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Season opening meet sets tone for year

The season opener for the FGCU women’s swimming and diving team was a great success. With new members of the team contributing and returning players proving their spots on the team, the Eagles finished third overall with 695 points, beating the University of Miami having 400 points and falling short to the University of Florida with 1,146 and Florida State finishing with 798 points.
“The new girls really stepped up and the team exceeded my expectations. The contributions from the new comers right off the bat will help keep the rest of the team honest throughout the season,” said head coach Neal Studd. “We are going to continue to increase our volume and intensity with no plans of backing off at any time soon. Swimming is a different sport than the rest. Other teams might have to take a day off before a big game or meet. Not us, we are focusing on the Georgia Tech Invitational and having mass drops in our times.”
With a 10th place finish in the 1650- yard freestyle with a time of 17:26.49, sophomore Lani Cabrera was one of three eagles to gain points for the team.
“I was really excited to do so well in my first meet as an eagle. I was eager to race and was happy with my results. Overall we did really well and it was nice to beat Miami,” said Cabrera.
Another Eagle to make a splash in the season opener was sophomore Nina Schiffer, placing fourth in the 200-yard butterfly while posting a time of 2:05.30. The team also had ninth and 13th place finishes by Cabrera and Devon Robins.
“I was so surprised about my time, but was also really excited, too. I was happy to do good for my team in my first meet being an eagle,” said Schiffer.
Another race that the eagles excelled at was the 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke, and 400- yard freestyle relay.
In the 200-yard backstroke, Sandra Wilk placed sixth with a time of 2:04.46 and was directly followed by Kira Toussaint (2:04.68) and Karen Vilorio finishing ninth (2:04.91).
Sara Hamilton and Emma Svensson finished fifth and sixth in the 100-yard freestyle with close times of 51.50 and 51.51.
Evita Leter took seventh, swimming the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:25.52, followed by Meghan McGuirk in ninth (2:25.59).
The Eagles had great teamwork in the relay, placing third and seventh, with times of 3:28.07 and 3:34.98.
The swimming and diving team will be going up the University of North Florida, Miami, and Florida State within the next couple of weeks. The eagles haven’t lost to UNF at home yet and recently beat them by 409 points this past weekend.
“We are looking forward to the match up with UNF and will probably mix up the lineup. Miami will be a little different, but I like the rivalry between us and them. Against FSU, we are going to do our best to keep up with them and give them our best,” said Studd. The girls haven’t thought of slowing down, even after their success in the season opener. “We are going to keep working hard with the coaches, stay healthy, get plenty of rest, and go to every practice,” said Cabrera.

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