FSU Swimming and Diving Finishes Second at All Florida Invite
The Florida State swimming and diving teams placed second at the All-Florida Invite this past weekend.
By Christa Salerno
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State swimming and diving teams opened the 2015-16 season by placing second at the Pinch A Penny All-Florida Invitational, hosted by the University of Florida.
Both squads were runner-up to the Gators, while finishing ahead of Towson in third.
“This was an excellent start,” FSU head coach Frank Bradley said. “We saw a lot of great things, we had some of our younger swimmers step up and we had some of our seniors have a breakout meet as well. All around I liked the effort and the chemistry we had this weekend.”
On Sunday, the Seminoles had 13 swimmers competing in the ‘A’ final of individual races that included senior Cole Hensley winning the 200 fly with a time of 1:48.74 in addition to sophomore Connor Kalisz taking silver in the 200 back with a time of 1:46.64, which was just shy of his personal best time (1:46.48).
“Cole and Connor had a great meet” Bradley said. “Both guys really asserted themselves as leaders this weekend and it was great to see them have such a great start to the season. With Connor, he came on at the end of last year and I think that swim tonight will set him up well for the season. It was a great breakout swim.”
On the women’s side, sophomore Alexi Smith collected her second silver of the meet by placing second in the 100 free with a time of 51.16.
“Alexi was another one that stepped up and started to lead,” Bradley said. “She too had a solid weekend.”
The session started off with freshman Summer Finke placing sixth in the 1650 free with a time of 17:22.87 and sophomore Calvin Bryant was seventh in the men’s race at 16:09.54.
In addition to Smith, junior Lydia Ware clocked a 51.94 in the 100 free for fifth place, while senior Josie Cuda placed sixth with a time of 52.07.
“Josie and Lydia both did very well,” Bradley said. “They are both upperclassmen and they were among that group that really had great leadership this weekend.”
The men’s 100 free had three FSU finalists as junior Jason McCormick led the way in fifth place with a time of 45.58 and freshman Kanoa Kaleoaloha followed in sixth (45.61) and junior Jemal LeGrand was seventh (45.79).
Sophomore Natalie Pierce posted a 2:20.40 in the women’s 200 breast for fifth place before sophomore Rafa Van Leeuwaarde took sixth in the men’s race at 2:07.76.
In the 200 fly, freshman Gracie Redding turned in the top time for the Noles, finishing sixth at 2:06.98, just ahead of Cuda, who was eighth at 2:07.35. Sophomore Jacob Urbano joined Hensley in the top heat of the men’s 200 fly finishing eighth with a time of 1:54.30.
Saturday’s session opened with a victory from the women’s 200 medley relay with the team of senior Bianca Spinazzola, Pierce, Redding and Smith with a time of 1:42.86.
“That was an awesome relay,” Bradley said. “They really stepped up and put that race together. They’ve never swam together before and with only under two weeks of practice, I really liked what I saw from those four.”
Finke led the Seminoles in the 400 IM, swimming in the top heat placing fifth with a time of 4:29.02, while senior Kyle Doxtater posted the fastest mark out of prelims for FSU, touching in sixth at 4:09.17.
Redding would post a 56.71 in finals of the 100 fly for fifth place and Cuda (57.56) and Ware (57.82) would follow in seventh and eighth respectively.
The men also had three swimmers in the top heat of the 100 fly as Hensley finished fourth with a 49.55 following a 48.89 prelim swim. Urbano was 50.41 for seventh and junior Jason Coombs placed eighth at 50.67.
In her second race of the evening, Cuda took fifth in the 200 free, finishing with a 1:52.66, while LeGrand grabbed fifth in the men’s final with a time of 1:41.10. He was followed by freshman Emir Muratovic (1:41.89) in sixth, and Urbano in eighth (1:49.08) after swimming a 1:43.56 in prelims.
Pierce finished with silver in the 100 breast with a time of 1:03.86, while senior Sami Pochowski followed with bronze at 1:04.68. Freshman Natalie Purnell was eighth with a mark of 1:07.38.
In the men’s 100 breast, Coombs took bronze with a 55.47 and sophomore Rafa Van Leewuaarde placed fourth with a time of 56.87.
Spinazzola turned in the top time for the Noles in the 100 back, touching with a 56.22 for fifth place, while sophomore Ariel Barber finished eighth at 58.65 following a 57.66 prelim swim.
On Friday, Finke started her collegiate career with a fourth place showing in the 500 free with a time of 4:56.64 just ahead of Cuda, who placed sixth with a 4:56.94.
Bryant took eighth with a final time of 4:45.79 after swimming a 4:42.64 in the morning.
Pochowski grabbed fourth in the 200 IM at 2:06.30, while Ware placed seventh with a 2:07.55. Coombs produced a third place finish for the men, touching with a 1:51.29 while Kalisz was fifth at 1:53.36 and newcomer Stefan Stojmenovic was sixth, touching with a 1:54.85.
Smith grabbed silver in the 50 free with a 23.34 after posting a 23.02 in prelims. Ware finished sixth in her second ‘A’ final of the day at 24.20 and rookie Fabiana Ingram finished in eighth at 24.41.
In diving, sophomore Tyler Roberge won the men’s 3-meter competition with a score of 352.05 while the Seminoles finished first, second and third on 1-meter as junior Dylan Grisell was victorious with a score of 292.25 edging out senior Kalonji Cole, who tallied 290.70. Robert took third at 287.70.
Freshman Cassidy Gebhart finished fifth on 1-meter with a score of 251.95, while sophomore Caroline Gerhardt led the way for the Noles in fourth with a score of 250.60, edging out Gebhart who was fifth at 237.40 and sophomore Blair Mulka took sixth with a tally of 233.25.
“We’ve got ourselves a nice benchmark for the season,” Bradley said. “We’ll get back to training as we head into the next phase of our season.”