Men’s 200 Free Relay Punches Ticket to NCAA Championships
By Christa Salerno
ATHENS, Ga. – The Florida State swimming and diving teams made history on the first night of the Georgia Fall Invite at the Gabrielsen Natatorium on Friday. The men’s 200 free relay started the night by punching its ticket to the 2017 NCAA Championships with an automatic qualifying time of 1:17.33 before the women’s 400 medley relay set a new school record with a time of 3:33.43.
The team of senior Jason McCormick, sophomore Kanoa Kaleoaloha, junior Chad Mylin and sophomore Will Pisani grabbed second in the event en route to securing a relay spot at the NCAA Championships for the first time since the 2013-14 season.
McCormick led off with a personal best time of 19.45 while Mylin’s split was the fastest in the field and of his career, clocking a blazing, 18.86.
Juniors Ariel Barber, Natalie Pierce and Tayla Lovemore along with senior Lydia Ware closed out the night by taking down the school record in the 400 medley relay that was set in 2014 by Bianca Spinazzola, Samantha Pochowski, Chelsea Britt and Kaitlyn Dressel at 3:34.02.
Barber led off with a career best time of 54.22 before Pierce (57.91), Lovemore (52.25) and Ware (49.05) followed with theirs. Together, they finished fifth.
“It was just an amazing day of racing,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said. “Today was about a bunch of student-athletes having fun and believing in themselves. I couldn’t be prouder of what they did today.”
In addition to the pair of relays, the Seminoles had 11 performances that made the all-time top 10 list.
Individually, the men started the night with junior Calvin Bryant competing in the top heat of the 500 free, moving up to seventh with a time of 4:23.56.
Sophomore Max Polianski made his debut in the Garnet and Gold, placing 12th in the 200 IM with a time of 1:46.09.
Three Seminoles competed in the championship final as Mylin finished third in the individual 50 free with a time of 19.54 while McCormick followed in fourth at 19.57. Kaleoaloha finished eighth with a final mark of 20.23.
In the B final, sophomore Emir Muratovic set a new career best with a time of 19.98, finishing 10th while Pisani was 12th at 20.08 which was his personal best.
Three of the FSU all-time top 10 performances came in the women’s 200 IM led by sophomore Meg Brown, who won the C final with the third fastest mark with a personal best of 1:58.96. Ware also turned in her best in prelims at 1:59.08, which ranks fifth all-time. She was 13th at finals with a time of 1:59.94.
In addition to Brown and Ware, Lovemore finished 19th, posting a time of 2:00.72, which was good enough for the 10th fastest swim all-time.
Lovemore came back and won the consolation heat of the 50 free, swimming a 22.10, just missing the school record by eight-one hundredths of a second.
“This is one of our best events,” Studd said. “With those times from Jason, Chad and Tayla, we’re optimistic they’ll earn the individual NCAA invite.”
Three Seminoles earned second swims in the 500 free as sophomore Michelle Turek placed 16th with a final time of 4:54.03 after turning in her personal best in prelims of 4:50.16.
Senior Katy Stringfield and Alex Wittman competed in the C final as Stringfield placed 21st with a personal best of 4:51.27 while Wittman finished 24th (4:55.21).
In the women’s 3-meter springboard, freshman Ayla Bonniewell placed seventh with a score of 280.50 while junior Blaire Mulka was 14th at 257.10.
Freshman Aidan Faminoff led the Seminoles on the boards with an eighth place finish on 1-meter with a score of 281.55 while junior Tyler Roberge (267.95) followed in 11th. Senior Dylan Grisell was 16th at 229.80.
“It was great to see this team back on top again,” Studd said. “This was an incredible day and we can’t wait for tomorrow.”
Saturday’s events will include the 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back and 800 free relay. The women will compete on 1-meter while the men will contest 3-meter.
Live timing will be available through the meet mobile app, while live diving results can be found at divemeets.com. For more information, visit Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.