January 11, 2020
Swim & Dive Falls to Alabama

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The No. 14/RV Florida State swimming and diving teams fell to RV/17 Alabama on a windy Saturday afternoon at the Morcom Aquatics Center.

The 14th-ranked men (4-3, 2-1 ACC) dropped a close decision to the RV Crimson Tide, 138-156, while the RV women (5-4, 1-2 ACC) fell 120-180.

“We had some good spots and some bad spots,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said. “We were rusty in parts, but we had some really good highlights. I saw a great team attitude, they were screaming for each other but maybe that slow start was the difference in the day and we just couldn’t get there in the end.”

In the men’s meet, the Crimson Tide opened the meet with wins in the 200 medley relay and 1650 free.

Florida State followed with a strong showing in the 200 free, sweeping the event led by freshman Aziz Ghaffari in first (1:38.23), followed by seniors Rudo Loock (1:38.38), Vladimir Stefanik (1:40.08) and sophomore Max McCusker (1:40.63).

But Alabama answered by winning the next four races. In that stretch, the Seminoles swam a close 200 fly, but finished second, third and fourth behind senior Max Polianksi (1:39.15), freshman Nick Vance (1:49.78) and rookie Maurice Ingenrieth (1:49.97).

Off the first break, FSU found a little momentum as freshman Peter Varjasi won the 100 free (44.26) by one one-hundredth of a second after finishing second in the 50 free (20.26).

The Seminoles cruised to first and second place in the 200 back, led by Vance in first at 1:48.25, followed by sophomore Jackson Lucas in second (1:49.75).

FSU would finish second in the next three events, which were all tight races. Sophomore Izaak Bastian was the runner up in the 200 breast (2:00.91) and Ghaffari swam a strong last 50 yards in the 500 free, but also finished second at 4:31.31. McCusker added a second place finish in the 100 fly (48.29).

“There were some areas on where we got out-touched which changes the whole meet,” Studd added. “Those races give us the victory instead of them. That’s something we’ve talked about, we just didn’t execute it today.”

Varjasi picked up his second win of the day in the 200 IM, clocking a time of 1:49.02.

In diving, seniors Cam Thatcher and Aidan Faminoff dominated 1-meter, with Thatcher winning with a total of 369.90 ahead of Faminoff in second (290.25). The pair placed second and third on 3-meter as Thatcher took second (315.68) and Faminoff finishing third (301.05).

“The conditions weren’t great,” FSU head diving coach John Proctor said. “But they did a pretty good job. I don’t know what’s worse, golfing in this weather or diving in it. Overall, for where we are in the season, I thought we did a good job.”

Florida State closed the meet by taking second, third and fourth in the 200 free relay, led by the team of freshman Ian Cooper, McCusker, sophomore Kuba Ksiazek and freshman Domen Demsar at 1:21.07.

The women were led by sophomore Nina Kucheran, who won three individual events on the day. Kucheran clocked a 1:01.79 for the victory in the 100 breast, before leading a one-two charge in the 200 breast (2:14.67) and held on to take the 200 IM (2:03.14).

Florida State added wins in the 200 fly, behind sophomore Aryanna Fernandes (2:00.23) as well as both springboard diving events.

Senior Molly Carlson posted her personal best score of 363.90 for the win, which was just 7.95 points off the school record set by Kelsey Goodman (373.05) back in 2013. Her classmate, Ayla Bonniwell was the winner on 1-meter (284.55) after taking third on 3-meter (323.25).

Sophomore Kertu Alnek was the runner-up in the 200 free (1:49.86) and her classmate Maddie McDonald also took second in the 200 back (2:00.39).

Freshman Sydney VanOvermeiren followed Kucheran in second in the 200 breast at 2:18.78 and Fernades added a second place finish in the 100 fly (54.36).

“It’s the first meet after a long (training) break and Christmas,” Studd said. “We got some of that rust off and we’ll be ready to go to LSU next week.”

The Seminoles will travel to Baton Rouge, La., for a dual against LSU on Friday at 5 p.m.

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