ATLANTA, Ga. – The Florida State swimming and diving teams saw three school records fall on the final night of the Georgia Tech Invitational at the McAuley Aquatic Center.
The 18th-ranked men’s team won the meet with a total of 1569.5 ahead of No. 13 Alabama (1174.5), Georgia Tech (890) and No. 19 South Carolina 846. It was the first team win at the meet since 2012.
“I could not be happier with this weekend,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said. “They were outstanding and got better as the meet went on. We had an incredible team spirit and amazing performances. I could not be me prouder of this group.”
The men’s 400 free relay qualified for the NCAA Championships in school-record setting fashion, with a time of 2:51.27 behind the team of junior Will Pisani, senior Joe Plechy and juniors Kanoa Kaleoaloha and Emir Muratovic as the Noles placed second in a tight race with Alabama.
The squad took down a mark set by Jimmy Holoway, Jarryd Botha, Ed Denton and Andy Hodgson of 2:52.03 in 2009. It was the first school record for the men in any event since 2015.
Setting the first individual school record of the season was freshman Madeline Cohen, who won the 200 back with a time of 1:53.51. She took down the oldest women’s swimming record in the book that was set by Stephanie Sarandos back in 2010 at 1:54.14.
Cohen was the top qualifier out of prelims with a time of 1:56.35, which was four seconds lower than her previous best time. All told, Cohen saw a seven second drop in the race.
Following Cohen was senior Natalie Pierce, who now is the fastest breaststroker in school history as she claimed the 200 breast record with a time of 2:10.31 erasing Christina Loh’s mark of 2:10.55 set last season. Pierce also owns the 100 breast record at 58.25 and has also helped both the 200 and 400 medley relays to FSU records as well.
Senior Tayla Lovemore also has a busy night individually, leading the Noles in both the 100 free and 200 fly. Lovemore first turned in a personal best time in the 100 free, placing sixth at 49.18 before finishing fifth in the 200 fly at 2:00.24.
The Seminoles also had two others post times under the 50-second barrier as freshman Emma Terebo won the B final at 49.12 and senior Alexi Smith clocked 49.57 – which was a new personal best.
All three swims made the FSU all-time list led by Terebo in third, Lovemore in fourth and Smith in ninth.
Also swimming in the top heat of the 200 back was junior Shelly Drozda, who placed eighth with a time of 1:58.75, which ranks eighth all-time. Junior Meg Brown won the B final with a mark of 1:57.98.
Joining Pierce in the top heat of the 200 breast were juniors Natalie Purnell and McKenna Harris. Purnell placed sixth with a time of 2:14.53 ahead of Harris in ninth at 2:17.99
The women’s team finished out the meet with a third place finish in the 400 free relay, behind Terebo, junior Leila Johnston, Lovemore and Smith, touching at 3:17.67.
Senior Blaire Mulka and sophomore Ayla Bonniwell competed in the women’s platform earlier in the day, placing fourth and fifth respectively, with scores of 216.60 and 206.55.
The women’s 1650 free started off the night, as sophomore Manuella Ribas Andrade led the finished sixth with a time of 16:53.21 ahead of junior Daniella Van den Berg in eighth (16:57.77), freshman Kathryn Petrone in 11th (17:05.39) and senior Alex Wittman in 12th at 17:08.24.
In the morning, sophomore diver Aidan Faminoff took to his specialty, placing second on platform with a score of 374.85. His final three dives went for totals above 60 points as his highest dive was a reverse 2 ½ tuck that scored marks of 8.5 or 9.0 for a total of 72 points.
“Aidan was the star today,” FSU head diving coach John Proctor said. “When he’s in shape, he gets his confidence and it’s really fun to watch him perform.”
His classmate Cameron Thatcher followed in fifth at 315.45 and senior Tyler Roberge was sixth, scoring 311.10.
Senior Connor Kalisz put up a second place showing in the 200 back with a time of 1:42.15, while sophomore Griffin Alaniz finished in fourth at 1:44.65.
The Seminoles had six swimmers in the top heat of the 100 free placing third through, led by Muratovic at 43.11, followed by Pisani (43.13), Kaleoaloha and Plechy in fifth (43.60), sophomore Felipe Ribeiro de Souza (43.65) and sophomore Rudo Loock in eighth (44.05).
Pisani would lower his personal best that he set in prelims of 42.99 to 42.79 in the leadoff spot of the 400 free relay. His time is the second fastest in school history, while Muratovic’s 43.11 ranks him fifth all-time.
In the 200 breast, Ryan Telford put forth his career effort, swimming a 1:57.34 ahead of senior Matthew Ankerholz who was sixth with a time of 1:59.10, while freshman Julio Horrego rounded out the field in ninth at 2:01.06.
In the final individual event of the night, the Noles were led by sophomore Max Polianksi in the 200 fly, who placed fourth with a time of 1:45.71 ahead of senior Jonathan Ratliff who was eighth with a personal best mark of 1:48.35. Senior Jacob Urbano was 10th at 1:50.57.
The Noles began the night racing the mile as sophomore Keagan Finley led the team in eighth at 15:35.94 followed by senior Calvin Bryant in ninth at 15:37.74.
The women’s team finished the meet in third place with a total of 958.5 behind No. 13 Auburn (1140.5), No. 11 Alabama (1054). FSU overcame Georgia Tech on the final day, who finished in fourth with a tally of 923.
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