Feb. 27, 2002
COLLEGE PARK, Md. –
The Florida State men’s swimming and diving team wrapped up practice Wednesday afternoon at Maryland University, host of the 2002 Atlantic Coast Conference Swimming and Diving Championship, ready to have its most successful meet since placing second in 1999. Coming in the conference championship, the Seminoles own six top marks in the ACC and eight other times that rank in the top three in the conference.
Junior Devin Crock is the only returning ACC champion from the 2001 season in which the Seminoles placed fourth at the conference meet. Crock looks to repeat as the 100-yard butterfly champion and will also seek an ACC title in the 100-yard backstroke. During the regular season, Crock swam the second-fastest 100-fly time at 48.75.
Sophomore Tal Stricker will look to dominate the breaststroke events for the Seminoles this week. Stricker broke the 200-yard breast school record earlier this season with a time of 1:59.68, that ranks as the top ACC time this season, as well. Stricker also holds the second-best 100-breast time at 55.56.
Battling Stricker for the top spot in the 100-breast will be fellow sophomore Wickus Nienaber who own the top time in the ACC at 54.86. Junior Justin Betts will also factor in the 100-breast as he has the third-best time at 55.65. Betts is also the Seminoles’ best chance for a medal in the individual medley events as he enters the 200-yard I.M. with the third-best time of 1:49.91.
Seminole diver Louie Gagnet will look to continue FSU’s dominance in diving by sweeping titles on the one and three-meter. The freshman standout broke the school’s three-meter record that was held by former Olympian Phil Boggs with an ACC-best mark of 363.85. Gagnet also holds the ACC’s top score on the one-meter at 334.35.
The foursome of juniors Nnamnse Ammon, Matt Carmen and Joey Marshburn and sophomore Michael Paulus plan on dominating the freestyle sprints, with all four battling for placement in the 50-yard free championship. Ammons leads the talented crew of sprinters with the second-fastest ACC times in the 50 (20.25) and 100-free (45.11).
The Seminoles’ domination in the relay events will have a big impact on their placing at the meet. FSU’s 200-yard freestyle relay team of Ammons, Paulus, Carmen and Nienaber enter the meet with the best ACC time at 1:30.46. Marshburn will likely replace Nienaber on the 200-free relay team. The 400-free relay squad of Carmen, Ammons, freshman Michael Averett and Marshburn had the second-best ACC time of 3:00.63.
The 200-yard medley relay team of Crock, Betts, Averett and Ammons go into the ACC meet with the top time of 1:30.46. The 400-medley relay squad of senior Steve Forson, Nienaber, Crock and Ammons swam the second-fastest ACC time at 3:19.99.
The schedule of events for Thursday begins with preliminary heats at 11 a.m. for the 500 free, 200-IM, 50 free and one-meter dive. The finals will start at 7 p.m. and will include the championship finals for the 200-free and 400-medley relays.