GREENSBORO, N.C. – The No. 14 Florida State men’s swimming and diving team was powered by its sprinters on Thursday night at the ACC Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center, winning its second straight 200 free relay title after freshman Peter Varjasi won bronze in the 50 free.
The team of Varjasi, senior Griffin Alaniz along with sophomores Jakub Ksiazek and Max McCusker brought home FSU’s second straight ACC title in the 200 free relay, touching at 1:16.69.
The Seminoles were neck-and-neck with Louisville heading into the final leg where McCusker used his underwater kicks off the turn to propel him into the lead. The Glastonbury, UK, native surged to the finish with a split of 18.93, giving the Noles the gold, lowering their NCAA qualifying time.
“I knew from the individual that my wall was the strongest part of my race,” McCusker said. “So I threw a couple more kicks in and just held on.”
“We had some good 50’s,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said. “But we sat down and watched them all with the guys on the relay and found a few things to tweak. The guys went out and executed the plan perfectly, especially Max on the end where he extended his underwater kicks, which I think made all the difference in the end.”
Since 1992, Florida State has 12 200 free relay ACC titles, successfully defending its crown seven times. It’s the first back-to-back victory in the event since the Noles claimed two-straight between 2012 and 2013.
“After graduating three from that relay that won last year, it is very special to come back and defended that title. Very special indeed!” Studd added.
Ksiazek was the lone returner from the 2019 historic sprint relays, earning his second 200 free relay gold and fifth career ACC medal.
Varjasi competed in his first individual ACC Championship final after qualifying tied for sixth at 19.52 in prelims.
In finals, Varjasi gained ground off the wall and charged to the finish, to move up and place third at 19.35. The German now owns the seventh fastest time in school history and is the third FSU medalist in the race since 2017.
Florida State had six total swimmers qualify for finals of the 50 free, which was the most at the meet.
In the consolation heat, the Seminoles finished 12th, 13th, and 14th, led by Alaniz (19.61), followed by Ksiazek (19.62) and freshman Ian Cooper (19.69).
Alaniz swam his personal best in prelims at 19.57 and Cooper continued to show improvement by clocking his best time at night after posting a 19.71 in prelims.
Senior Vladimir Stefanik lowered his best time in the C final, touching in 19th at 19.73 ahead of McCusker in 21st at 19.75.
Seniors Max Polianski and Rudo Loock competed in a tight consolation heat of the 200 IM with Polianski taking 12th at 1:45.82 after posting a 1:45.57 in prelims.
Loock qualified for finals in 15th at 1:46.38, which was a personal best and he moved up to take 13th at 1:46.08 in finals. The performance for Loock moves him up to sixth on the FSU all-time top 10 list.
Freshman Balazs Berecz clocked a 1:46.79, which was his personal best as well, moving him up to eighth all-time. At night, he posted a 1:46.96 for 23rd overall.
Freshman Aziz Ghaffari went to the front of the C final of the 500 free and finished second for 18th overall at 4:18.57.
With 1-meter diving factored into the team scores, the Seminoles are in third place with a total of 383.5 behind No. 5 NC State (464) and No. 15 Virginia (400).
Friday’s prelims will start at 10 a.m. and will feature the 100 fly, 400 IM, 200 free, 100 breast and 100 back.
Finals will start at 6 p.m., which will air on the ACC Network Extra with Dave Armstrong and legendary swimming analyst Rowdy Gaines on the call.
Prelims – 10 a.m.
100 fly, 400 IM, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back
Finals – 6 p.m.
100 fly, 400 IM, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, 400 medley relay
Prelims – 10 a.m.
200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly, 1650 free
Finals – 6 p.m.
1650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly, 400 free relay
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