GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Florida State divers secured their spots in FSU history on Thursday night at the ACC Swimming and Diving Championships after bringing home two golds and a silver medal at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
Seniors Molly Carlson and Ayla Bonniwell closed out their springboard careers with a storybook ending, finishing with gold and silver in the women’s 3-meter final. Junior Joshua Davidson brought home Florida State’s first diving win in a decade by taking gold on 1-meter with a total of 382.95.
“It was a pretty darn good day for the Noles today I got to say,” FSU head diving coach John Proctor said. “It’s tough to win a prelim and come back and repeat that performance in the final. It’s probably harder to do it 1-2. Josh, Molly and Ayla were absolutely brilliant today.”
Carlson and Bonniwell etched their names in the FSU record books as the eighth one-two diving finish at ACCs and first since 2004 when the Noles swept both springboards. This was the second appearance on the ACC podium in their careers together, having won gold (Bonniwell) and bronze (Carlson) on 1-meter as freshmen in 2017.
“I couldn’t be happier for Ayla,” Proctor added. “What a way to for her to finish her ACC career. I am super proud of all of them.”
After securing silver on 1-meter last night, Carlson came out on fire and qualified first with a total of 337.95 and Bonniwell followed with a total 337.05, 22.95 points ahead of the third place qualifier.
In finals, the duo established themselves in the top two spots after the third round, with Bonniwell leading (170.65) Carlson (158.70). Bonniwell slipped to third in the fourth round and Carlson took over the lead after scoring 63.00 points on her back 2 ½ tuck and increased her lead in the final three rounds to take the second ACC gold of her career with a total of 340.00.
“Coming in first and second with my best friend representing the best team has to be the ideal way to end our senior year,” Carlson said. “We would like to thank the entire Seminole family for all of the love and support!”
Bonniwell moved right back into silver medal position after receiving marks of 6.5-7.0 on her reverse 1 ½ somersault with 2 ½ twist in the fifth round. Her final dive – a back 1 ½ somersault with 2 ½ twists tallied 50.40, giving her the silver just ahead of Virginia’s Sydney Dusel (319.25) with a total of 321.05.
“We’ve been a family since the start,” Bonniwell said. “We win together, we lose together and today, we won!”
As the top seed out of prelims (351.80), Davidson traded between first and second place throughout the final round, despite scoring above 60 points on each of his first four dives.
Heading into the fifth round, Davidson built a 10-point lead, but after scoring 54 points on his front 3 1/2 somersault, Georgia Tech’s Reuben Lechuga Gonzalez claimed the lead by less than a point thanks to a third, fourth and fifth round push.
However, Gonzalez missed his final dive, leaving the door open for Davidson.
Saving his best dive for last, the Tomball, Texas native received scores between 8.0-9.0 for a total of 79.05 and the win.
“Today felt great,” Davidson said. “I just want to thank John for sticking with me this season and being a great coach.”
Davidson’s gold was the first diving win for Florida State since Terry Horner won 3-meter in 2010 and first 1-meter victory since Horner’s 2008 win.
Sophomore Kertu Alnek finished in 12th place in the 50 free with a time of 22.55, which was just off her career best of 22.53.
Junior Ana Zortea turned in a personal best time in the 50 free at 22.59 which ties for the ninth fastest time in FSU history. Zortea finished in fourth in the bonus final and 20th overall, ahead of her classmate Rebecca Moynihan in 24th at 22.88 after she swam her best in prelims at 22.75.
Sophomore Hannah Womer was just off her best time (1:59.78) in the 200 IM prelim, posting a 1:59.94 for 19th place and a spot in the C final. At night, she finished in 23rd, touching at 2:00.46.
The Seminoles ended the session by taking sixth place in the 200 free relay behind Zortea, Alnek, Moynihan and junior Emma Terebo with an NCAA B standard of 1:29.08.
“Today was a good day,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said. “We are excited to get into what I think are the best two days of the meet for us. Diving was on fire today and we had some great speed in the 50 free. It was good to get a consideration time in the 200 free relay.”
With two days of competition remaining, the Seminoles are in sixth place with a score of 253.5.
Friday’s prelims will start at 10 a.m. and will feature the 100 fly, 400 IM, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back and men’s platform. The top 24 swimmers will advance to finals starting at 6 p.m. on the ACC Network Extra.
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