No one word better describes the FGCU Swimming and Diving team in the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association conference.
For the fifth straight year, the Lady Eagles seniors took home the CCSA conference crown this past Saturday at the University of Georgia, while setting five new program and CCSA records.
“We had a great week,” FGCU head Swimming and Diving Coach Neal Studd said. “The seniors really led the team as you’d hope. They put a lot of time in and set a great example for our younger girls.”
FGCU cruised to a first place wire-to-wire finish with 712 points, followed by Liberty (609), and Georgia Southern (482.5).
“The conference has gotten a lot stronger over the years. For example, our first conference title team some of the times we won with would probably finish around 16th today,” Studd said. “Georgia Southern and Liberty both swam beautifully and are making it harder on us every year.”
Sophomore Emma Svensson was awarded Most Outstanding Female Performer of the Meet. The Swedish fish took home the 50-free, 100-free and 100-back titles. Svensson’s times in the 50-free (22.37) and 100-free (49.80) qualified for NCAA “B” cuts.
“She’s unbelievable. She’s not only an unbelievable athlete, but she is also a 4.0 student, a hard worker and great person overall,” Studd said. “She is the total package for a student athlete.”
She was also a member of the 200-medley relay team alongside seniors Danielle Beaubrun, Megan Wolfe and Eva Lehtonen, that finished with a time of 1:38.85, a meet and conference record, to qualify for the NCAA “B” cuts.
Svensson received Most Outstanding Freshman Female Performer of the Meet last season, when she placed second in the 50-yard freestyle and placed first in the 100 back.
Senior Maegan Butler took home Most Outstanding Diver of the Meet for the second consecutive year. The Florida Atlantic University transfer won both the 1-meter and 3-meter board.
Butler set a new FGCU and meet record on the 3-meter board event with a score of 314.75, 12.75 points ahead of her record, which she set last season.
“We’re going to miss Maegan. We leaned on her heavily, and now we’ll have to recruit someone to replace her,” Studd said. “She’s always had the knack to step up when it counts and that’s a special trait in Division 1 athletics because the talent all over is so strong.”
Studd was named Coach of the Year for the fourth time. While first-year diving coach David Boyko received Diving Coach of the Year.
Diving coach of the year hasn’t left FGCU in the past three years, beginning with former diving coach Andy Goe, who won the award the past two seasons.
“I’m really happy for David because he deserves every accolade for what he does for our divers,” Studd said.
The FGCU women’s swimming and diving team is excelling in the classroom also, earning a spot in College Swimming Coaches Association of America All-Academic List.
“They do a great job, especially because swimming is a two-semester season. They’re always training and swimming, so for them to keep high GPAs is a great testament to our ladies,” Studd said.
The Lady Eagles finished with a cumulative GPA of 3.46, which ranks 18th and the only team from Florida ranked inside the top 100.
FGCU will look forward to the NCAA Diving Zones and NCAA Championships next month. The NCAA Diving Zones takes place March 11-13 and the NCAA Championships will be March 21-23.