FORT MYERS, Fla. – Thanks to an all-around team effort from FGCU swimming & diving, the Eagles cruised to its first dual-meet win of the season and the first in the career of head coachDave Rollins by defeating CCSA-foe UNF, 159-95, at the FGCU Aquatics Center Friday afternoon.
FGCU finished first in 10 of 12 events prior to swimming the final two events of the meet as exhibitions. The Eagles got off to a fast start as they swept the podium in the 200 medley relay, 1000 free and 200 free to start the meet and never looked back. All-in-all, FGCU finished first, second and third in five events during the dual.
Individually, a number of swimmers won the first events of their collegiate careers as the Eagles were led by a pair of first-place finishes from Gracie Redding (Orlando, Fla./FSU/The First Academy) in the 100 and 200 free and Melissa Marinheiro (Davie, Fla./West Broward HS) in the 500 and 1000 free.
With the win, FGCU not only improves its perfect record against UNF to 9-0, but also moves to 33-1 in conference dual meets all-time.
“It feels great,” Rollins said of securing his first dual-meet win. “The girls swam very well today. It was a chance for some girls who didn’t get to swim last weekend to step up and race, and it was good for them to see the hard work pay off. Overall, I’m very happy.”
FGCU’s top-three 200 medley relays not only swept the opening event in times of 1:44.70, 1:48.04 and 1:48.17, but also finished more than two seconds ahead of the fastest UNF quartet to earn a combined 15 points. The Eagles top relay consisted of Katie Latham (Deal, Kent, UK/Sir Roger Manwood’s School), Evita Leter (Paramaribo, Suriname/Doral Academy), Fanny Teijonsalo (Espoo, Finland/Makelanrinteen Lukio) and Hannah Burdge (Stuart, Fla./Martin County HS) and finished just over two seconds off the team’s season-best time that ranks in the top-15 in the country.
Later, Marinheiro earned her first individual win of the season in the 1000 free as she touched the pads in 10:32.05 and finished more than four seconds clear of the field as teammatesGeorgiana Gardner (York, Maine/York HS) and Alexis Simpson (Beckley, W.Va./Gulf Coast HS) finished second and third, respectively. Redding then won her first event as a member of the Green and Blue as she clocked a time of 1:52.96 in the 200 free and touched just ahead of Hannah Wittman (Jupiter, Fla./Pittsburgh/Central Bucks East HS) andMadeleine Clarke (Treasure Island, Fla./Northside HS).
Similar to Redding, Cassidy Fry (Oakwood, Ohio/Oakwood HS), Wittman, Elizabeth Zubero (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Westminster Acaedmy) and Madison Jean (Parrish, Fla./Lakewood Ranch HS) also won their first events at FGCU in the 100 fly, 100 back, 100 breast and 50 fly, respectively. Jean finished just 0.31 seconds off Teijonsalo’s season-best time in the event as she touched the pads in 25.55 seconds.
Redding followed her performance in the 200 free with another win in the 100 free as she clocked a time of 52.03 seconds while, after the grueling 1000 free, Marinheiro also competed in the 500 free and earned the win after touching the pads in 5:08.06.
Lastly, a late addition to the 50 free, Latham, the reigning CCSA Swimmer of the Week, won the event with a time of 23.57 seconds and out-touched Burdge by 0.01 seconds in the sprint race.
Up next, the Eagles travel to the West Coast for a pair of meets at USC and UCLA next weekend. FGCU will compete against both USC and Oregon State Friday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.before matching up against UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, Oregon State, San Diego and UC DavisSaturday, Oct. 22 at 3 p.m.