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22 posts from March 2013

March 01, 2013

Friday morning in Texas

After a few school records Friday morning, Friday night sets up this way for FIU at the Sun Belt Swimming & Diving meet:

Sonia Perez and Johanna Gustafsdottir should be considered favorites in the 400 individual medley and the 100 backstroke, respectively. Perez's school record 4:12.95 was the fastest seed time by 1.5 seconds and she beat that with a 4:11.96, better than the second best prelim time by 7.5 seconds. Perez actually was faster in the second 50 of the backstroke and freestyle legs than the first 50 of each.

Gustafsdottir's 54.74 was the Sun Belt's fastest in the prelims and broke the school record of 54.92 she set a year ago at the Sun Belt Time Trials.

And in the 1-meter diving, Sabrina Beaupre...look, if you don't read that Beaupre's comletely shattered her left ankle jumping up and down because Air Canada just dropped their fares to Greece, she's winning this. Her 281.20 was 15.15 points away from second place.

In the 100 butterfly and 200 free, FIU's got the second fastest from the prelims. Senior Marina Ribi's 55.12 was only nine hundreths off the best prelim time and 42 hundredths under Yesica Rojas' school record set two years ago. Freshman Dani Albright, showing the kind of improvement at the conference meet that Gustafsdottir did a year ago as a freshman, knocked over two seconds off her best 200 free time with a 1:49.55.

(Speaking of freshman showing up strong in the conference meet, Becky Wilde (4:27.61) dropped 10 seconds off her seed time in the 400 IM and was sixth in the prelims.

In the 100 breaststroke, FIU's got volume -- three of the top eight in freshman Jessica Chadwick (1:03.39), sophomore Klara Andersson (1:03.53) and sophomore Jean Madison (1:04.45).

The 400 medley relay closes the night. FIU's seeded fourth, 3:47.79. FIU was fifth last year in school record 3:46.96 with Perez swimming leadoff back, Andersson on breast, Gustafsdottir on fly and Kayla Derr on free. This year's seed time came with Perez, Andersson, then Ribi on fly and Gustafsdottir swimming free in November. Don't be surprised if that's the foursome again Friday night. Also don't be surprised if they shatter the school record.



Winning with good junk

FIU's men's basketball team won Thursday night at Lousiana-Monroe to clinch its first winning season in 13 years. For a historically moribund program that 11 months ago hired a 29-year-old coach as it lost transfers, recruits and some players after firing the previous coach, what this team has done thus far equates to putting together a Nationwide Series car out of visits to Monster Joe's and Sanford & Son Salvage.

Understand, there's a difference between trash and junk. Trash leaves on the garbage truck. Trash gets incinerated. No use remains. The junkyard's full of usable parts that maybe just need to be polished up, loved up, adjusted a little and they'll work just fine for what you need. It's how junkyard's turn a profit. FIU coach Richard Pitino found those usable parts outside the program, found ways to use those underused parts inside the program and saw what he had: quickness, athleticism, a couple of shooters, no size, but a number of guys who could go hard for enough minutes.

Statistically, if you're looking for a difference between the 2011-12 eight-win Panthers and the 2012-13 16-win Panthers, it's in two numbers produced by FIU's pressure style. Last year, FIU had 424 turnovers and opponents had 406. This year, FIU's got 428 turnovers, but in a much greater number of possessions as they've helped opponents to 506 turnovers. And with Saturday's regular season closer against FAU and the Sun Belt tournament to go, they've come up with 270 steals against 216 for all of last year.

FIU will have better teams under Pitino. But none that have done as much in such a tough situation as this one.



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