CORAL GABLES, Florida, October 19. THE Florida State women's swimming and diving team moved to 2-0 on the season as they defeated in-state rival Miami with a final score of 184-115 today in Coral Gables, Fla.
“There was some bad weather but I think our girls came out and gave it a good shot with the medley relay,” head coach Neil Harper said. “Our depth in each event showed, when they won event, we were second or third and when we won a race, we were second, third or fourth. It was in our favor.”
Florida State won 11 of the 16 events however it was the depth of the Seminole distance swimmers that separated the Noles from the 'Canes by recording sweeps in both the 1000 and 500 free races.
Starting the meet off with the 1000 free, freshman Madison Jacobi led the way touching with a time of 10:13.89, while junior Julia Henkel followed in second at 10:18.52. Fighting for third was freshman Lauren Hine, who edged out a Miami swimmer with a final time of 10:28.10.
“Whenever another team wins a race and you have to look to the next one and know you're either going to get it or they're going to take it,” Harper said. “It's all about momentum. We lost the medley, but we knew that our distance kids were good. Madison and Julia stepped up and separated themselves and Lauren did a nice job of taking third. It was a dominating performance from the group from top to bottom.”
Moving to the 200 free, junior Tiffany Oliver continued her reigns in the race, winning the event with a time of 1:51.88, while freshman Josie Cuda grabbed third with a mark of 1:53.09.
“We can rely on Tiffany to win that race,” Harper said. “Her primary races are the 50 and 100 free and she stepped up and won the 200. After that we got rolling and our confidence kept building.”
The Seminoles followed with a one-two punch in the 100 back with junior Ashley Hicks leading the way with a time of 57.38, just ahead of junior McKayla Lightbourn at 57.48.
Miami crept back into the meet behind a first and second place showing in the 100 breast. The Hurricanes followed that with a win in the 200 fly.
Switching to the 50 free, a strong event for the Noles, sophomore Kaitlyn Dressel won the splash-and-dash to remain unbeaten in the event with a time of 23.29. After Miami took a one-two shot in 1-meter diving, Dressel would place second behind Oliver in the 100 free after the break, as Florida State began to widen the gap with Miami.
Following their second one-two finish of the day, Lightbourn came back on the last 50 of the 200 back to win the event with a time of 2:03.28, while Hicks touched in third with a mark of 2:04.92.
Senior Kristine Polley posted a time of 2:19.97 en route to winning the 200 breast with sophomore Laura Flewelling coming in third with a read out of 2:22.91.
Adding the final blow to the 'Canes with the second one-two-three sweep on the day in the 500 free, Henkel touched in first with a time of 4:58.92. Following in second was Cuda with a 5:02.50, while Jacobi placed third with a mark of 5:02.74.
“We came out strong with a great second half,” Harper said. “Tiffany and Kaitlyn did really well by getting that one-two punch in the 100 free and McKayla had a great swim, coming from behind in the 200 back to win. Kristine got out in front in the 200 breast and the 500 free – those distance girls stepped up again. We just got on a roll and we were able to put the meet away.”
In diving, senior Ariel Rittenhouse picked up right where she left off in her first competition of the season. She won the 3-meter springboard with a score of 335.25.
“Our divers had some tough competition,” Harper said, “but Ariel was able to step up and have a great 3-meter and win.”
The Seminoles finished out the meet with senior Jamie Barrett winning the 200 IM with a time of 2:07.19 and Henkel followed shortly behind in second at 2:07.92. In addition, Florida State won the final event in the 200 free relay with the squad of Dressel, Oliver, freshman Kelsey Buckley and sophomore Katie Cook (1:35.26).
There isn't much rest for the Seminoles as they will be back in action on Saturday at 10 a.m. for a tri-meet against Florida Atlantic and Florida International.
The Florida State men's swimming and diving team will join the women at Florida International to open its dual meet season against Florida Atlantic.
“It's going to be fun for them to compete together,” Harper said. “They train together and I think the boys will boost the girls because they'll be tired. The girls did well but coming back the next day is a challenge. That's the mark of a good team – to bounce back and have a great second day of competition and to have a great and winning and if we can do that, it will speak volumes.”
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