GREENSBORO, N.C. – The swimming portion of the 2013 ACC Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center started off with a record-breaking performance from the men’s 200 medley relay. The team of Pavel Sankovich, Jared Pike, Mark Weber and Paul Murray won gold while setting an ACC meet, conference and FSU school record with a time of 1:24.84.
“It was good to get those races under our belts,” head coach Neil Harper said. “We got the jitters out, swam fast and got the meet off to a great start.”
Sankovich worked his magic in the 50 back, splitting a blazing 20.99 giving the Seminoles about a half-second lead over the rest of the field. Pike dove in swimming a 24.62 breaststroke leg, holding the lead for the experienced veterans in the back half of the race.
Weber swam the fastest 50 fly split of 20.33 of his career, giving Murray a good amount of clean water to work with. Murray brought it home for the gold with a mark of 18.90 – the fastest of his career.
“Our take-offs were a little safe, but that was a great relay,” Harper said. “We led the whole way and I think that race sent the message that we’re here and ready to swim fast.”
Sankovich, Pike, Weber and Murray’s race will go down in ACC history as they broke the conference record by over a second set by Duke at the 2012 meet with a 1:25.98. This is the first ACC record for Sankovich and Pike, however Weber and Murray hold the ACC record as members of the 200 free relay, which will lead off tomorrow night’s finals.
In addition, the foursome took down the school record that was set in 2009 by Andy Hodgson, Scott Thacker, Jarryd Botha and Ed Denton of 1:26.14.
That mark of 1:24.84 automatically qualifies the Seminoles for the NCAA Championships on March 28-30. It is the third NCAA ‘A’ standard that FSU has made this season (200, 400 free relays).
In addition, Florida State ties Arizona with the fourth fastest time in the country this year.
With all the energy from the first race, the Seminoles recharged for the 800 free relay, taking fourth place.
Murray swam his second race of the night, leading off with another career best of 1:36.68 putting the Seminoles in the middle of the pack.
“That was a great lead off for Paul,” Harper said. “He’s one of the fastest sprinters in the country and the 200 can be a little bit long, but he went his best time by two seconds.”
Senior Trice Bailey split a 1:37.21, holding the Seminoles in fifth place.
In the third leg of the race, Kevin Rogers swam a 1:35.81 leaving the Seminoles dead even with Virginia Tech in a fight for fourth and fifth place.
Sophomore Juan Sequera finished that race with a 1:38.09 split, good enough for an initial fifth place finish, however due to a disqualification, Florida State moved up to take fourth with time of 6:27.73.
“Trice did fine job and he had a good split,” Harper said. “Kevin swam a very smart and confident race and in result he split his best time by about two seconds. Juan got caught up in the race a little and used his legs too early, but that was the first time for him on that relay and we got a ‘B’ cut, so that’s a positive.”
Prelims will start tomorrow at 11 a.m. with the 500 free. The 200 IM and 50 free will follow. Finals begin at 7 p.m. and will lead off with the 200 free relay.
After a pair of relays, the 15th- ranked Seminoles are in first place with 70 points, just ahead of Virginia (68), Virginia Tech (66) and North Carolina (64).