Feb. 26, 2004
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. –
Whenever the Florida State University men’s swimming and diving team has needed to score points, it has always turned to its sprinters. During the second day of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, the Seminoles relied on them once again. FSU placed three swimmers in the top ten of the 50 free to remain in second place after Thursday’s (February 26) finals.
The Seminoles sit comfortable in second with a team total of 204 points, trailing host Virginia’s first-place tally of 314. Georgia Tech holds down the third-place spot at 157.50 with North Carolina nipping at the Yellow Jackets’ heals at 155.50.
“We had a lot to be proud of and on the whole we’re pretty happy with the day,” FSU deck boss Neil Harper said. “We want to keep pace with Virginia, they’re the dominate team, but every team has a couple of swimmers that can win an event. When the Georgia Techs, North Carolinas and NC States make their move, we have to answer and our depth has to come through and score in some other events.”
Playing to their strength, the Seminoles posted three of the top ten times in the 50 freestyle. Leading the charge was sophomore Joel Roycik (Winter Park, Fla.) with his fourth-place 20.35. Two spots back was senior Michael Paulus (Somerset West, South Africa) at 20.47, while Michael Averett (Davie, Fla.) won the consolation final to place ninth with a career-best 20.42.
“We’ve relied on them every dual meet and it was good to see them get some rest to see how fast they can go,” Harper added. “The 50 is one of those races that you need to get everything right and no one had a perfect race, but they all got better as the day went on.”
All season long the Florida State has been a different squad with the addition of distance swimmers Steve Roof (Canton, Ohio) and Thomas Bishop (Houston, Texas). The rookies proved their merit during the 500 free with a pair of top-16 finishes. Roof produced an NCAA provisional time of 4:26.62-the third fastest time in school history-to win the consolation final and finish ninth. Bishop scored points with his 12th-place finish of 4:29.85 to go along with a 15th-place showing of 4:31.84 by Alan Ribeiro (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).
“Just to have anyone swim for points in the 500 is very big. It’s been a while since we’ve had three guys score points for us,” Harper noted. “Out of the six swims, three were lifetime bests, including two by Steve Roof, so we can’t complain. They gave the rest of the team a boost.”
The third event where the Seminoles scored with more than one swimmer was the 200-yard individual medley. Senior Tal Stricker (Ramat-Gan, Israel) hit the wall in eighth place with his mark of 1:52.30. Posting a career-best time in the consolation final was senior Wickus Nienaber (Manzini, Swaziland) as he finished 11th in a time of 1:51.46.
Giving Florida State a boost at the end of the meet was the 200 freestyle relay as it finished second with an NCAA “B” cut of 1:20.39. The team of Averett, Chris Vythoulkas (Nassau, Bahamas) Paulus, and Roycik hit the wall just behind the winning Virginia squad.
Rounding out the Seminole scoring contingency was sophomore Stuart de la Rosa (Erdenhiem, Pa.) in the one-meter diving competition. He notched a finals tally of 282.55 to place sixth.
The championship continues on Saturday with the stroke events – butterfly, backstroke & breaststroke – as well as the 400 IM and the 200 freestyle. The day concludes with the 400 medley relay.
ACC Men's Swimming & Diving Championships
February 26, 2004
1. Virginia 314
2. Florida State 204
3. Georgia Tech 157.50
4. North Carolina 155.50
5. Clemson 148
6. NC State 142
7. Maryland 114
8. Duke 71
Event 6 - 1 Meter Diving
6) Stuart de la Rosa, 282.55
Event 7 - 200 Freestyle Relay
2) Florida State, 1:20.39 - NCAA "B" Cut
(Averett, Vythoulkas, Paulus, Roycik)