CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Jan. 11. THE 25th-ranked Florida State men’s swimming and diving team upset No. 14 North Carolina with a 158-142 victory in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Saturday.
The Seminoles added their 10th win of the year by sweeping their tri-meet competition by defeating Rutgers, 201-97. FSU remained undefeated in the conference at 3-0, while extending its overall record to 10-2.
The Seminoles earned their 10th victory for the second straight year one day after the women’s squad reached the same accomplishment. Head coach Neil Harper, who is in his fourth season at the helm of both the men’s and women’s teams, became the first FSU head coach in school history to lead both squads to double digits wins in consecutive years. The feat is more outstanding when factoring in that the men’s program is in its 54th year and the women’s in its 27th year.
FSU’s strength and depth in nearly every event led to Saturday’s sweep over top national competition. The Tribe won nine of the meet’s 16 events, while finishing in the top three 18 times.
The Seminoles started off the meet on a strong note by placing first and third in first event, the 200-medley relay. The squad of seniors Devin Crock, Joey Marshburn and Nnamnse Ammons with junior Wickus Nienaber won the relay with a time of 1:31.55. In third place with a time of 1:32.58 was senior Justin Betts, junior Michael Paulus, sophomore Michael Averett and freshman Chris Vythoulkas.
Crock and Ammons each went on to add two more first-place finishes and a second-place finish. Crock won both the 100-yard backstroke (50.57) and 100-butterfly (48.89), while settling for second-place honors in the 200-fly (1:51.88). Ammons placed first in the 100-freestyle (45.95) and was the Seminoles’ top finisher in the 50-free with a second-place finish (20.56). Ammons, joined by seniors Joey Marshburn and Matt Carmen and Vythoulkas, helped seal the upset victory by winning the 400-free relay at 3:02.13.
Sophomore diver Louie Gagnet played a big role in the win by placing first on the one-meter (297.90) and three-meter (346.20) springboard events.
Nienaber and Betts turned in strong performances for the Tribe. Nienaber won the 100-breaststroke at 56.10 and was second in the 200-breast (2:03.72). Betts was third in both breaststroke events and was able to touch the wall first in the 200-IM at 1:53.08.
Other top performances for the Seminoles were turned in by junior Fernando Jacome in the 200-free (second, 1:40.99), freshman Joel Roycik in the 100-free (second, 45.97) and Vythoulkas in the 100-fly (third, 50.97).
The Seminoles will end their dual meet season on Jan. 25 with a home meet against LSU at noon at the Bobby Leach Center.