins on Friday. We’re just going to have to step up and do the best we can.”
Last season, the women swept both Georgia Tech (185-106) and NC State (160-135) in Atlanta, Ga.
“Top to bottom we’re looking for contributions from everyone,” Harper said. “Especially our seniors – they’ve been through this before. They know the fatigue and the toughness of these trips and we’re expecting them to lead us. But, it’s going to come down to how bad our kids want it. These weekends make you a better team.”
The Seminoles haven’t competed since the Georgia Tech Invite back on Nov. 30- Dec. 2, when FSU broke eight records (seven school and 1 ACC). Florida State will have to defend two of the fastest swims in the country this season this year. With the a of junior Paul Murray along with seniors Trice Bailey, David Sanders and Mark Weber, the men’s 200 free relay posted a 1:16.76 en route to breaking the ACC record. Murray led off the relay with a 19.35. Both times are the fastest in the NCAA this year.
For more information on the weekend, check back to Seminoles.com, Twitter (FSU_swimming) and Facebook.