October 9, 2003 - by
Beginning of the End is Here as Senior FSU Swimmers Start Last Hurrah

Oct. 9, 2003

“This is the end, Beautiful friend. This is the end, My only friend, the end.”

Legendary rocker Jim Morrison sang those words and no one understand then better than the seniors on this year’s Florida State swimming and diving team. For 13 Seminoles the beginning of the final chapter in their FSU careers begins on Friday (October 10) when the Seminoles play host to Miami and Florida A&M at 3 p.m.

When the class of 2004 started its Florida State career in the fall of 2000, there were 17 freshman on the squad. Of those rookies, only six (35 percent) have made it to their senior season: Loren Hansen (Pensacola, Fla., Amy Lo (Longwood, Fla.), Michael Paulus (Somerset, South Africa), Tonya Rasor (Niceville, Fla.), Jennifer Smith (Pensacola, Fla.) and Matt Wheeler (Houston, Texas).

Three more-Emma Dutton (Bradford, England), Wickus Nienaber (Simugye, Swaziland) and Tal Stricker (Ramat-Gan, Israel)-joined the team during the spring semester of 2000-01. A trio of former Washington State swimmers, Rachel Dong (Paramount, Calif.), Katie Brynes (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Andree-Anne LeRoy (Nanaimo, British Columbia) came aboard last season. Justin Lawrance (Sloane Park, South Africa) joined the team this year after Toledo dropped its men’s program.

“It seems so close to the end, yet we’ve got a long way to go in the season,” Stricker said. “It has really flown by, especially for me because I didn’t get here until January of my freshman year so that was really only like a half season.”

While some look forward to their senior year, the prospects of life after swimming doesn’t sound that great to Dutton just yet. “After this we have to go into the big wide world and right now I’m not sure what I want to do with myself. It’s obviously a bit of a scary thought.”

One of the original 17, the idea that her swimming career is starting to wind down brings a mix of emotions for Rasor.

“Every time I do something this season it’s the fourth time that I’m doing it so it’s nothing new, but when I look back I think ‘Wow, this is the last one,'” Rasor said. “I makes me think that I need to savor everything and try to implant it in my memory. We remind each other every now and then that it’s the last one of this or the last one of that. We joke about it as if we enjoy that it’s the last time, but really we’re thinking that it went by to fast and we can’t believe it’s happening.”

Serving as men’s captain this year, Wheeler is trying to do his part to make sure that he has a successful final season and that the program continues it’s success.

“Right now I’m trying to do my best to be a leader on the team, trying to make sure that everyone is doing the right thing,” Wheeler added. “I hope that by doing that it will put me into the position I need to be in to be successful come the end of the season. In one way it has really dragged on, but in another it really has gone by so fast. I look back on it and feel like I just got here as a freshman.”

“This is the end…it hurts to set you free…the end of laughter and soft lies…this is the end”

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