FGCU Caps Off Historic Season at Final Day of NCAA Championships
By George Nunnelley
ATLANTA – The FGCU swimming and diving program wrapped up another record-breaking season with its third straight year during which it registered points at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships held at Georgia Tech’s McAuley Aquatic Center.
Georgia claimed the national title with 414 points while Stanford finished runner up with 395. Defending champion California (358), Texas A&M (309) and Virginia (264) rounded out the top five.
“It was a good ending to a great year,” said FGCU head coach Neal Studd. “We thought this might be a rebuilding year, but instead we achieved a program-best national ranking, won another conference championship, sent three freshman to the NCAA finals and came away with points for the third straight year. I’m very excited and happy for my team.”
Elise Haan (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast HS), who got the Eagles on the scoreboard at the NCAA Championships for the third consecutive season with a 16th-place finish in Friday night’s 100-yard backstroke, was right back in the pool Saturday morning and finished T-28th in the 200-yard event after touching the pads in 1:54.80, just .04 seconds shy of her CCSA title time. The Naples native entered the championship meet with the 42nd-best qualifying mark and moved up 14 places in preliminary event.
Also during Saturday’s preliminary events, Katie Latham (Deal, Kent, United Kingdom/Sir Roger Manwood’s School) and Fanny Teijonsalo (Espoo, Finland/Makelanrinteen Lukio) competed in the 100-yard freestyle and finished 40th and 57th with times of 49.29 seconds and 49.93 seconds, respectively. Latham’s time in the event was good for a new personal record.
During the 2015-16 season, FGCU not only claimed its seventh CCSA Championship and sent qualifiers to the NCAA Championships for the fifth consecutive season while coming away with points in each of the last three, but also set 12 program records along the way. Additionally, the team achieved its highest ranking in program history after being tabbed No. 19 by CollegeSwimming.com and defeated four nationally-ranked programs.