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Paulo picks Florida State

Amanda Paulo, a two-time state champion and twice the Times' Pasco Swimmer of the Year, said Tuesday that she has accepted a full scholarship to Florida State and will sign when the early signing period opens today.

"I've swam my whole life so that I could get a full ride to college some day," said the Hudson senior, who will go for a third state title in the 100-meter backstroke Friday in Fort Lauderdale.

Paulo also considered the University of Tampa, visiting the campus last weekend, but chose the Seminoles because of a larger campus and a team getting more national competition.

"I wanted to stay in state because I hate cold weather and I can't stand long drives," Paulo said. "Those were pretty much the only two schools I considered, but Florida State's Division I, so it's a higher level of competition."

Hudson coach Nickol White said another plus for Florida State was the greater number of academic career paths available in Tallahassee.

"Florida State offers more variety. At this time in their life, they think, "This is what I want to do,' but once they get into classes, they realize, "I really don't want that'," White said. "This gives her the opportunity to pick something else, while at a smaller school, she might not have that."

Having dominated on the high school level since her sophomore year, Paulo said she's looking forward to a new challenge and higher level of competition.

"I'm kind of happy that high school is over," Paulo said. "It's been fun, and I don't have any regrets about my senior year. I guess I'm ready to go to college and compete there."

FSU coach Neil Harper, who by NCAA regulations cannot comment on Paulo until the paper work is complete, acknowledged Tuesday that the Seminoles have been recruiting Paulo and had her in for an official visit this month. Swimming scholarships can be doled out partially, and Harper said FSU's women's team typically offers only two or three full rides each season.