Florida State Seminoles See Personal Bests on Day Two of ACCs
Senior diver Kalonji Cole posted a career best finish at the ACC Championships in 1-meter diving.
By Christa Salerno
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Florida State Seminoles swimming and diving teams were fueled by top performances from three events on the second day of the 2016 ACC Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
“We were a little off this morning,” FSU head coach Frank Bradley said. “But we gave ourselves some second swims and we knew we needed to go into tonight and take advantage of those. For the most part we improved and we’re definitely building on what we did tonight for tomorrow.”
Freshman Summer Finke made her ACC Championship debut by qualifying for the C final of the 500 free with a time of 4:50.66.
In finals, she dropped two seconds, finishing fourth in the heat with a time of 4:48.36, which was just off her personal best (4:48.31), moving up from 22nd place to 20th.
“I was happy with that swim,” Bradley said. “She got stronger as the race went on and she was a lot sharper than this morning. She was right on her best time and for a freshman to do that and set the tone for the session was awesome.”
Sophomore Alexi Smith and junior Lydia Ware also qualified for the C final of the 50 free in 22nd and 24th respectively with times of 22.92 and 22.98. At night, Smith touched at 22.99 for 23rd, while Ware was 24th at 23.10 after she posted her career best in prelims.
The Seminoles closed out the session with a sixth place finish in the 200 free relay, as Smith posted her fastest split of the day as the lead off at 22.87. She was followed by Ware and seniors Bianca Spinazzola and Sami Pochowski for a total time of 1:30.27.
“I was impressed with our seniors on that relay,” Bradley said. “They earned that spot and I thought they stepped up and did well. Both Sami and Bianca will have big days tomorrow so I’m expecting big things from them.”
Senior Kalonji Cole led the Seminoles in the men’s 1-meter diving, finishing with a personal best score of 331.50 as he scored above 50 points on each of his six dives.
Sitting in 12th place after four rounds, the Tallahassee native, saved his best two dives for last, scoring 58.50 on his front 3.5 tuck where he moved into 11th place.
On his final dive, Cole scored 62 total points in order to jump up two more spots, however he fell just under two points shy of the final in ninth place. Despite being left out of the top eight, it was his best career finish at the ACC Championships.
“Man, Kalonji just let it rip and went after it today,” FSU head diving coach John Proctor said. “Even yesterday, he was so close to that final and today he was even closer and it would have been awesome for him to get into that top heat as a senior. But, he didn’t miss a dive, he was having fun out there and he competed hard. I’m proud of him for that.”
In addition to Cole, sophomore Cameron Johnson posted a score of 309.75 for 13th place.
“Cameron had another good day,” Proctor said. “He too didn’t miss a dive. Those guys did awesome and I’m hoping they’ll ride this wave through the weekend.”
Friday’s prelims will start at 10 a.m. and will feature the 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back and women’s 3-meter. Finals will start at 6 p.m. and will air on ESPN3.
“Tomorrow is huge for us,” Bradley said. “We’ve got some ladies that will be busy with multiple swims and we have some that will be swimming their specialties. We’ve put in the work, we’ve just got to come in here tomorrow and swim fast.”
The Seminoles remain in 10th place with a total of 151, while men’s diving has amassed 81 points for fourth.