The No. 21 Florida State men’s swimming and diving team started out the 2018 NCAA Championships on Thursday by making history in the 200 free relay.
The team of junior William Pisani, seniors Chad Mylin, Joe Plechy and junior Kanoa Kaleoaloha finished in seventh place with a time of 1:16.27, capturing All-America accolades.
“We’re very excited for those guys,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said. “They executed and swam awesome. Making a championship final in so unbelievably hard and I’m just so proud of them.”
Florida State earned its spot in the final heat by placing sixth in prelims in school record timing of 1:16.13, lowering the mark that was set by the same squad at ACCs (1:16.30) for silver.
The performance marks the first time Florida State has scored in the event in back-to-back NCAAs since the Seminoles put together a stretch of four straight from 1996-99. It also ties the second best performance at nationals in the race in FSU history.
“We got up after it in the morning,” Studd said. “Two years ago, we didn’t have any relays competing at NCAAs and now we’ve scored in two straight and we’re planning on reloading and getting back after it next year.”
It is also the first men’s All-America performance in Studd’s career.
The Seminoles were on fire in prelims as all three swimmers competing turned in a career best time in the 50 free.
Pisani placed 20th individually at 19.29, however he led off the 200 free relay with a mark of 19.26. With that time, he lowered his third place mark in school history by two one-hundredths.
Mylin also followed suit, turning in a personal best of 19.32, lowering his time by three one-hundredths to remain as the fourth fastest in FSU history. He placed 22nd.
Kaleoaloha posted a time of 19.58, finishing 36th and moved up two spots in the FSU ranks to the eighth fastest swim all-time.
Freshman Joshua Davidson made his NCAA debut, placing 41st on 1-meter with a score of 267.85. Despite a rough start, the Tomball, Texas native rebounded in his final three dives, scoring a total of 179.35 on the back half of the round. Those three dives also included a 70.50 scoring front 3 ½ somersault tuck that received marks of 7.0.
“Today just wasn’t his day at the office,” FSU head diving coach John Proctor said. “But he’s tough and he’ll be back at it tomorrow in 3-meter.”
Sophomore Max Polianksi can make his debut and race in prelims of the 400 IM while Kaleoaloha and Pisani will compete in the 100 fly. The Seminoles will compete in the 200 medley relay before Davidson dives in 3-meter prelims at 1:15 p.m.
Florida State is in 16th place with 24 points.
Prelims will start at 11 a.m. each day with finals following at 7 p.m. The top 16 qualifiers will advance to finals, scoring points for the team.
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