Athens-Ga. – The 2016 Georgia Fall Invite came to a close on Sunday night at the Gabrielsen Natatorium, but not before the Florida State swimming and diving teams could write a little more history.
“We’re just very happy with a great weekend of racing,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better first semester out of this team. I appreciate their effort and commitment to everything we’ve thrown at them. This weekend was a huge step forward.”
After junior Natalie Pierce set a new school record in the 100 breast on Saturday night, her classmate Christina Loh etched her name on the FSU record books by taking down the oldest swimming mark. Loh first swam a time of 2:12.16 in prelims to erase Emma Dutton’s 2:12.76 that was set in 2004.
However at final, Loh had her work cut out for her as she stood behind the blocks at finals and watched Pierce lower the mark to 2:11.20 after winning the B final.
Swimming in the top heat, she came back even faster touching with a time of 2:10.55, claiming back the record.
“Breaking the 200 breast school record three times today was fun between those two,” Studd added.
Sophomore Meg Brown swam in a pair of two consolation finals on Sunday, winning the 200 back for ninth place with a time of 1:56.31, which was a new personal best. She followed that performance with 10th place showing in the 200 fly, clocking 1:59.03.
In addition to Brown, junior Ariel Barber (2:00.04) and sophomore Fabiana Ingram (2:06.79) swam in the B heat, touching in 15th and 16th respectively.
On the boards, freshman Ayla Bonniwell led the Seminoles once again, scoring 221.70, placing fifth. Junior Blaire Mulka finished in ninth place with a total of 208.50.
Sunday’s finals started with the 1650 free and junior Alex Wittman placed 10th with a time of 16:49.15. Senior Katy Stringfield followed in 13th at 16:58.60 while rookie Manuella Ribas Andrade was 14th (16:59.16). Sophomore Daniella Van den Berg was just behind in 15th with a time of 17:03.26.
The Seminoles closed out the night by posting a time of 3:20.88 in the 400 free relay as senior Lydia Ware led off with a mark of 49.60 after she set a new personal best by winning the C final of the individual at 49.38.
The men’s team was fueled by a big performance from junior Connor Kalisz, who finished third in the 200 back with a new best time of 1:41.73, which was just off the school record of 1:41.11 set by Andy Hodgson back in 2009.
With that time, Kalisz will expect to earn his first-career bid to the NCAA Championships in March.
“Connor’s swim was huge,” Studd said. “It was a big highlight and that should be able to make it to the NCAA meet.”
In addition, senior Jason Coombs also stood out, placing second in the 200 breast with a time of 1:55.27.
Freshman Max Polianski posted another top eight finish, placing seventh in the 200 fly with a time of 1:45.03.
Senior Dylan Grisell took to his specialty, winning platform with a score of 371.35. Junior Tyler Roberge finished third at 337.65 while freshman Aidan Faminoff contributed seventh place points with a score of 273.35.
The Seminoles finished the meet with the 400 free relay, senior Jason McCormick, junior Joseph Plechy along with sophomore Kanoa Kaleoaloha and Emir Muratovic placing fourth at 2:53.46.
Prior to the relay, McCormick was sixth in the 100 free (43.40), while Muratovic finished eighth (43.88) after he swam his career best in prelims of 43.72. Kaleoaloha placed 10th also breaking the 44-second barrier at 43.79 and Plechy clocked a 44.03 after turning in his best performance in prelims at 43.91.
Both teams finished the meet in fifth place, as the women scored a tally of 403 points, while the men amassed 539.5.
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