WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
February 26, 2013
Tiffany Oliver of South Florida Aquatic Club walked away from last week’s Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships with two gold medals in individual events and unwavering confidence for the upcoming NCAA Division I Championships.
The Florida State junior won the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events finishing ahead of Olympian and 2012 ACC Swimmer of the Year Lauren Perdue of Virginia.
In the 100-yard freestyle, Oliver came from behind to overtake Perdue to win in a school record and lifetime best 48.19, just two days after winning the 50-yard freestyle in 22.17, another school record and best time.
Oliver trailed Perdue at every turn during the four-lap race before surging to the wall in the final ten yards.
“She is gaining confidence,” FSU coach Neil Harper said. “She had success in the 50 earlier in the meet and she swam well in relays so we knew it was coming. It was just a great performance and she paced herself well throughout the race and just took off in the end to win it.”
On the final night, Oliver won a silver medal and broke another school record in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Swimming anchor leg, Oliver closed the gap and reeled in Perdue again to take a silver. Oliver’s split was 47.24. The relay finished in 3:16.54 with Kaitlyn Dressel, Kelsey Buckley, Katie Cook and Oliver.
Oliver also swam 1:46.77 in the 200-yard freestyle prelims.
Oliver earned All-ACC Conference honors.
Florida State, ranked No. 22 in the nation, finished fourth as a team with 497 points behind defending champion Virginia (832), Virginia Tech (536) and North Carolina (508).
“That was one of the best team efforts and success we’ve had in about six or seven years,” Harper said. “The team points don’t quite measure up to the success we had with our “A” cuts and school records and lifetime best times we got.”
Another Florida Gold Coast swimmer, FSU junior Ashley Hicks, swam a lifetime best 1:56.98 in the 200-yard backstroke to finish sixth.
The men’s ACC competition is Feb. 28-March 2 in Greensboro, N.C. FSU is ranked No. 15 in the nation and features FGC swimmers Paul Murray, who will compete in the 50- and 100-yard meter and Connor Knight in the 100-yard butterfly.
Kuczynski Makes Final PAC-12 Meet Appearance
Caroline Kuczynski, who frequently trains with SOFLO during college breaks, will make her final appearance in the four-day PAC-12 Championships that begin Wednesday in Federal Way, Wash.
Kuczynski, Arizona State team captain, is among favorites in the butterfly events. Kuczynski is a 2016 Canadian Olympic hopeful. ASU is ranked No. 25 in the nation.
ASU will compete against No. 1 USC, No. 2 California, No. 4 Stanford, No. 6 Arizona and No. 14 UCLA.
Back-to-back national champion California is the favorite despite losing to Arizona and No. 1 ranked USC in dual meets.
PAC-12s are the last chance for swimmers to make NCAA cuts.
Schwab Competes In Big 10 Championships
Another Florida Gold Coast swimmer, 2012 Olympian Nick Schwab and his Indiana teammates will host the Big 10 Men’s Championships Wednesday through Saturday at Indiana University’s Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center in Bloomington, Ind.
Nine out of the 12 individual winners from the 2012 Championships return to defend their titles including four from defending team champion Michigan.
Indiana is ranked No. 8 in the nation.
Last weekend Minnesota won the Big 10 women’s team title for the second consecutive year and fifth overall. Minnesota won with 831.5 points and Indiana was second with 671.5.
Minnesota coach Kelly Kremer was named Women’s Coach of the Year. Lindsay Vrooman of Indiana was named Swimmer of the Meet and Brooklyn Snodgrass of Indiana won Freshman of the Year.
Florida Gators, Georgia Win SEC Championships
University of Florida men’s team broke Auburn’s streak of 16-straight SEC Championships, the third longest streak in SEC sports history, won the men’s title with 1,408 points.
The Gators won four individual events and one relay.
“It’s great for the guys,” Gators coach Gregg Troy said. “We have been chasing Auburn and nipping at their heels every year and we have been close a couple of them. I think this kind of takes us over the top from the standpoint that it gets the monkey off our back.
“It’s a good building point towards the NCAA meet and it’s not an end in itself but it certainly is a good conference win.”
Junior Marcin Cieslak won two events in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly.
The Gator women’s team finished third with 1,190.5 points. Georgia won its fourth straight SEC team title and Texas A&M was second.
Olympian Elizabeth Beisel won the 400-yard individual medley and 200-yard backstroke for the third consecutive year. Freshman Natalie Hinds won the 100-yard butterfly.
Florida Gold Coast swimmer Luke Torres made his SEC debut as a freshman a memorable one. Torres made his NCAA “B” cut in the 200-yard butterfly, winning the “B” final in 1:46 and also swam a best time in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:00.87 to finish 22nd.
Several other Florida Gold Coast swimmers competed for the Gators including Carlos Omana, Ryan Rosenbaum and Lindsey McKnight. Omana was fifth in the 1,650-yard freestyle in 14:55.53. Rosenbaum, a freshman, was 31st in the 1,650 in 15:42.37. Torres posted a lifetime-best in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:00.87 to finish 22nd.
Three U.S. Olympians set two American records during the meet. Olympic gold medalists Shannon Vreeland and Allison Schmitt along with Georgia teammates Megan Romano and Jordan Mattern set the American, U.S. Open, NCAA and SEC record in the women’s 800-yard freestyle in 6:52.40.
Olympian Breeja Larson of Texas A&M set the American, U.S. Open, NCAA and SEC record in the 100-yard breaststroke in 57.43.
Hinds was named SEC Female Freshman Swimmer of the Year; Beisel won the Commissioner’s Trophy Award for high point winner and Troy was named SEC Men’s Coach of the Year.
Grigull Medals At MAAC Championships
Florida Gold Coast swimmer Justin Grigull of Iona College finished third in the 100-yard freestyle in 45.98 at the MACC Championships in Buffalo, N.Y. He was also third in the 200-yard freestyle in a lifetime-best 1:40.80, qualifying for ECAC “A”. On the opening day, he was third in the 500-yard freestyle in 3:34.50, another ECAC “A” time. Iona finished ninth among teams. Grigull, a junior, was a member of the seventh place 400-yard freestyle relay.
Polyakov Makes Coaching Debut; O’Shaughnessy Competes At Big East Championships
Three-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov and former Florida Gold Coast Swimmer of the Year, in his first year as assistant coach at Louisville, will make his coaching debut at the Big East Conference Championships at the IUPUI Natatorium Wednesday through Saturday.
Another FGC swimmer, Ryan O’Shaughnessy, a senior breaststroker at Seton Hall, is among favorites.
O’Shaughnessy is coming off a successful tri-meet against Georgetown and Villanova on Feb. 9. He was third in the 100-yard butterfly in 53.39 and third in the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:14.41. He also was a member of the third-place 200-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays.
O’Shaughnessy is one of 17 swimmers at the Big East meet.
Notre Dame and Louisville head the nine-team field. Former Pine Crest swimmer Austin Evenson, a freshman, will compete in the distance events for Georgetown. Joao de Lucca is Louisville’s top sprinter and will swim the 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyles. Louisville’s Kameron Chastain and Addison Bray are the top two seeds in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Florida Gulf Coast Wins CCSA Team Title
Florida Gulf Coast women’s team won the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Swimming and Diving Championships for the fifth consecutive year. The Eagles won with 712 points.
Emma Svensson of FGCU was named Most Outstanding Freshman Performer of the Meet after winning the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke including two with NCAA “B” cut times. She was also a member of the winning 200- and 400-yard medley relays.
FGCU head coach Neal Studd was named Women’s Swimming Coach of the Year for the third time.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com