Eagles defeat FSU for first time in program history
Once again, Florida Gulf Coast University took on Florida State University to close out the regular season at the FGCU Aquatic Center. The swim meet was held over two days beginning on Friday. This is the eighth time that the Eagles have taken on the Seminoles, with FSU winning the previous seven meetings.
“This is incredible for us to beat such a great school,” Lani Cabrera said.
Unlike the previous seven meetings, the Eagles defeated FSU 186-148 to improve their record to 10-2 on the season.
Before Saturday’s action got under way, FGCU honored seniors Cayla Collins, Maggie Holling, Taylor Malewicki, Cassie Niles, Devon Robins, Natalie Rochette, Nina Schiffer, Blaine Small, Emma Svensson and Karen Vilorio.
“It feels so great to finish off my last dual meet for the Eagles,” Emma Svensson said.
This senior class for FGCU has been responsible for winning two CCSA titles during their time with FGCU.
“It’s a great day for the seniors,” coach Neal Studd said.
This win over FSU could also lead the Eagles to bigger things. They will be looking to capture their sixth CCSA title in the last seven years.
“We’re looking to reclaim the CCSA trophy,” Studd said.
Nina Schiffer got the winning started on Saturday by leading the Eagles to sweep the top three places in the 400-yard individual medley with a winning time of 4:30:68. Sommer Harris and Karen Vilorio followed in second and third in this event for the Eagles.
The Eagles then closed out the meet by taking the last four swimming events to finish off the win over FSU.
Kira Toussaint won the 100-yard backstroke in 55:27.
Katie Armitage then followed Toussaint by taking the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:03:23.
Just like she did on Friday, Lani Cabrera won another distance race for the Eagles. This time, she won the 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 10:16:07.
The final win of the day came in the 200-yard freestyle relay when the team of Svennsson, Toussaint, Kristen Julien and Becky Derogatis came from behind and finished in a time of 1:33.16 for FGCU.
“Not only do we get to honor our seniors, but we get a chance to make history by beating FSU,” Cassie Niles said.
FGCU finished day one of the meet with a 98-69 point advantage over in-state rival FSU with one more day to go.
“It was a really great day one. I wish it was a one-day meet with how well we did today,” Studd said.
The team of Toussaint, Evita Leter, Svensson and Derogatis took first place in the opening 200-yard medley relay with a new pool record time of 1:41:16.
“The rallies are a key to this meet,” Studd said.
In event three, Emma Svensson won an important 50-yard freestyle in a time of 22:83. This was not only a new pool record time, but Svensson also qualified for the NCAA “B” cut.
In the 200-yard backstroke, Karen Viorio finished in first for the Eagles with a time of 2:03:52.
Cabrera ended up winning the 500-yard freestyle by only :04 with a time of 4:58:74.
Armitage then set a new pool record in the 200-yard breaststroke with a winning time of 2:17:44.
The team of Armitage, Cabrera, Svensson and Toussaint concluded the first day of the meet by taking 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:24:36, finishing :01 in front of Florida State.
“This was very important heading into the CCSA Championship and the NCAAs,” Studd said.
The Eagles will now head to Athens, Georgia, to compete in the CCSA Championships from Feb. 18 to 21.