The (No. 23/20) Florida State swimming and diving teams are ready for a top 25 showdown on Saturday at 10 a.m. against Big Ten powerhouse (No. 17/21) Minnesota at the Morcom Aquatics Center.
“Saturday is going to be an awesome way to start the dual season,” FSU head coach Neal Studd said. “Minnesota always has a great team and coaching staff. They’re consistently at the top of the Big Ten and one of the top programs in the nation with a lot of history. We’re going to have our hands full, but I think we’ve got a lot going for us too. We’re excited for the challenge. It’s parent’s weekend and our student-athletes are going to compete hard and we’re also racing for ‘Paint it Pink,’ which is another important cause to us. It’s going to be a great meet.”
FSU v Minnesota
In the men’s only meeting, the Seminoles edged out the Gophers in 2015-16 season on Oct.3, 158-42 behind a strong showing in both backstroke events in addition to the sprints. Also, the Seminoles went toe-to-toe on the boards and ultimately outscored the Gophers by one point on both 1-meter and 3-meter.
Minnesota leads the women’s series 2-0 after falling 54-41 in Pullman, Wash. in 2000 and 212-88 at home in 2016.
The teams will compete in the 16-event format, racing 100s and 200s of each stroke, the 1000, 500 and 50 free in addition to the 200 IM. The team will start the contest with the 200 medley relay and finish with the 200 free relay. Both 1-meter and 3-meter diving will run simultaneously to swimming.
Live timing will be available on sportstiming.com and via meet mobile
The third ‘Paint it Pink’ of 2017-18 will make its stop at the pool on Saturday. The Noles will support breast cancer awareness by wearing pink swim caps and pink shirts. Additionally, t-shirts will be available for a $10 donation and the proceeds benefit the Sharon Ewing Walker Breast Health Center at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.
The Seminoles will also welcome their families for parent’s weekend.
On the Noles
Florida State opens the dual season after finishing second at the All Florida Invite on Sept. 22-24. Despite the early start to the season, the Seminoles turned in 11 victories including four women’s relay wins. The Noles swept the ACC Performers of the Week as junior Kanoa Kaleoaloha and senior Alexi Smith won Swimmers of the Week while sophomore Ayla Bonniwell and senior Tyler Roberge were tabbed as the ACC Divers of the Week.
The women have caught the eyes of several watch lists after returning all of their individual point scorers from the NCAA Championships, including All-American and senior captain Natalie Pierce who finished fourth in the 100 breast (58.26). The Seminoles returned the ACC Diver of the Year, sophomore Molly Carlson as well as her classmate, Bonniwell who is the defending ACC champ on 1-meter.
The men’s team produced the biggest jump in program history at the ACC Championships behind a fifth place finish in 2017 and will look to build on that success. Senior captain Chad Mylin will lead this season after his All-ACC, bronze medal-winning performance at the ACC Championships in the 50 free in addition to helping FSU place 11th in the 200 free relay at the NCAA Championships.
Florida State boats one of the deepest diving units in the country, returning NCAA qualifiers Roberge and sophomore Aidan Faminoff. Sophomore Cameron Thatcher brings his talents to Tallahassee after placing 15th on 3-meter at the 2017 NCAA Championships while representing Stanford and freshman Joshua Davidson looks to make a statement in his rookie season after closing his junior career with gold (3-meter) and silver (1-meter) at the 2017 Junior Pan American Games last week.
All told, the Seminoles return 48 student-athletes and welcome 34 newcomers for the 2017-18 season.
Noles in the Polls
The first College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) poll was released on Oct. 4. The Florida State women’s team made its debut at No. 23 while the men came in at No. 20.
The Seminoles will face three more ranked squads in October on the road. The women will visit Duke (No. 20), while the men will face Arizona State (No. 8) and Virginia Tech (No. 19). In addition, the Virginia Tech and Arizona State women each received votes.
On the Gophers
The contest in Tallahassee, Fla. marks the first for Minnesota this season. The women’s team came in at No.17 in the first CSCAA poll, while the men are ranked 21st.
The women finished 2016-17 fourth in the Big Ten, 10th at NCAAs and had an 8-1 dual meet record. The Gophers return five All-American honorable mentions and the Big Ten Freshman of the Year – Tevyn Waddel (back, free).
The men’s team was a perfect 9-0 in duals, also finished fourth at the Big Ten Championships before taking 23rd at the NCAA Championships. After graduating 14 student-athletes, the Gophers will look to 17 veterans and 17 newcomers to build on 2016-17.
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Courtesy of Christa Salerno