Florida State On The Rise With Head Coach Neal Studd

In their first year under Head Coach Neal Studd, the Florida State Seminoles look to be on the rise. Studd, along with coaches Ozzie Quevedo, Dan Carrington, and Tiffany Clay, seems to be making quite a bit of progress with the team so far. While the big meets of this season have yet to come, things are certainly looking up in Tallahassee after their showing the the 2016 Georgia Fall Invitational.

Prior to Studd’s arrival, the team’s performances had declined over the past few seasons. The Seminoles had fallen from their former top 5 team status in the ACC to a 9th place finish for both the men and women in 2016. At the 2016 NCAA Championships, the FSU women were unable to place, as they had no scoring swimmers or divers. The men tied with Hawaii for 31st, and their only swimmer at the meet was Jason Coombs.

The Seminoles’ outlook is significantly better at the halfway point of the 2016-17 season. They’ve already picked up a few NCAA ‘A’ cuts, and several swimmers posted times that will very likely get them an invite to the big meet in March. In addition to that, they’ve already knocked down multiple school records this year.

If there was any criticism about Florida State choosing Studd as the new head coach, it was that he had previously had most of his success coaching women in the NCAA before Florida State. He coached men and women at Florida Atlantic, but only as an assistant. At Florida Gulf Coast, he built the program from literally nothing into a nationally-relevant program and over the last few years the best mid-major women’s program in the country. But he’d never really built a men’s program into a team that has a big impact at the NCAA Championships.

So far, however, he seems to be doing just fine in that department. At the Georgia Invite, the men automatically qualified their 200 free relay for the NCAA championships. Individually, Connor Kalisz (200 back), Jason Coombs (100 breast/200 breast), Jason McCormick (50 free), and Chad Mylin (50 free) posted times that put them in contention for bids to the NCAA meet.

When he convinced the team’s best swimmer last season Jason Coombs to return from ‘retirement’ for his senior season, the men’s team was already in a better spot than when Studd arrived, and the momentum has continued to build from there.

On the women’s side, FSU has automatically qualified the 200 medley relay for the NCAA meet. Breaststroker Natalie Pierce picked up an NCAA ‘A’ cut and a school record individually after blasting a 58.37 in the 100 breast. Tayla Lovemore (50 free/100 fly) is also likely to get an individual bid based on her midseason times. The women took down 3 relay school records at the Georgia Invite, including the 200 free relay, 200 medley relay, and 400 medley relay. The school record in the 200 breast also went down at the hands of Christina Loh.

SwimSwam recently scored a mock NCAA meet for the men’s and women’s teams based on their rankings at midseason. The Florida State men were 14th overall, with Louisville and NC State being the only 2 ACC teams ahead of them. The Seminole women were 16th, and ranked 4th among ACC teams behind Virginia, NC State, and Louisville. As of now, the team has 6 individuals, 3 women’s relays, and 3 men’s relays ranked in the top 16.

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Tinky Winky
4 years ago

Couldn’t agree anymore with this article! What a difference a year makes! GO NOLES!

Valeria Mendez
4 years ago

Great job Neal

4 years ago

Neal has done a great job, just one correction. He did coach both men and women at FAU and both were doing well. Between FAU and FGCU (before going to FSU) Neal has done well with swimmers in all the strokes and all the distances.
Keep it up.

4 years ago

FSU has always had the talent, just needed the right coach to make it happen! On behalf of all former FSU swimmers, GO NOLES!

4 years ago

So refreshing to know the swimmers, who have a short window of eligibility, are in a positive and productive environment. Well done coaches and athletes.

Captain Ahab
4 years ago

This great news!!! Neal Studd needs to offer those Davis twins from Bolles School a swimming scholarship. That should help build FSU sprint freestyle up since a majority of your points come from relays and freestyle events.

4 years ago

Way to go coach! I have a good feeling that y’all a’int seen nuthin yet! FSU will be a huge player at the national level in the very near future.

SEC alum
4 years ago

I was a little hesitant about another British man named Neal, after what some refer to as the lost decade. However, so far so good

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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