Seminoles Shine at Speedo Southern Sectionals

Photo Courtesy: Florida State Athletics

Members of the Florida State swimming teams competed at the 2015 Speedo Southern Sectional Meet in Orlando, Fla., which ran from July 9-12 and was held at the YMCA Aquatic Center.

The Seminoles showed major progress by improving on 56 entry times from 32 swimmers.

“We swam very well this weekend,” FSU head coach Frank Bradley said. “There were a ton of improvements and a lot of career best times. I was very pleased and proud of the effort all the way around this weekend and I love the spirit of the team heading into the season after this meet. We still have a few more heading to nationals this summer, but this was a great showing by these athletes.”

The majority of the FSU swimmer represented Club Seminole, which took fourth in the men’s team standings and placed seventh in the combined scores. Florida State had athletes score points in 27 races on top of winning five.

Securing two wins in the distance races was rising freshman Summer Finke, who qualified for the 2016 US Olympic Trials in both the 400m and 800m free races. Finke was victorious in the 800m free (8:41.57) and the 1500m free (16:36.23) as both events were career best marks.

She added silver in the 400m free with a time of 4:14.68, which also was another personal best time.

“Summer did fantastic,” Bradley said. “She absolutely crushed it. She’s been in Tallahassee for a few weeks and we’re really liking what we’re seeing from her. I can’t wait to see how she does her first collegiate season.”

In addition to the distance events, Finke also swam the 200m free where she placed seventh (2:04.51) and 16th in the 200 back (2:26.02) while representing St. Petersburg Aquatics.

Also winning events were rising junior Jason Coombs and former Seminoles Jared Pike and Connor Knight.

Coombs led the way in the 50m breast with a career best of 28.74, finishing one one-hundredth ahead of Pike (28.75), but Pike took the 100m breast with a season best time of 1:02.50.

“Coombs had a solid meet,” Bradley said. “I thought our professional guys were great and I was very pleased with Jared’s 100. He looked great in that race.”

Both the 50m and 100m breast were strong for Club Seminole as redshirt freshman Rafael Van Leeuwaarde placed third in the 50m behind Coombs and Pike with a career best time of 29.07 after taking sixth place at 1:05.36 in the 100m.

Also placing fourth in the 100m breast was rising sophomore Storm Hewitt, who touched with a career best mark of 1:04.60.

Knight grabbed a win in the 200m fly with a final time of 2:00.08. He was also second in the 50m fly (24.19) and the 100m fly (53.02), touching ahead of the third place finishing Pavel Sankovich in both races.

“Connor did very well,” Bradley said. “He will be one of those guys that heads to nationals later this summer, so I think he’s in a great spot to improve in the beginning of August. Pavel was solid. This meet isn’t where his focus is, he’s getting ready for the World Championships, so he’s right where he needs to be in training. He was back home training and he came back and looks great. August should be a good month for those guys.”

Earning a national cut time in the 100m fly was rising senior Cole Hensley, who touched in fourth with a career best time of 54.61. Hensley also placed fifth in both the 50m fly (24.70) and 200m fly (2:03.48).

“Cole dropped some significant time,” Bradley said. “He did very well. He will be a strength for us this season.”

Rising senior Josie Cuda competed in the top heats of the 100m, 200m, and 400m free races in addition to the 100m fly, where she captured best times in all four races.

Cuda finished seventh in the 100m free (57.72), fourth in the 200m free (2:03.61), sixth in the 400m free (4:22.65) and eighth in the 100m fly (1:03.17).

“That was an excellent effort by Josie,” Bradley said. “She stepped up and performed very well.”

Also dropping time in the 200m free were incoming freshmen Noah Hensley and Emir Muratovic. Hensley finished in seventh with a time of 1:53.48, just ahead of Muratovic who was eight at 1:53.58 following a five-second drop in the race.

“Noah had a pretty busy weekend and Emir really showed us something,” Bradley said. “That was a big drop in that event. There were also a few other incoming freshmen that earned second swims in both scoring and non-scoring heats and were either under or right at their times. That is very encouraging.”

The Seminoles also had great gains from the men’s 50m and 100m free with 13 swims at finals between the two events.

On Saturday, rising junior Jason McCormick led the way in the 50m by placing third with a time of 23.04, while Muratovic finished fifth (23.57). Knight took sixth (23.59) and rising senior Ian Apple finished seventh (23.64).

Rising sophomore Joe Plechy saw a near two-second drop in the race as he touched in 12th in the B-Final at 23.73. Upcoming freshman John Vann placed 15th with a final time of 24.04.

Rookie Kaneoa Kaleoaloha (23.78) and sophomore Soren Evans (24.84) swam in the ‘C’ and ‘D’ heats of the race as well.

In the 100m, McCormick took silver at 51.26 ahead of Muratovic (51.34), who grabbed bronze.  Vann placed 11th (52.43), Kaleoaloha was 19th (53.21) and Evans placed 25th (53.69).

“There were a couple guys that also had great swims in prelims that didn’t make finals at night,” Bradley said. “It’s just the way they stack finals, but I was very pleased with those sprinters. A lot of guys swam their best times and made it back. Those races could factor with relays, which are a big part of what we do. We didn’t have any relays at NCAA’s last season and that is something we must improve on.”

The above article is a press release submitted to Swimming World. To reach our audience, contact us at newsmaster@swimmingworld.com.

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Author: Diana Pimer

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Diana Pimer was a breaststroke/IMer at Keene State College and is the NEISDA Conference record holder in the 200 IM. She is currently an Age Group Coach at AGUA in New York City and has covered major competitions for Swimming World including the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, 2015 and 2017 FINA World Championships, USA Swimming Nationals and more.

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