April 9, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Under first-year head coach Frank Bradley, the women’s Florida State Swimming and Diving teams took a step in the right direction after a successful 2013-14 season. The Seminoles placed third at the ACC Championships, qualified nine athletes for the NCAA Championships after posting a record of 7-2 in the dual meet season.
“I thought we had a great season,” Bradley said. “I think we took the necessary steps in order to steer our program in the right direction. I think we had a solid first year and we are already turning the page to next year.”
The NCAA Championships
The 11 women first competed in the NCAA Championships at the University of Minnesota from March 20-22. Seniors Julia Henkel, McKayla Lightbourn, Ariel Rittenhouse, Tiffany Oliver, juniors Kaitlyn Dressel, Katrina Young, sophomores Madison Jacobi, Sami Pochowski and freshman Chelsea Britt all earned invitations to compete at the meet, which was the most selections in school history. Sophomores Bianca Spinazzola and Josie Cuda were designated at uninvited relay alternates.
The meet was highlighted by a five All-America honorable mention swims, led mostly by upperclassmen.
After swimming her best time at the Bulldog Last Chance Meet in the 400 IM in order to qualify for the meet, Henkel put together another spectacular swim, lowering her FSU record to 4:09.64. Henkel earned a second swim and placed 16th. Lightbourn followed suit, swimming her career best of 52.39 in the 100 back in order to earn a second swim, placing 16th.
Henkel and Lightbourn also contributed to an 14th place finish in the 400 free relay, while Spinazzola, Pochowski, Chelsea Britt and Kaitlyn Dressel placed 14th in the 400 medley relay, swimming a new school record in prelims of 3:34.02.
Jacobi also had a career swim in the 1650 free. Following a disappointing 500 free, Jacobi recharged and swam just under her best time in the mile, placing ninth in FSU record timing of 16:01.09.
With the five scoring events, the Seminoles placed 30th as a team.
“We were able to qualify a lot for the women’s meet but once we got there, we only had a few shining spots. But I think those ladies that we there took a lot from the experience, learned a lot and are ready to get back there for next year.”
The ACC Championships
The Seminoles put together a great meet, finishing in third place overall. The meet was highlighted by 21 championship final performances and 16 school record breaking performances.
Oliver became the first Seminole in history to defend the sprinting titles (50 and 100 free), setting a new FSU standard in the 50 of 22.02.
Katrina Young also had herself a record-setting performance on platform, winning gold and setting new FSU and ACC meet records with a tally of 364.70 – an outing where the Shoreline, Wash. native average just over 72 points per dive.
In the distance races, Jacobi earned a spot of the podium for the first time in her career, placing third in both the 500 and 1650 free events. Her 500 free time smashed her career best mark, setting a new FSU record of 4:37.77.
Britt also had a breakthrough rookie ACC meet, setting new FSU records in the 100 (52.25) and 200 (1:55.51) fly events, grabbing silver and bronze respectively.
In relays, the Seminoles originally set new school records in each of the five relay disciplines. FSU grabbed silver in the 200 free relay and bronze in the 400 and 800 free events.
In diving, Young added a bronze in 1-meter, while Ariel Rittenhouse and Kelsey Goodman also competed in events finals. Rittenhouse was fifth on 1-meter and sixth on 3-meter, while Goodman was eighth on 3-meter.
The Seminoles finished the season with an overall record of 7-2, picking up wins over West Florida, Tulane, NC State, Florida Gulf Coast, Georgia Tech, Florida Atlantic and Miami. FSU suffered its only two losses to a pair of SEC teams – Florida and Alabama.
“We did a pretty good job of competing throughout the season,” Bradley said. “I think we got better as the season went on. Towards the end of the year, the ladies understood more of what was expected of them and I think they will take those lessons they’ve learned into next season.”
During the season, the Seminoles collected seven ACC Athlete of the Week honor between three ladies. Goodman had the most with three (Oct.22, Oct. 29, Jan.7), including one following her school-record breaking performance on 3-meter against Florida Gulf Coast.
The Seminoles also attended a pair of invitational during the season. Starting off with the traditional, All-Florida Invite, the Seminoles placed second behind Florida. In November, FSU switched up their mid-season invite regime and attended the Auburn Invite where all four teams competing – Georgia (No. 2), Auburn (No. 15), FSU (No. 22) and Alabama (No. 18) were recognized in the top 25.
FSU finished third behind Georgia and Auburn and Jacobi originally set new school records in both the 500 and 1650 free races.
– 17 new school records out of a possible 22.
– 7-2 Meet Record
– Three ACC Gold Medals
– Five All-America Honorable Mentions
– 30th Place finish at NCAAs
– 24 FSU Top 10 Times performed
– Seven invited Swimmers to NCAA, Two qualified divers, Two relay alternates – 11 total – School Record
– Third place team finish at ACCs
– Four athletes earn All-ACC honors (Jacobi, Young, Oliver, Britt)
– Between the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, the Seminoles spent 10-straight weeks in the top 25. FSU started this season listed at No. 24 and peaked at No. 20 before dropping out of the top 25 before the post season.
– Six were named to the All-ACC Academic Team
– The 100 back school record was broken five times this year