The swimming and diving team glided into fourth place overall at the Southern States Conference (SSC) Championships held February 13 -16.
This fourth place finish saved Head Coach Jorge Olaves from having to shave off all of his hair, as he promised to do if the team finished among the top 3.
Two of the three teams that Olaves previously mentioned as stiff competition were in fact medal finishers.
The University of Tampa placed first overall with a total of 1,470 points. College of Charleston was second with a combined 1,103.5 points. The University of North Florida swam into third place with a total of 753 points. The Rattlers had a combined score of 521.5 points to take the fourth place spot overall.
Although they were out of medal standings, it was another story in various individual events. FAMU won three gold, one silver and two bronze medals in the conference.
Arie Muhammad powered to the first place finish in the 100-yard backstroke, with a time of 57.89, breaking FAMU record and falling short of the conference record by one second. Muhammad also placed third in the 50m freestyle.
In diving, Gary Banks held off his competition to place first in both the 1m and 3m events.
Minkah Cobb-Phillips was close behind Banks as he received silver in the 3m event and a bronze in the 1m.
The coaches also had the opportunity to capture prizes.
FAMU’s Terry Allen was named Diving Coach of the conference. He received a plaque for his efforts. Although none of the Rattler team members qualified for the SSC team, they managed to still set the pace for breaking records.
Douglas Carrington, a sophomore from New York broke the 200 backstroke with a preliminary time of 2:07.71. Torrence Ford held the previous record. He placed eighth in the final.
Ford broke his previous record from this season in the 200 IM from 2:01.72 to 2:00.07. Brandon Little broke his personal record in the 200-meter freestyle event from 1:49.36 to 1:47.78.
In the 200-yard breaststroke, both Carnisha Moses and Jarlyn Johnson passed the previous record of 2:53.51.
Moses, a junior from Florida, made a time of 2:52.29. Johnson, a freshman from Louisiana, was right behind her with a time of 2:52.49.
The women’s relay team consisting of Talia Hicks from Maryland, Jarlyn Johnson of Louisiana, Davida Martin of Florida and Arie Muhammad of Georgia displayed their versatility in the various strokes.
They cut nearly 40 seconds off the previous record in the 400-yard medley relay to establish a new time from 4:59.71 to 4:19.13. The quartet also broke records in the 200 Medley and freestyle relays. They shaved nearly a minute off the previous time in the 400 yd freestyle relay from 4:47.00 to a whopping 3:49.21.
According to Olaves, the team’s overall performance was good.
“We accomplished what we set out to do and we can see the results in the records that we broke. The Conference is good for them to get new perspective of what they need to do,” Olaves said. “It shows them that they’ ll need to work harder for next year if they want to upkeep and better the high standards that they have set.”
Olaves will move from the head coach position to Aquatics director next season.
He commended the FAMU coaching team for encouraging the swimmers to do their best in compettion.
Olaves also has aspirations that the new coach will continue this upward trend.
Now that the season has come to a close, the FAMU swimming and diving team will regroup and prepare to dominate the competition next season.