Nov. 16, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
It wasn’t the way that Florida State University wanted to start Florida week, but the Seminole swimming and diving teams showed that they are gaining on their instate rivals. Florida State won ten events on the evening, but couldn’t come up with the upset as it fell to the Gators.
The third-ranked UF women’s team downed No. 19 Florida State 166-130, while the No. 4 Florida men’s team got the best of the Seminoles 24th-ranked squad 173-123. The FSU women’s falls to 12-3 on the year, while the men suffered just their second loss of the season in dropping to 9-2.
“The atmosphere in the pool was electric and that was even before the band came in and played during the first break. That really showed our kids the level of pride that there is at this school,” Seminole head coach Neil Harper said referring to an appearance by the Marching Chiefs during the first intermission. “We purposely scheduled the meet four days before the football game because we knew it would draw a lot of attention. The crowd was awesome, we had a lot of family, friends and local swim clubs in attendance and I think everyone really enjoyed the evening.”
Even though the rivalry doesn’t need added fuel, right of the gates it appeared that it would be a close meet as both 400 medley relays were decided by 0.48 of a second. Florida State picked up the first victory as the quarter of Emily Breen (Savannah, Ga.), Lauren Brick (Culpeper, Va.), Brittany Stevens (Peachtree City, Ga.) and Carrie Ellis (Valrico, Fla.) came away with a win at 3:48.11. The time was a season-best and a second-fastest time in the ACC this year.
The photo finish went against the Seminole in the next race as Ian Powell (Guernsey, Channel Islands), Billy Jamerson (Savannah, Ga.), Michael Averett (Davie, Fla.) and Joel Roycik (Winter Park, Fla.) lost by 0.09. Their time of 3:20.98 is an FSU season-best and the second-quickest time in the conference. It took an Olympian to win the event for Florida as Roycik was out-touched at the wall by Darian Townsend, a member of the world-record setting and gold-medal winning South African 400 free relay.
Nearly every race featured a season-best for the Seminoles, including Brick’s swim in the 100 breaststroke. The sophomore improved on her league-best time in the event by posting a 1:02.98, which is an NCAA “B” cut time and just 0.50 off her career-best.
Florida State’s first individual victory came from the rookie standout Jamerson. Already second in the league in the 100 breaststroke, he improved his time and put his named down in the history books with his winning time of 55.91. The mark is the ninth-fastest in school history. Jamerson etched his name in the books later on in the evening as his 2:02.74 which also ranks ninth.
“Billy has made an immediate impact on this team and that was evident today as he won the 100 and nearly won the 200, but he ran out of gas at the end,” Harper said. “Billy really gets the team excited and they feed off his energy. We need to work on his technique a little bit and if he can put it together he can have a great first year.”
Also giving the Seminoles plenty of energy was the efforts of the senior Ellis. She picked up the women’s first victory as she hit the wall with a winning time of 23.73 in the 50 freestyle. She became the only double winner in the individual events when she took the 100 free with another season-best time of 51.31. Ellis also anchored the winning 400 medley relay and was apart of the top 400 free relay.
“She had two great swims in back-to-back races that kind of got lost in the shuffle of the break, but that really picked us up,” Harper noted. “For her to come in here after two years off and perform the way she has is huge and it has given us a big lift.”
The women closed the gap with two strong performances on the boards as senior Courtney McClow (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Brittany Lerew (Orlando, Fla.) traded victories in the one and three-meter diving. The senior captain McClow got the first victory as she beat Lerew by 0.60 to win the one-meter. Lerew answered with her own blue ribbon, beating the upperclassman by 11 points with a winning tally of 291.15.
“Courtney and Brittany winning both boards was very big for us, they gave us some much needed points,” Harper added. “It was total team effort tonight. Florida is perennial top-five, top-ten team and for us to win nine-ten events proves to our kids that we can compete with the best. We want to aspire to that level and slowly, but surely, we’re clawing our way there.”
The men closed the meet by winning the last three events. Averett scored a victory in the 100 butterfly with a season-best 49.50 that ranks him third in the ACC. Freshman Danny Keeling (Westminster, Colo.) won the 200 IM with a mark of 1:55.01. Averett, Alex Kennon (Winter Park, Fla.), Ed Denton (Maidenhead, England) and Roycik upped their ACC-best mark in the 400 free relay with a time of 3:04.39.
Florida State’s women’s team also ended the meet by winning the 400 freestyle relay. Ellis won her fourth event of the meet as she teamed up with Breen, Leah Woodard (San Antonio, Texas) and Katie Metka (Largo, Fla.) to post the second-fastest time in the league this year with their winning 3:25.91.
The Florida meet ends the Seminoles’ dual meet schedule for the fall season. All that remains for Florida State in 2004 is the Georgia Fall Invitational, December 3-5. The Seminoles resume their dual meet ledger when they meet up with Penn State in the Florida Keys after the first of the year.