INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- Florida State junior Tiffany Oliver got right to work at the 2013 NCAA Championships by placing 10th in the 50 free with a time of 22.23.
“I’m very proud of Tiffany,” head coach Neil Harper said. “She swam well all year and at ACC’s and she was able to deliver at the biggest meet of the season. It speaks volumes and I am glad her hard work paid off. Now, she’s considered as one of the top 10 (sprinters) in the country and that’s something to be proud of on top of scoring seven big points and getting Florida State on the board.”
The Southwest Ranches, Fla. native posted a 22.36 in prelims, qualifying her in 13th position for the consolation heat of the event.
“I think that she got relay out of the way and dusted off the cobwebs,” Harper said. “She went a little faster in prelims and even faster at night. She put things right at finals and I was glad to see her get down to around her best times.”
Working out of lane two, Oliver used her momentum off the turn, switch to her closing speed on the last 25-yards of the race to touch second in the heat. She was just behind Natalie Hinds of Florida (22.12).
“She looked strong closing on her 50 tonight,” Harper said. “That’s great news for Saturday when she swims the 100.”
The 10th place finish marks the best showing in the event for the Seminoles since the 2002 season, when Christy Cech placed ninth.
With that swim Oliver garners All-American honorable mention accolades, which also has not been done in the event since Cech. Oliver becomes just the fourth female in FSU history to score points in the 50 free on the national level.
Oliver started off the day by leading off the 200 free relay, which took 17th place. Joining her were sophomores Kaitlyn Dressel, Katie Cook and Grace Hoffman who posted an overall time of 1:30.28.
“It’s experience,” Harper said “This is the fastest meet in the world and for a lot of these athletes it takes so much to just make it here. You may be top 30 at this meet, but you may be the top 50 or 60 in the world and that just speaks volumes about this meet. With Madison, Katie, Kaitlyn and Grace swimming their first NCAA’s is big. Kaitlyn had a great relay split and we had one of the fastest front 100’s in the race. Grace was a great anchor, but we just missed out on finals.”
Three other Seminoles competed in prelims of the meet. Freshman Madison Jacobi made her NCAA debut in the 500 free, touching with a time of 4:50.90.
“It was a big occasion for Madison,” Harper said. “It was not her best but it’s tough to rebound after an amazing ACC’s . I think she will bounce back for the mile. She has a day of rest and we’ll see what she can do.”
Dressel also swam the 50 free individual, swimming a time of 23.04.
Junior Kelsey Goodman made her first appearance on the boards, scoring a 204.40 on 1-meter.
“It’s Kelsey’s first time here too,” Harper said. “Our ladies gained valuable experience and none of these girls are seniors, so this is something we can use for next year too.”
The Seminoles will be back in action on day two of the meet. Dressel will exercise her option to swim the 200 free and sophomore Elizabeth Pepper is expected to make her debut in the 100 fly. Florida State will field the 800 free relay, just before Goodman dives in the 3-meter springboard event.
Prelims will begin at 11 a.m. and finals for the meet will start at 7 p.m. with the top 16 advancing to the evening session in each event. For more information, check back to Seminoles.com, Facebook and Twitter.