TUSCALOOSA, Alabama, January 22. THE Florida State swimming and diving teams split a pair of fantastic finishes on Saturday. The women were victorious 157-143, while the 18th-ranked men lost a tight decision to the 17th-ranked Crimson Tide 157.5-141.5.
"I was confident in the women today and they were able to put an exclamation point on their regular season," head coach Neil Harper said. "I think we'll really be able to learn a lot from this meet. It was a hostile environment with the stands packed. This was great preparation for ACC's."
Heading into the final event, the 400 free relay, Alabama had a slim hope of coming away with the win. However, the team of freshman Tiffany Oliver, seniors Holly Mills and Brittany Selts and junior Stephanie Sarandos were victorious with a time of 3:27.52 to salt away the victory.
Sarandos also had another big day individually sweeping the backstroke events winning the 100 in a time of 55.95 and the 200 touching in 1:59.24. The Garnet and Gold also dominated the distance events taking the top three spots in the 500 free led by Mills (4:55.47) and three of the top four positions in the 1650 free paced by junior Charlotte Broadbent (16:58.76). Mills also added a win in the 200 free (1:50.95). Sophomore Kristine Polley earned a win in the 200 breast (2:18.29) while freshman diver Kelsey Goodman took home the win on the three-meter (336.38).
"It was important for us to win some events after losing the first relay," Harper said. "Steph and Holly were able to do that along with our other distance girls. It really was a team victory for the women. Everyone contributed and everyone helped us win."
For the men, it was the same situation. Knowing the Seminoles needed a one-two finish in the 400 free relay, Harper split his squads up, yet the Seminoles almost pulled out the remarkable victory, taking second and third. Individually, it was senior Landon Marzullo who continued to dominate in the second half of the season. The reigning men's ACC Performer of the Week once against led a one-two-three performance on the boards for the men. Marzullo won the one-meter with a six dive total of 380.85 and the three-meter with a score of 364.80. The Seminoles swept the breaststroke events with senior Matt Shead taking the 100 (55.93) and senior Rob Holderness taking home the 200 (2:02.81). Sophomore Mark Weber rounded out the victories for the men with a win in the 50 free (20.87).
"We knew there would be a lot to contend with and we kept clawing our way back all day," Harper said. "Our divers really helped keep us in the meet and we also had some guys win some events. We had to split up our relays to see if we could win and we almost pulled it out."
Florida State will now concentrate on the 2011 ACC Championships in Atlanta, Ga. The women will compete first with competition beginning on Wednesday, February 16. For a meet preview, log onto www.seminoles.com.
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