Feb. 24, 2005
ATLANTA, Ga. –
Traditionally the first day of individual competition at the Atlantic Coast Conference Swimming and Diving Championships is the weakest of the three sessions for the Florida State University. However, the Seminoles buck the trend on Thursday (February 24) a total of nine swimmers eligible to score points during the night competition.
Going into Thursday’s evening session, the Seminoles are tied with Virginia Tech for first place at 64 points after Virginia’s 200 medley relay was disqualified because of an error with the Cavaliers’ entry card.
“I think this is probably the best first-day we’ve ever had,” FSU head coach Neil Harper said. “Coming in we knew we had the potential to have a good day, but to see our guys execute was really great.”
The most improved events for the Seminoles over the last two years have been the distance racess. For the first time during Harper’s tenure FSU has two swimmers in the finals of the 500 freestyle. Sophomore Steve Roof (Canton, Ohio) turned in the second-fastest time in school history during the prelims with his career-best time of 4:24.72. He’ll be seeded fifth for the evening swim.
Also taking part in the finals of the 500 will be Roof’s classmate Thomas Bishop (Houston, Texas). He also touched the wall in a personal-best time, notching a 4:26.83 – the fourth-fastest mark in Seminole lore – to take eighth overall. Scoring points in the consolation heat will be rookie Kyle Young (Oviedo, Fla.) as his career-best time of 4:30.42 got him the 16th and final spot.
“Tommy and Steve made top eight in good fashion with best times and that was a fast race,” Harper noted. “We’ve never had two in the finals and one in the consols so that is huge for us. Kyle maybe went out a bit to fast in his race, but he came back and to make 16th is huge; when you’re 17th you can’t go anywhere, but when your 16th all you can do is go up.”
Nearly missing the school record in the 200 individual medley was freshman Danny Keeling (Westminister, Colo.). The rookie was just 0.31 off the FSU standard set by graduate manager Justin Betts in 2003 with his NCAA “B” Cut time of 1:48.94. The mark places Keeling fourth for the finals.
“The IM was a mixed bag for us,” Harper commented. “Danny going 1:48 was awesome. That’s a great swim for him and he’s in the top four. We rolled the dice with Ian a little bit. We thought about putting him in the 200 fly, but when we looked at the heat sheet the IM was better. His fly and backstroke looked good, but the breaststroke hurt him and he didn’t have anything left for the free.”
A pair of Seminoles will swim in the bonus heat of the 200 IM after their performances in the prelims. Freshman Ian Powell (Guernsey, Channel Islands) just missed the consolation heat, picking up the 18th-seed with a 1:53.00. Sophomore Paul Erben (Panama City, Fla.) posted a career-best 1:54.05 to take 23rd. Rounding out FSU’s entries in the event was sophomore Brett Irvin (Boca Raton, Fla.) with a 1:55.54.
The biggest representation for Florida State for the finals will come during the 50-yard freestyle as the Seminoles placed five guys in the finals and consolation heat. FSU has the most swimmers in the finals (three) and the five overall is also tops.
“To have three in the top and two in bottom is great,” Harper added. “To get our top three guys in the finals is going to be real good so we have a lot to look forward to tonight. Jarryd Botha was a bonus and Ed Denton sort of snaked in despite not having his best race.”
Leading the charge for Florida State sprinters was senior Michael Averett (Davie, Fla.) as he posted a career-best time of 20.32, an NCAA “B” Cut, to take the fifth seed. A spot behind him is fellow captain Joel Roycik (Winter Park, Fla.) as he hit the wall in 20.48. Getting into the finals by 0.01 was sophomore Alex Kennon (Winter Haven, Fla.) as he came through with a personal-low 20.50 to place eighth.
Jumping up from a seed time of 21.26 was freshman Jarryd Botha (Worcester, South Africa) to register a career-best 20.60 to take the 12th seed. Despite not having his best race, freshman Ed Denton (Maidenhead, England) got the last slot in the consolation heat with a time 20.67.
Rounding out the Seminoles in the 50 free was: Billy Jamerson (Savannah, Ga.), 21.19 – Matt Hammond (Daytona Beach, Fla.) – 21.48, David Ellis (Valrico, Fla.) – 21.60, Brendon Burke (West Des Moines, Iowa) – 21.75, and Andrew Castro (Miami, Fla.).
In the diving competition, Florida State had four of its five competitors score points with top 16 finishes on the one-meter board. Leading the way was rookie Alex Tilbrook (Largo, Fla.) as he just missed the finals with a ninth-place score of 271.95. Coming in 13th with a tally of 263.00 was junior Peter Crane (Fairport, N.Y.) followed by sophomore Derek Jones (Jacksonville, Fla.) with a 14th-place 261.95. Junior Jason Beinlich (Ridley, Pa.) put together a 248.95 to take 15th and senior Curtis Schroeger (Shawnee Mission, Kan.) rounded out FSU’s contingency at 242.45.
Finals of the 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free, one-meter diving as well as the 200 freestyle relay start at 7 p.m. at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center.