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FGCU dominates FIU on Senior Day, opens the 2014 season in style

The FGCU swimming and diving team started off the 2014 season strong with a win over Florida International University, 189.5-109.5, last Saturday afternoon at T2 Aquatics in Naples.

FGCU Aquatics Center, the home of the FGCU swimming and diving team, is under emergency renovation after the Aquatics Center staff found leaks in the 50-meters pool over the Christmas break. This caused the home meet against FIU to be relocated to T2 Aquatics. The Green and Blue however, continued its usual dominant form as the Eagles finishing first in 10 of 16 events. With the win, the Eagles extend their impressive all-time record against the Panthers to 10-0.

FGCU swimming and diving also honored its five seniors and their outstanding careers. During four years, McKenzie Cassidy, Tryshia Centeno Rose, Lindsey Meeder, Jessie Porter and Christina Tanninen have etched their names in FGCU history as they helped the Eagles compile a 35-9 overall record, a perfect 14-0 dual record against Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA) schools, three CCSA Conference championships and 22 marks in FGCU’s all-time record book.

“Great win for our team today, and I’m really happy for seniors on Senior Day,” head coach Neal Studd said. “FIU is a very strong team. They had some good events, but in the end we had a lot of first-place finishes and a lot of depth. I’m really excited to see what this team can do this weekend at FAU and then in the CCSA meet. I’d like to extend a thank you to T2 Aquatics for running a great meet at the Community School.”

Freshman Kira Toussaint led the Eagles with three individual first-place finishes, including a 1:52.89 finish in the 200-yard freestyle, a 2:03.10 performance in the 200- yard backstroke, and a 57.01 showing in the 100-yard butterfly. Junior Emma Svensson, winner of the NCAA Elite 89 award during her sophomore year, took home the 50-yard freestyle (23.44) and the 100-yard freestyle (51.15).

“We were eager to finally get back into racing a good team after having to cancel our first two meets of the semester.” redshirt sophomore Lani Cabrera said. “The pool situation was a challenge for us because it is hard having ‘home court advantage’ and not really using the home court, but we put that aside and focused on swimming itself. We tried not to dwell on the issues we are facing on the pool, but focusing on the opportunities that was ahead of us instead.” Cabrera, who represented Barbados to compete the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, teamed up with sophomore Sara Hamilton, freshman Evita Leter and Svensson to finished first in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:29.86. Cabrera also finished second in both 1000-yard freestyle (10:23.09) and 500-yard freestyle (5:01.93).

The Eagles will face FAU in a duel meet at Boca Raton at noon on Feb. 1. The Green and Blue defeated the Owls 146-92 last January at home.

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