October 13, 2016 - by
Gators Squeeze Past Noles

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.  – With alumni on hand, the Florida State swimming and diving teams fell to Florida in the Sunshine Showdown presented by Fresh from Florida, in tight hard-fought battle at the Morcom Aquatics Center on Thursday, 157-143 (women), 170-130 (men). “We fell short but we really did some awesome things today,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said.

“It was our first time competing, but there was a lot of grit. We got beat in some places where we swam great. This was about us getting better. This was an incredible first step and it was an incredible first meet for me.”

The women’s meet started with FSU winning the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:40.56 behind the team of juniors Ariel Barber, Natalie Pierce, senior Lydia Ware and junior Alexi Smith.

The Gators answered with a one-two punch in the 1000 free, however sophomore Michelle Turek picked up her first win as a Seminole, taking the 200 free with a time of 1:49.61.

Pierce won the 100 breast with a time of 1:02.35, while junior Christina Loh followed in second with a 1:03.07.

After surrendering a one-two finish in the 200 fly, the Seminoles picked up some momentum with a sweep in the 50 free as freshman Nika Blank took home the win with a time of 23.34. Smith followed in second (23.39) and Ware was third (23.44).

Following the break, the Seminoles stayed hot in the sprints, posting another sweep in the 100 free as junior Brenna Ruth swam a 51.24, for her first career dual meet win. Blank was second (51.51) and Turek touched in third (51.59).

Florida answered with a one-two finish in the 200 back.

Loh rallied to win 200 breast with a time of 2:16.93, while Pierce grabbed third with a time of 2:17.84.

The Gators went into the final break with a 10-point lead after sweeping the 500 free and winning the 100 fly. Ware was second with a career best time of 55.48 and sophomore Lelia Johnston was third at 56.11.

In diving, freshman Ayla Bonniwell was victorious in her first collegiate meet, scoring 296.40 on 3-meter, while the Seminoles placed second, third and fourth on 1-meter as junior Blaire Mulka led with a score of 274.35. Redshirt junior Alexia Gonzalez returned to the lineup placing third (271.28) and Bonniewell was fourth (253.50).

Florida State made a push in the 400 free relay, winning with the team of Ruth, Turek, Blank and Ware with a final time of 3:23.44, but the deficit too big overcome after the Gators swept the 200 IM.

“Winning relays is huge,” Studd said. “We won some great races, on both sides which was awesome. We had alumni here cheering us on today and they’re proud of what our teams did.”

The men produced five wins and eight second place showings in the 16 events, including a sweep in the 100 free and 3-meter diving.

Senior Jason McCormick won the 100 free with a time of 44.37, just ahead of sophomore Emir Muratovic in second (45.33) and sophomore Kanoa Kaleoaloha was third.

Junior Chad Mylin picked up the first win of the day for the Seminoles in the 50 free, touching with a time of 19.94 while McCormick followed in second at 20.13.

In diving, junior Tyler Roberge dominated both 1-meter and 3-meter, winning 1-meter with a score of 344.18, almost 40 points ahead of second place. Roberge led the 3-meter sweep with a score of 383.40, freshman Aiden Faminoff was second at 326.78 and senior Dylan Grisell placed third at 311.55.

“Somedays you’re a windshield and some days you’re a bug, today Tyler was absolutely the windshield,” FSU head diving coach John Proctor said. “He tweaked a few things over the summer and man it really showed out there. It’s early in our season but I thought our kids did well and competed hard.”

Junior Connor Kalisz won the 200 back leading from start to finish, touching with a time of 1:47.57.

Florida State will travel to Fort Myers, Fla. to face Florida Gulf Coast (women only) and Florida Southern on Nov. 4-5.

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