Feb. 19, 2005
ATLANTA, Ga. –
Since a disqualification Wednesday night in the 200 medley relay, the Florida State University women’s swimming and diving team has been clawing its way back at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships. The Seminoles have put themselves in a position to move into third place after great swims during Saturday’s preliminary races.
Going into Saturday’s final session, Florida State trails third-place North Carolina by just 23.5 points. The Seminoles have 11 entries during the evening swims with three more competitors in the timed finals of the 1,650 freestyle.
“I think our team is positioned quite well,” FSU head coach Neil Harper said. “We’ve certainly placed a lot of people in the top finals and consolations that we’re going to have a lot of swims to look forward to. The depth came through and we’ve got a lot of people in consolations and bonus swims. Barring a catastrophe tonight we can lock up fourth place and see if we can’t move up.”
Due to a delay in paperwork, the Florida State coaching staff has been chomping at the bit to get Altmann (Cape Town, South Africa) into competitive waters because they knew she could produce results like she did on Saturday. In her first official race in the 200 backstroke, the sophomore tied the school record held by Andree-Anne LeRoy with a time of 1:59.59.
At the time the mark was also a new pool record at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center until it was broken in a subsequent heat. Altmann’s time is also an NCAA provisional mark.
“With three tough swims last night I wondered if she was going to have enough gas this morning,” Harper noted. “But she showed the skills that she has and she won her heat convincingly. She’s going to have a great race tonight for an ACC title and an opportunity to make the NCAA meet.”
Cutting nearly a second off her career-best time to get into the consolation heat of the 200 back was freshman Kate Skaggs (Jacksonville, Fla.) as she hit the wall in 2:03.05 to take tenth overall. Continuing her great run at the conference meet was sophomore Katie Ronan (Pensacola, Fla.) as she hacked off four seconds off her personal-best time to post a 2:05.31 to get into the evening’s bonus heat.
The younger Kenney, Lindsay Kenney (Plano, Texas) nearly broke the school’s second record during her prelim swim in the 200 butterfly. The rookie set the pool record for two heats and scored the third-best mark in school history with her NCAA “B” cut of 2:00.56 to win her heat and seed Kenney third for the finals.
“Lindsay is obviously on at this meet, she’s swimming well,” Harper added. “She basically swam alone in her heat today and is close to the school record. For a freshman coming in like that is pretty good. When she’s in the thick of things in the race tonight they’ll help pace her better and she’ll have a chance to make her NCAA qualifying time and has a shot at the title.”
Nearly missing a spot in the finals was rookie Lauren Sparg (Durban, South Africa). Her time of 2:03.97 – which rates as the ninth fastest in Florida State lore – won her heat and just missed the finals by 0.16. Making the bonus heat of the 200 fly was rookie Stacy Rademacher (Charlotte, N.C.) as she touched in with a personal-best mark of 2:06.87. Serving as the second alternate for the event is freshman Brittany Stevens (Peachtree City, Ga.) with a time of 2:08.71.
The finals of the 100 freestyle will feature a pair of Seminoles who posted NCAA “B” Cuts during the preliminary heat. After placing second in the 50 freestyle Thursday night, Carrie Ellis (Valrico, Fla.) goes for her second medal as the third seed in the 100 after a season-best time of 50.43. Joining her in the finals will be senior captain Emily Breen (Savannah, Ga.) following a season-best mark of 51.06 that rates her seventh in the finals.
A personal-best time almost wasn’t good enough to get Kayce Zemina (Plantation, Fla.) into the consolation heat of the 100 free. The senior posted the exact same time (51.84) as Virginia Tech’s Emily Guschke. The two decided who would compete in the consols with a swim off, which Zemina won by lowering her career-best mark to 51.30.
Lowering her career-best mark to a 53.17 was sophomore Renee Gajda (Queensland, Australia), while Katie Metka (Largo, Fla.) touched in at 52.49. Abbie King (Brunswick, Maine) notched a 52.65 to go along with a personal-best 54.74 by Keri Whitehurst (Christensen, US Virgin Islands).
Florida State’s lone entry in the 200 breaststroke, sophomore Lauren Brick (Culpeper, Va.) will be a participant in the consolation finals. After winning the title Friday night at the 100-yard distance, she posted a time of 2:21.35 to take 15th overall.
The four day competition concludes Saturday night at 7 p.m. with the finals of the 1,650 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 butterfly, 200 breaststroke and 400 freestyle relay.