TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For the third time in school history the Florida State women’s swimming and diving team defeated the Florida Gators. The 24th - ranked Seminoles pulled off the upset against the No. 11 Florida squad with a score of 157-143 at the Morcom Aquatics Center on Thursday.
“This feel great,” head coach Neil Harper said. “Florida is a great team. We are both in the same situation where we are training hard. If gives us confidence to know that we can train hard and still perform like that and race and I’m real happy that we won. We don’t back down from the Gators we say ‘hey, we’re going to race with you.’ We’ve got great leaders and great captains. It was great top to bottom and it was a lot of fun.”
The women jumped out in front with a one-two showing in 3-meter diving. Senior Ariel Rittenhouse captured victory with a score of 359.93 , a mark which was six points shy of the school record. Junior Kelsey Goodman placed second with a score of 289.13.
In the pool, The Seminoles kept the ball rolling and won six of the seven events before the first break. In the 200 medley relay as junior Tiffany Oliver came back on the last leg to win the event for FSU with a season best time of 1:43.55. Oliver was joined by junior McKayla Lightbourn, freshman Sami Pochowski and Bianca Spinazzola.
After surrendering a one-two finish to the Gators in the 1000 free, sophomore Kaitlyn Dressel held on and claimed first place in the 200 free with a career best time of 1:49.14.
Spinazzola turned to her strength and used her underwater fly kicks in the 100 back to win the event from lane 8 with a career best time of 55.18. Lightbourn was third at 57.09 and junior Ashley Hicks took fourth with a 57.37.
Pochowski won the 100 breast with a time of 1:03.21 while senior Kristine Polley placed third with a mark of 1:05.19.
Sophomore Elizabeth Pepper held on to defeat two-time U.S. Olympian Elizabeth Beisel in the 200 fly, posting a season best time of 2:00.18. It was her second time in her career that she defeated Beisel in the event.
The women’s 1-meter diving concluded with Rittenhouse taking her second victory of the day with a score of 306.15 and Goodman placed second with a mark of 290.70.
“The diving helped tremendously,” Harper said. “We started diving early and our swimmers got to watch them dominate. Being at home is a big advantage. Our divers dominate when they’re in their own pool. For us to look over in warm ups and see our guys winning was a real confidence boost.”
After the first break, Florida State came out blazing in the 100 free as Oliver came back to beat Dressel in the 100 free. Oliver was first with a season best 49.88 and Dressel clocked a 50.09.
The Seminoles surrendered the next four events to Florida, but Florida State was able to stop the momentum of the Gators with a second, third and fourth place showing in the 100 fly. Pepper placed second with a season best of 55.74 while Spinazzola took third with her best at 56.86 and freshman Mary Elizabeth King was fourth with a 57.24.
After the second break, the Seminoles surrendered a one-two-three sweep in the 200 IM leaving the meet to be decided in the 400 free relay.
The team of Oliver, Dressel freshman Kelsey Buckley and Pepper got out and front and held on to the lead to win the event and the meet with a time of 3:23.74.
“With Tiffany and Pepper stepping up today, our team realizes that they train with them and that they can do that too,” Harper said. “That’s what we saw today, instead of people getting sixth, they were getting fifth – instead of third, they were getting second. We got on a roll and we gave ourselves every chance. It was a lot of fun.”
The women remain unbeaten and move to 10-0 on the season.
The second- ranked Florida men’s team defeated the No. 19 FSU team by the score of 167-133. The Men are now 5-2 on the year.
Starting on 1-meter for the men, the Seminoles placed first, third and fourth with Tom Neubacher handily winning the event with a score of 346.28. Junior Mikey Lewark was third with a mark of 305.33 and senior Nick Klein placed fourth at 284.78.
The Seminoles won their first swimming event in the 100 back, when senior Brad Morrison took 100 back from the outside lane eight with a time of 50.89.
Senior Mark Weber got out in front and won the 50 free with a time of 50.17.
In 3-meter diving, the Seminoles came back and swept the event with Neubacher winning with a score of 379.73. Klein was second at 306.45 and Lewark took third with a score of 295.80.
The Seminole sprinters came out and touched in first and third in the 100 free as Weber won with a 44.75 and Murray was third at 45.37.
Sophomore Josh Friedel won the 200 back with a time of 1:48.10, while Morrison finish third with a season best of 1:50.52 and junior Mike Thomas placed 1:50.85.
The Seminoles will head to Atlanta, Ga. for the Georgia Tech Invite, starting on Nov. 3.