GREENSBORO, N.C. – The 2016 ACC Swimming and Diving Championships came to a close at the Greensboro Aquatic Center on Saturday night as three members of the Florida State swimming and diving teams placed in the top eight of their individual events.
“I think our divers battled hard through the up’s and down’s of the meet and really did a nice job,” FSU head coach Frank Bradley said. “We had some swimmers step up throughout the week and we had some great swims, but I think our divers did awesome.”
Florida State put two divers into the championship finals of the platform as freshman Cassidy Gebhart finished fifth in the women’s event with a score of 254.85 after qualifying for her first A final in fourth (263.10).
“Cassidy had a solid day on tower,” FSU head diving coach John Proctor said. “This was her event and she had a solid day and I’m happy she earned a spot in finals.”
For the men, junior Dylan Grisell battled back after sitting out of 1-meter on Thursday following his eighth place showing on 3-meter.
The Toronto, Ont. native tallied a score of 369.90 in prelims, but finished with a score of 323.50 for eighth.
“You know Dylan didn’t look good after 3-meter,” Proctor said. “But he wanted to compete today and I mean, he just didn’t want to go through the motions with a watered down list. He got up there, even though he wasn’t at full strength and did his regular list and really put together some awesome dives.”
The Seminoles had nine opportunities in the final session to score points, including freshman Summer Finke in the top heat of the 1650 free.
Finke paced herself under the 30-second barrier for the majority of the race, placing fourth in the heat with a career best time of 16:17.59. The rookie finished sixth overall, holding her place in fourth on the FSU all-time top 10 list.
“Summer’s mile was awesome,” Bradley said. “She paced herself well and she has a shot to qualify for NCAA’s in that event.”
In addition to Finke, junior Katy Stringfield competed in the first heat of the 1650 free, scoring 22nd points with a time of 16:59.11.
Following Finke’s effort, freshman Meg Brown split a 29.81 on the final 50 yards of her 200 back in order to win the C final of the race with a personal best time of 1:56.65. She also remains in fourth on the all-time list with that performance.
Senior Sami Pochowski placed 19th in the 100 free behind a time of 49.77 after posting a 49.68 in the morning prelims for 17th.
Junior Caroline Neil captured her third personal best time of the meet, by swimming a time of 2:14.40 in the B final of the 200 breast for 14th place.
“What a meet she had,” Bradley said. “This week was a game-changer for her and hopefully she looks at it and heads into her senior year on a mission.”
Also swimming in the C final was sophomore, Natalie Pierce who clocked a 2:18.80 for 24th place.
In her second final of the evening, Brown won the B final of the 200 fly in similar fashion to her 200 back, as she out split the leader by over a second in order to take ninth at 1:57.45. It was the third fastest swim in FSU history as well as a personal best.
“Meg Brown is a swimmer you want on your team,” Bradley said. “She pulled off a tough double today and in both races tonight, she had a great last 50 in order to win her heat. She had to overcome a lot this season and watching her race is so much fun. She fights for it until the end.”
In addition to Gebhart and Grisell, senior Kalonji Cole posted scores about 50 points on three of his six dives in prelims, including a 66.00 to start the round. Following his fifth dive from 5-meter where he scored 65.10, the Tallahassee native posted a score of 46.80 after scoring 6.5 and 7.0 on his final dive for a total of 314.20.
“Kalonji was so close to that final again,” Proctor said. “After his fifth dive, he knew that he didn’t have a shot to make the final with his last dive. So he just wanted to go for it and changed the dive to one that was a little tougher. He didn’t warm it up or even compete it in nearly two years, but he went for it and I’m so proud of him. He was awesome this week.”
Sophomore Tyler Roberge battled through a few tough dives, scoring a total of 313.40, following Cole in 12th. His classmate, Blaire Mulka produced a 16th place finish with a score of 224.85.
“This was one of the best meets Blaire had, ever,” Proctor said. “She improved, scored points in two events and had a blast. I was very proud of her today.”
The Seminoles finished the night behind a ninth place finish in the 400 free relay with the team of Pochowski, junior Lydia Ware, sophomore Brenna Ruth and senior Josie Cuda with a time of 3:20.44.
“Looking back on this meet I thought we performed well in spots,” Bradley said. “We have a young group and I think they’ll take a lot from this meet and build on it for the next seasons to come.”
Florida State held off Pittsburgh to finish in ninth place at the meet with a total of 444.5. The Seminoles will have 134 points from diving heading into the men’s swimming portion of the meet, which will run from Feb. 24-27. It was the third highest total behind Virginia Tech (247) and Georgia Tech (149).
The Seminoles will remain in Greensboro for a time trial session on Sunday, which will be in long course meters.
“The meet is over but we can still do so great things tomorrow,” Bradley said. “The goal is to get as many Olympic Trial cuts as possible. We need to rest up and get ready for tomorrow.”
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