ATLANTA, Ga. – The nationally-ranked (No. 19/22) Florida State swimming and diving teams had a solid first day at the Georgia Tech Invite, which is being held at the McAuley Aquatic Center through Saturday.
The Seminoles started off the night earning an NCAA automatic time for second place in the men’s 200 free relay with a mark of 1:17.29 behind the team of seniors Will Pisani (19.68) and Kanoa Kaleoaloha (19.16), freshman Kuba Ksiazek (19.09) and senior Emir Muratovic (19.36).
“I thought we swam great today,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said, “We had a lot of fun and produced some fantastic swims. Obviously, we’re excited for our automatic cut in the men’s free relay, but we have a lot to be happy about across the team both in the pool and on the boards.”
Individually, Florida State had 10 compete in ‘A’ finals of events, including all four relay swimmers in the men’s 50 free.
All four broke the 20-second barrier and produced NCAA ‘B’ standards in the 50 free, led by Kaleoaloha (19.61), who placed fourth just ahead of Pisani (19.62) in fifth. Ksiazek was ninth (19.80) and Muratovic took 10th (19.95).
Junior Max Polianksi qualified for the top heat of the 200 IM, posting a time of 1:46.89 in prelims. At night, Polianski was slightly off his morning swim, touching at 1:47.07 for sixth place.
Freshman Kertu Alnek had a solid day, winning bronze in the women’s 50 free with a personal best of 22.53, which is an NCAA provisional standard. Alnek’s swim ranks as the fifth fastest in school history.
The Seminoles had two divers in each final, as sophomore Joshua Davidson finished the men’s 1-meter in third place with a score of 346.45 ahead of junior Aidan Faminoff (300.90) who was ninth. In prelims, Davidson put up the third highest score at 328.80, while Faminoff’s tally of 324.05 was just behind in fourth.
Freshman Grace Cable put up one of her best performances of the semester, finishing fourth at 328.15 after scoring 333.40 in prelims of women’s 3-meter. Junior Ayla Bonniwell followed in seventh at 312.65 following a prelim round of 306.50.
“I thought we had a decent day today,” FSU head diving coach John Proctor said. “We did some great things and I really like where we are in the season. The kids are fighting and working hard to get better and I like where we are after today.”
Florida State began the night by winning bronze in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:30.15 behind Alnek, senior Leila Johnston (22.30), junior Nika Blank (22.82) and sophomore Emma Terebo (22.33).
Freshman Danish standout Laura Jensen swam the sixth fastest time in school history, touching at 4:47.13 in finals for 13th place of the 500 free. Her swim was the fastest for the Seminoles since Madison Jacobi set the school record in 2014 (4:37.77).
The Seminoles had three qualify for the B final of the 200 IM, led by freshman Hannah Womer. Womer posted a time of 2:00.42 for 13th place, just ahead of her classmate Nina Kucheran who was 14th (2:00.69). Senior Natalie Purnell finished in 18th place (2:02.46) after posting her career best in prelims at 2:01.42.
Terebo added 14th place points from the B final of the 50 free with a time of 22.83 and Johnston took 20th with a final mark of 23.34 after posting her personal best of 22.95 in prelims.
Florida State closed out the session by placing fourth in the 400 medley relay with the team of Terebo (54.25), Kucheran (59.94), Johnston (53.84) and Alnek (49.03) at a season best of 3:37.04.
Sophomore Jackson Lucas led the Seminoles in the men’s 500 free, touching with a final time of 4:26.56 for 17th place after swimming his personal best in prelims of 4:26.52.
In addition to Polianski, FSU had three score in the B final of the 200 IM, led by sophomore Ryan Telford (1:47.65), finishing 12th ahead of junior Rudo Loock in 14th (1:48.41) and sophomore Julio Horrego in 18th (1:48.97).
Two freshman scored points in the 50 free B final, as Cooper DeRyk touched in a tie for 13th place at 20.14, just off his personal best time (20.13). Max McCusker finished in 20th place at 20.40 after swimming a career best of 20.24 in prelims.
FSU ended the night placing fourth in the 400 medley relay with a team of Muratovic (48.26), freshman Izaak Bastian (53.72), Kaleoaloha (45.66) and Pisani (41.93) for a total time of 3:09.57.
The 19th-ranked men sit in second place with a score of 251.50 behind No. 3 Florida (361) and ahead of No. 12 Alabama (232) and No. 17 Georgia Tech (202.5), while the 22nd-ranked women are in tied for fourth place with a total of 181 with Alabama. The 10th-ranked Gators lead (360) No. 12 Auburn (281.5) and No. 24 South Carolina (181.5).
Prelims for Friday’s meet will begin at 10 a.m. and finals will follow at 5:30 p.m., featuring the 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, women’s 1-meter, men’s 3-meter and the 800 free relay.
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