NAPLES, Italy – Two Florida State swimmers brought home three medals from the 2019 World University Games, which were held in Naples, Italy from July 4-10.
Former standout Tayla Lovemore (2016-18) won gold in the 50m and 100m fly, while rising sophomore Nina Kucheran took bronze as a member of the 4x100m medley relay for Team Canada.
“It was a great meet for the Seminole swimmers,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said. “We had a lot of best times and coming out with three medals is amazing. Having five swimmers at the meet and having others forgo this to focus on World Championships is a testament to how seriously we take international competition and how far we’ve brought the program.”
Representing South Africa, Lovemore came out of the heats as the top seed in the 50m fly at 26.51, which was a personal best, before advancing to finals in fourth at 26.60 from semifinals.
Working out of lane six, Lovemore saved her best swim for last as she clocked a time of 26.25 to set a new national record for South Africa and secure the win, taking down the standard that was set at 26.30 in April by Erin Gallagher.
The Durban, native, also holds a par of short course national records in the 50m fly (25.54) and 100 IM (1:00.30), both that were set at the FINA World Cup in November.
Lovemore continued to stay hot, claiming the top seed in the 100m fly out of prelims (58.85) and semifinals (58.57), where she established a new best time. In finals, Lovemore worked out of lane four and held the steady lead through 50 meters. As the field looked to pass her down the home stretch, Lovemore remained strong through the finish to claim her second gold of the meet with a time of 58.74, edging out Dakota Luther (58.82) of the USA.
Kucheran split a time of 1:08.03 in the 100m breast portion of the finals of the 4x100m medley relay helping Canada touch with a time of 4:03.32, edging out Russia (4:03.55) for the bronze.
Team Canada Takes Bronze in 4x100m Medley Relay – Nina Kucheran pictured third from the left
The Sudbury, Ontario, native also advanced to a pair of individual semifinals. She qualified for the 100m breast semifinal with a time of 1:09.27 in 11th place, before tying for ninth with a time of 1:08.51. On Tuesday, Kucheran qualified in ninth place in the 50m breast at 31.56 out of prelims, but finished in 11th place at 31.68.
In addition to Lovemore and Kucheran, rising sophomores Boglarka Bonecz, Jakub Ksiazek and Kertu Alnek also competed at the meet.
Bonecz represented Hungary and advanced to semifinals and finished in 16th place of the 200m fly with a time of 2:17.61 after clocking a time of 2:16.96 in prelims.
Ksiazek helped Poland finish in sixth place in the 4x100m free relay. Swimming second, Ksiazek split 50.12 helping the Polish post a 3:19.04 in prelims. At night, Ksiazek lowered his split to 49.31 as Poland finished with a time of 3:18.03.
Individually, Ksiazek took 24th place in the 50m fly (24.70) and 22nd in the 50m free (23.00).
Alnek swam for Estonia, finishing in 35th place in the 100m free (58.32) and 38th in the 50m free (26.98).
“We’re a year out from the Olympic Games,” Studd added. “It was great to see our student-athletes gain this experience and fair well against a top level of competition. Hopefully, this will propel them into further success, including Tokyo. I could not be happier.”
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