Noles Ready for NCAAs

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Three freshmen are ready to begin competing at their first career NCAA Championships.

By Christa Salerno

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –  Three members of the Florida State swimming and diving team are ready to compete at the 2016 Women’s NCAA Championships, which will be held at the McAuley Aquatic Center on the campus of Georgia Tech.

The meet will run from March 16-19, however freshmen Meg Brown, Summer Finke and Cassidy Gebhart will start competing on March 18.

“I think these ladies can have a great experience,” FSU head coach Frank Bradley said. “If they can stay focus and keep collected, I think we have a shot to do well. We’re ready.”

Brown and Finke will kick off the meet on Friday by swimming the 400 IM. Brown will race the 200 back and 200 fly on Saturday and Finke will contest in the 1650 free.

“It means a lot to all of us,” Finke said. “Especially since all three of us are freshmen. It shows a lot for our team because we’re so young and we know this meet will help us later in our careers. It means a lot to me and hopefully I can earn some points for the team.”

“It means a lot for me to make it as a freshman,” Brown said. “I actually went the time in the 400 IM to make it in my very first swim as a Seminole. So, that was pretty cool. I’m very excited to be representing FSU along with two other freshmen.”

This marks the first time in school history that only multiple freshmen will represent FSU. Stephanie Sarandos was the lone athlete to attend the 2009 meet as a rookie, where she placed 25th in the 200 back.

Gebhart will dive platform on Saturday at 12:15 p.m.

The Spring, Texas native is the first freshman to compete at NCAA’s in diving since Tiffany Manning in 2002.

“Just because it is my first time I want to go and enjoy the atmosphere,” Gebhart said. “I obviously want to dive well, but I just want to relax, have fun and compete well.”

For the second time in Georgia Tech history, the McCauley Aquatic Center will serve as the host site for the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships. Georgia Tech previously hosted the 2006 NCAA Championships and the CRC was originally the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics swimming and diving competitions.

Prelims will start at 10 a.m. followed by finals at 6 p.m. The top 16 from the morning sessions will compete in finals. Prelims will be streamed through the Atlanta Swimming webcast, while finals will air on ESPN3.