TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – With the first chapter of the 2018-19 season in the books, the No. 19 men’s Florida State swimming and diving team will shift its focus to its midseason meet this week – the Georgia Tech Invite starting on Thursday (Nov.15-17) at the McAuley Aquatic Center.
Prelims will begin at 10 a.m. with the top 30 swimmers and top 10 divers advancing to finals each day.
Men’s Teams Competing: (Rankings as of Nov.14)
No. 3 Florida
No. 12 Alabama
No. 16 Virginia Tech
No. 19 Florida State
No. 20 Georgia Tech
Despite a 2-4, 1-1 ACC record in the first half of the season, the Seminoles have shown improvement and are led by its star-studded senior class. The Seminoles are strong in sprints and on relays, especially the 200 free and 400 free relays.
In fact, because the Seminoles are loaded in the sprints, fly, diving and in relays, SwimSwam ranked them No.20 in their latest power rankings.
The Seminoles were also victorious as a team as a team last season at this meet for the first time since 2012, taking down ranked teams including Alabama and South Carolina.
Seniors Kanoa Kaleoaloha and Will Pisani represented the ACC at the ACC/Big 10 Challenge in West Lafayette, Indiana where they posted season best swims, ranking among some of the best in the country.
Kaleoaloha has been exceptional in his final year in the Garnet and Gold, staying under 20 seconds consistently in the 50 free while also leading the Noles in the 100 fly. His 46.35 is currently the third fastest swim in the nation and his mark of 19.94 ranks 11th.
Pisani has followed Kaleoaloha in both the 50 free and 100 fly, but leads the team in the 100 free after turning in a 43.43 as the lead off swimmer at the ACC/Big 10 Challenge in the 400 free relay. His time is the seventh fastest in the country.
Both swimmers will aim to solidify their spots and achieve times fast enough to earn their second-career individual NCAA bids.
Together, both Noles will lead the relays, looking to qualify for the NCAA Championships as well.
Another key senior is Emir Muratovic, who is among the fastest sprint freestylers on the team and also holds the fastest mark in the 100 back (49.39). He will get his first shot individually at the 50 free this season, while looking to improve on his 100 and 200 free as well as the 100 back times.
Florida State hangs its hat on strong relays. This season, the Seminoles have competed in three of the five relays this season, ranking within the top 10 nationally in two of them.
FSU is strongest in the free relays, finishing seventh in the 200 free relay and ninth in the 400 free relay at the 2018 NCAA Championships after taking ACC silver in both and are aiming to improve on the success form last season.
Kaleoaloha, Pisani and Muratovic have all returned from competing on those relays and freshmen Max McCusker and Cooper DeRyk have replaced Joe Plechy and Chad Mylin.
The Seminoles will look to officially qualify those relays to NCAAs this week. Below are the automatic and provisional times.
In the first semester, the rookie standout has been Izaak Bastian, who has contributed a couple of key wins in the breaststroke events. His 100 breast of 55.28 (31st), and 200 breast of 2:02.24 (41st) places him within the top 50 nationally in both events.
Bastian has also stepped into the breast leg of the top medley relay, where the Seminoles rank 18th nationally. As a member of the Bahamas National Team, Bastian competed at the 2018 Youth Olympics, where he swam in the semifinals of the 50m breast.
McCusker has added valuable depth to the freestyle events and currently has the top time in the 200 free (1:40.39) on the team. He has also shown his versatility by recording some of the fastest times in the 200 fly (1:51.85) and 100 fly (48.88) on the team.
Another rookie expected to make big improvements at their first SCY meet in a tech suit is Kuba Ksiazek (50 free, 20.80; 100 free, 45.59; 200 free, 1:41.84), as he is among those that add valuable depth to the sprint events.
In addition to Kaleoaloha and Pisani, junior Max Polianksi is looking to get closer to NCAA times in order to qualify for his second-career NCAA Championships.
Muratovic has the NCAA experience on relays, but has never competed individually at the meet. In his final season in the Garnet and Gold, Muratovic could make a push to qualify in any of his three top individual events (50 free, 100 free, 100 back).
Junior Griffin Alaniz has been close to qualifying in each of his previous two seasons in the 200 back. This season he’s recorded times within the top 50 nationally in the event at 1:46.98 (36th). Alaniz is one of the more versatile swimmers on the team holding top times in the 100 free (45.53), 200 free (1:40.77) and 100 back (49.77).
Polianski earned a bid to the 2018 NCAA meet after posting a 1:42.44 in the 200 fly at the beginning of the ACC Championships. He holds the fastest time of the team in the race (1:49.81) this season and also specializes in the 100 fly (49.67) 200 IM (1:52.92) and 400 IM (4:11.20).
We know the Seminoles are filled with depth in the sprints with seven swimmers under 21 in the 50 free and eighth under 46 in the 100 free, which bodes well both individually and on relays.
One of those swimmers is captain John Vann, who has posted times of 20.82 in the 50 free and 45.62 in the 100 in his first semester of his senior season. He has set himself up to challenge his best times this week (50 free 20.32, 100 free 44.93).
Juniors Rudo Loock and Vladimir Stefanik have also been useful in the 100 and 200 free depth, as both are a part of the team that set a new school record in the 800 free relay last season at 6:22.78. Loock also holds the top time on the team in the 200 IM this year (1:52.51), while Stefanik also contributes in the 100 fly (49.51).
Aside from the sprints, sophomore Julio Horrego has been the second fastest breaststroker on the team this season, turning in times of 56.30 in the 100 and 2:05.68 in the 200. He’s also be solid in both the 200 IM (1:56.62) and 400 IM (4:06.48), which are also the second fastest among the Noles.
Juniors Aidan Faminoff and Cam Thatcher along with sophomore Joshua Davidson all carry NCAA experience into the 2018-19 season and will look to continue to shine this week.
Davidson and Faminoff competed in one of the toughest fields at the ACC/Big 10 Challenge as Davidson placed 11th on 3-meter with a score of 330.00 and Faminoff was ninth on platform at 317.95.
Davidson has been excellent on 1-meter this season, posting a season high against UF at 360.00 and Faminoff has shown improvement on both springboards, consistently scoring about 300 points on each event. The Victoria, B.C. native was awarded his first career ACC Diver of the Week honor and has produced three finishes within the top three this season behind either of his two teammates.
Thatcher has also been solid this season, producing a season high of 361.72 on 3-meter for the win against UF.
Live Results: http://data.ramblinwreck.com/livestats/c-swim/
Thursday, Nov. 15
Friday, Nov. 16
Saturday, Nov. 17