November 2, 2018
Noles Sweep Relays in Top 25 Battle

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –  On a brisk day at the Morcom Aquatics Center, the nationally-ranked Florida State swimming and diving teams battled No.10/3 Florida on Friday in the Fresh from Florida Sunshine State Showdown.

The 21st-ranked women (4-1, 2-0 ACC) fell to the 10th-ranked Gators 122.50-177.50, while the No. 21 men (1-4, 1-1 ACC ) dropped their meet to No. 3 Florida, 128-170.

Florida State showed its strength in the relays, sweeping all four while posting times ranked within the top 10 nationally, in addition to winning three of the four diving events.

“We pride ourselves on winning the relays,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said. “Sweeping the relays was really fun. We had some spots where I thought we could be a little bit better but overall I’m pretty excited about the day.”

The women’s team opened up by holding off Florida in the 200 medley relay for the win, touching with a season best of 1:38.97 behind sophomore Madeline Cohen, freshman Ida Hulkko, senior Leila Johnston and junior Nika Blank.  The time is the fifth fastest in the country this season.

Florida answered with a sweep in the 1000 free.

Freshman Laura Jensen led the Noles in the 200 free, posting a season best of 1:49.75 for second place and her classmate Kertu Alnek showed her consistency in the event, posting a 1:50.09 for fourth place.

Sophomore Emma Terebo worked out of lane six, touching with a season best of 54.84, tying for the win based on a judge’s decision.

The Seminoles finished first and second in their strongest event as Hulkko touched with a time of 59.03 and Kucheran was second at 1:00.71 behind season best swims. Senior Natalie Purnell also contributed fourth place points, touching at 1:02.44.

Hulkko became the second woman in FSU history to break the 1-minute barrier and now ranks second in school history behind Natalie Pierce (58.25). Kucheran’s swim moves her up to fifth place all-time.

Her swim is also the fastest in the nation this year.

The Gators answered with a sweep of the 200 fly and posted a one-two finish of the 50 free.

Junior Ayla Bonniwell continued her dominance of 3-meter from last week, winning with a score of 344.33 ahead of freshman Grace Cable in second at 313.05.

After the first break, the Seminoles trailed 68.5-81.5.

Alnek came back and led the Noles in the 100 free with a second place finish with a time of 50.42 and Johnston was fourth (51.31).

Junior Shelly Drozda led the 200 back for FSU, touching with a time of 1:59.8 for second place, holding off a pair of UF swimmers.

The Seminoles posted a two-three-four 200 breast as Kucheran was second (2:13.43), Hulkko was third (2:13.85) and Purnell was fourth (2:16.43).

Hulkko’s time places her eighth all-time.

The Gators went first and second in the 500 free, but Jensen was third behind a season best of 4:54.63.

Florida put the meet away after sweeping the 100 fly and 200 IM.

Junior Molly Carlson and Cable added second and third place points on 1-meter with scores of 293.85 and 285.38 respectively.

The Seminoles fought until the end, coming from behind the final event, as Alnek split a 22.53 as the anchor for the win. Blank, Terebo and Johnston helped FSU touch at 1:32.48. The performance is currently the 10th fastest in the country this season.

“We had some really great swims in spots,” Studd said. “We just got out-touched. It’s one of those tough deals where you need those nine points. But we keep moving forward and we’re doing great things and we just need to keep focused.”

The Noles started the men’s meet by edging out Florida for the win, thanks to a strong back half. The team of senior Emir Muratovic, freshman Izaak Bastian along with seniors Kanoa Kaleoaloha and Will Pisani turned in a time of 1:28.38.

Florida answered with a sweep in the 1000 free and a one-two finish in the 200 free as freshman Max Mccukser led the Noles with a season best of 1:40.39.

Bastian swam a strong 100 breast, clocking 55.28 for second place. Later in the meet, Bastian closed out his 200 breast strong, surging into the wall to finish in second place with a time of 2:02.24.

Junior Max Polianksi swam a season best in the 200 fly, finishing in second place at 1:49.81.

Kaleoaloha went under the 20-second barrier for the third time this season, matching his 19.95 swim from last week for the victory.

The Seminoles swept 1-meter diving, led by sophomore Joshua Davidson, who was victorious by 45 points, scoring 360.00.   Junior Aidan Faminoff finished second (315.82) and his classmate Cam Thatcher (311.77) was third.

Following the break, Muratovic cut into the 63-87 UF lead and turned in a first place finish in the 100 free, leading wire-to-wire at 44.45.

Kaleoaloha added another win, touching at 47.74 in the 100 fly, leading from start to finish.

Thatcher and Faminoff provided a one-two showing on 3-meter as Thatcher won the event with a score of 361.72 ahead of Faminoff at 348.40.

“Our first event was lights out,” FSU head diving coach John Proctor said. “We ran out of gas a little bit on the second, but other than that we’re doing awesome. They just keep getting better. The chemistry is awesome and they’re driving and pushing each other.”

The Seminoles closed out the meet strong, touching with a time of 1:20.31 in the 200 free relay behind Pisani, Kaleoaloha, freshman Cooper DeRyk and Muratovic for the win.

The Seminoles will host a quad meet on Saturday at 1 p.m. featuring Florida Southern, West Florida and North Florida. Florida Southern will field both a men’s and women’s team, while UWF and UNF will compete in the women’s meet.

For more information, visit FSU Swimming and Diving on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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