Tallahassee, Fla. – The No.17/24 Florida State swimming and diving teams split a dual meet against NR/22 Duke on Saturday at the Morcom Aquatics Center.
The 17th-ranked men (1-1, 1-1 ACC) won three of the last four events, including a winner take all 400 free relay in order to defeat the Blue Devils (0-1, 0-1 ACC) 153-147. The No. 24 women (0-2, 0-2 ACC) dropped its contest to 22nd-ranked Duke, 123-177.
“I felt like we didn’t come out of the gates as well as we needed to,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said. “We asked our captains and leaders to get the team fired up. We had a few key people out because they were sick, but in the end, we really dug deep and pulled out the win on the men’s side. It made for an exciting day.”
The Seminoles trailed by three points heading into the final event of the day, the 400 free relay.
The team of freshman Peter Varjasi, sophomore Max McCusker and seniors Griffin Alaniz and Vladimir Stefanik posted a time of 2:57.48 as Stefanik pulled the Noles to victory behind the fastest split in the race at 43.77.
“I just wanted to beat the guy,” Stefanik said. “I had my race plan and I stuck to it. Everyone was cheering loud; I could hear it in the pool. It was great.”
Duke’s top team finished second and clocked a 2:58.20 ahead of FSU’s B relay in third behind junior Gavin Jones, freshman Domen Demsar, freshman Aziz Ghaffari and senior Rudo Loock with a time of 3:00.28.
After finishing second in the opening 200 medley relay and surrendering a one-two finish in the 1000 free, the 17th-ranked Seminoles got back on track in the 200 free by finishing first and second as Stefanik won with a time of 1:37.95 and Ghaffari out-touched Sheldon Boboff of Duke (1:38.37) for second place at 1:38.16.
FSU took second, third and fifth place in the 100 back, led by Alaniz (49.26), followed by junior Jackson Lucas (50.41) and freshman Ryland Sun (51.53).
The Noles won the next two races as sophomore Izaak Bastian held on for the victory in the 100 breast at 55.64 and freshman Maurice Ingenrieth won the 200 fly by almost one second at 1:49.31. His classmate, Nick Vance followed in third place at 1:50.91.
Varjasi clocked a 20.37, his best of the season for second place in the 50 free and following the break, was also the runner-up in the 100 free at 44.59.
Junior Joshua Davidson and senior Cam Thatcher put up a dominant one-two finish on 3-meter, led by Davidson at 357.60, followed by Thatcher at 321.23.
At the first break, the Seminoles trailed by four points, 73-77.
Alaniz gave the Noles a big two-second win in the 200 back with a time of 1:48.42 and Lucas took third at 1:50.77. Bastian kept up the momentum, securing the win with a time of 2:00.52.
Ghaffari (4:31.88) and freshman Scott Pekarske (4:33.71) posted a second and third place finish in the 500 free.
Just as Duke started to distance the lead, FSU picked up a big one-two finish in the 100 fly, as Stefanik won his second event on the day at 48.42, followed by McCusker in second at 48.83. Ingenrieth added fifth place points at 49.32.
The divers gave the Noles their first lead of the day as Davidson won 1-meter at 328.80 by just under three points, followed by Thatcher in third (301.20) and senior Aidan Faminoff added fifth place points with a total of 277.80.
Heading into the final two swimming events, the Seminole took a four-point lead 134-130.
Vance took second in the 200 IM (1:51.74) and Lucas was fourth (1:53.41), putting Duke back in front, 140-143.
In the women’s meet, sophomore Hannah Womer led the Noles with three individual wins, claiming the 100 breast (1:03.41), 200 breast (2:15.81) and 200 IM (2:02.60).
In the front part of the meet, the 24th-ranked women posted five close runner-up finishes in addition to Womer’s victory in the 100 breast at 1:03.41.
Following the second place finish in the 200 medley relay, sophomore Madeline Cohen was second in the 100 back (55.36) and her classmate Aryanna Fernandes placed second in the 200 fly at 2:02.06 following Womer’s win. Junior Emma Terebo clocked a time of 23.41 in the 50 free for second place as well.
On the boards, senior Ayla Bonniwell was the runner-up with a total of 301.12, ahead of senior Molly Carlson in third at 269.70.
After the break, Terebo (51.29) and junior Rebecca Moynihan (51.35) finished second and third in the 100 free.
Cohen (2:00.47) and sophomore Maddie McDonald (2:02.04) followed with a two-three showing in the 200 back and Womer outlasted Duke’s Kayle Park (2:15.87) in the 200 breast for the win.
Senior Dorothy Halmy (4:59.20) and freshman Giulia Grasso (4:59.20) picked up second and third place points in the 500 free.
Bonniwell (308.85) and Carlson (301.95) gave the Noles a one-two finish on 3-meter.
The Seminoles closed out the meet with a victory in the 400 free relay behind Moynihan, Terebo, freshman Tania Quaglieri and sophomore Kertu Alnek with a time of 3:22.34.
Following the meet, the team officially signed 13-year old Sam Donoway to the team.
“I just want to welcome Sam to the family,” Studd added. “I feel like he’s been here for awhile. One of our credos is the unconquered spirit and I don’t know what defines that more than what Sam has to go through everyday. Sam’s been more to than this team than we bring to him and we appreciate him and love him and we’re happy to welcome him to our family.”
Donaway, who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy in 2007 was matched to the Seminoles through Team IMPACT, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children facing serious and chronic illnesses through the power of team.
Team IMPACT is a national nonprofit headquartered in Boston, MA that connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams, forming lifelong bonds and life-changing outcomes. Since 2011, Team IMPACT has matched more than 1,800 children with more than 600 colleges and universities in 48 states, reaching over 55,000 participating student athletes. The child joins the athletic team and the student athletes join the child’s support team. Throughout the journey, the child gains strength, camaraderie and support while the student athletes experience lessons of courage, resiliency and perspective they can’t learn in a classroom.
Florida State will host RV/18 Minnesota on Oct. 19 at the Morcom Aquatics Center at 10 a.m.
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