ACC Weekly Preview: New-Look Seminoles Host Gators In Tallahassee

Photo Courtesy: Florida State Athletics

This week figures to be a quiet one on the ACC calendar with only two dual meets scheduled plus two invites. Highlighting the schedule will be the Florida State Seminoles, who get their first season under new head coach Neal Studd underway after weather forced the cancellation of their originally-planned season opener.

Meet of the Week: Florida at Florida State, 2 p.m. Thursday

Duke and Minnesota never got to Tallahassee last week as Hurricane Matthew made for unfriendly weather conditions, but the Florida Gators will have no trouble making the trek northwest on I-75 and I-10 this week for the Sunshine State showdown.

The Seminoles finished ninth at both the women’s and men’s ACC championships a season ago, but Studd and his entirely-new coaching staff are fired up to lead the program to a brighter future.

“I just can’t imagine [the transition] could have gone any better. The kids are totally on board,” Studd said. “I feel like we’ve created a nice culture, a very positive culture.”

The Noles bring all five of their NCAA qualifiers from last year, and Studd expects to see big things out of his sprint freestylers, led by senior Jason McCormick, junior Chad Mylin and sophomore Kanoa Kaleoaloha, as well as versatile upperclassmen Chase Kalisz and Stefan Stojmenovic and junior breaststrokers Natalie Pierce and Christina Loh.

The Seminoles will have an early chance to test themselves against some of the top competition in the country, particularly on the men’s side. The Gators were third at the men’s NCAA championships last year, and they have a stellar core consisting of Caeleb DresselMitch D’ArrigoJan Switkowski and Maxime Rooney.

The women’s meet figures to be much tighter as Florida lost its only NCAA A-finalist (Natalie Hinds) to graduation. But this year’s Gator freshman, including Sherridon DresselSavanna Faulconer and Alyssa Yambor-Maul, were impressive in leading the team to a win at the All-Florida Invitational the first weekend of the month.

It may not have been the original plan to swim the Gators in Studd’s first dual meet at the helm, but the coach is not complaining.

“Excited that Florida’s coming to us,” he said. “They’ve obviously had a huge success throughout the history of their program. Anytime Florida and Florida State meet in any sport is a big occasion.”

Penn State at Virginia Tech, 11 a.m. Saturday

The Hokies will open up their home schedule this weekend when they take on visitors from State College, Pa. Tech senior Robert Owen was named ACC Swimmer of the Week for his efforts the last time out when he led his team to a win at the Florida Gulf Coast Classic. Owen swept the 200 back and both IMs at that meet, and he already has two NCAA B-cuts.

Watch out for the versatile Norbert Szabo and breaststroker Brandon Fiala to make an impact for the Hokie men, and on the women’s side, Fiona DonnellyJessica Hespeler and Klaudia Nazieblo are both coming off wins down in Florida.

Penn State, meanwhile, is headlined by Irish Olympian Shane Ryan, returning from his redshirt year to prepare for Rio. Ryan figures to be a high-impact NCAA scorer in the backstroke events.

Louisville & Miami at SMU Classic (women only), Friday & Saturday

Louisville took on Michigan in a two-day dual meet last weekend, and now both women’s teams will be in the field at the SMU Classic in Dallas. Each of the six squads in attendance bring nine women to compete—eight swimmers and one diver.

The Cardinals figure to put on fast suits for the first time this year, so expect some quick times from the likes of Andrea CottrellMallory Comerford, Rachael Bradford-Feldman and talented freshman Grace Oglesby. Read more about Louisville’s trip to Ann Arbor here.

Also competing this weekend will be the squad from Miami. The Hurricanes opened up their season at home against Florida International October 1 (the meet was delayed one day due to weather) and won 161-101. Julie Suarez and Christina Leander each won two events in their first racing opportunity of the season, and both figure to contend in Dallas as well.

In addition to the Wolverines, Cardinals and Hurricanes, USC, UCLA and the host SMU Mustangs are also expected to be in attendance.

Boston College at Northeast Catholic Invite

The BC Eagles will compete at home for the second straight weekend when they host the Northeast Catholic Invite. Both the men’s and women’s teams fell to both Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech last Saturday before the men took down Bryant Sunday.


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6 years ago

Chase Kalisz swims for UGA?

6 years ago

Leila Johnston