From FGCU Athletics
FORT MYERS, Fla. – After falling behind early in the meet, the #34 FGCU swimming and diving team (10-3, 3-0 CCSA) won 10 of the final 11 swimming events of the day and defeated cross-state rival Miami (2-3, 0-1 ACC), 183-117, Saturday afternoon at the FGCU Aquatics Center.
The win not only marked FGCU’s sixth straight against Miami and seventh in the last eight meets against the Hurricanes, but was also the Eagles’ 10th dual-meet victory of the season. FGCU also recorded double-digit wins a season ago (12) and has now won 10 or more meets in back-to-back seasons for the third time in program history and first time since the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.
“Any time you can compete with and get a win against a Power Five program, it’s a good day,” said FGCU head coach Dave Rollins. “The team did very well. The divers did a good job on the boards and the girls competed hard in the pool. There are some things from a technical standpoint we need to correct, but overall we did a very good job supporting one another and getting up to compete hard.”
The Green and Blue got off to a good start in the 200 medley relay as a pair of Eagle relays finished first and second in the event. The FGCU quartet of Doris Eichhorn (Berlin, Germany/HTW Berlin), Evita Leter (Paramaribo, Suriname/Doral Academy), Fanny Teijonsalo (Espoo, Finland/Makelanrinteen Lukio) and Katie Latham (Deal, Kent, UK/Sir Roger Manwood’s School) paced the field by touching the pads in 1:41.28, which was good for the third-best time this season and nearly five seconds faster than Miami’s top team.
After the Hurricanes turned in a strong performance in the 1000 free and 200 free to claim a 32-23 lead over the Green and Blue thru three events, FGCU evened the score, 37-37, by finishing first, third and fourth in the 100 back and pulled away from Hurricanes for the remainder of the meet.
Eichhorn won her first of two individual events of the day as she out-touched Miami’s Christina Leander by more than a second with a time of 55.54 seconds in the 100 back. Moments later, FGCU swept the podium in the 100 breast as Leter, Elizabeth Zubero (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Westminster Academy) and Sommer Harris (Richmond, Va./St. Catherine’s School) finished first, second and third, respectively. Leter’s time of 1:03.22 was good for a new season best in the event and registered more than two-and-a-half seconds faster than anyone else in the field.
FGCU kept its momentum going as Christina Kaas Elmgreen (Charlottenlund, Denmark/Ordrup Gymnasium) won the 200 fly and eclipsed the two-minute mark in the event for the fifth time this season, before the Eagles also swept the 50 free. With the top-four finishers all touching within 0.30 seconds of each other, Latham edged teammates Gracie Redding (Orlando, Fla./FSU/The First Academy) and Teijonsalo with a time of 23.21 seconds.
Coming out of the first break of the day, Hannah Burdge (Stuart, Fla./Martin County HS) edged out the Hurricanes’ Julie Suarez in the 100 free as she touched the pads in 50.40 seconds, and Eichhorn, who was competing for just the second time as a member of the Green and Blue, won the 200 back in 2:02.30 for her second first-place finish of the afternoon. FGCU also finished third and fourth in both events and continued to distance itself from Miami. Zubero won the 200 breast for the first time this season as she touched the pads in 2:21.36 and notched a win for FGCU in its seventh straight race.
After Miami snapped the Eagles win streak in the 500 free, FGCU won the final three events of the day and had three of the top-four finishers in both the 100 fly and 400 free relay. Yee Ching Wong (Hong Kong, China/Diocesan Girls’ School) won the 100 fly in a season-best time of 55.00 seconds and was joined in the top four by Kaas Elmgreen and Teijonsalo. Barbara Caraballo (Ponce Puerto, Rico/Indian River State/Newsome HS) then won the 200 IM after touching the pads in 2:05.76 with Hannah Wittman (Jupiter, Fla./Pittsburgh/Central Bucks East HS) finishing third.
FGCU’s 400 free relay then finished things off in style as the quartet of Latham, Redding, Burdge and Teijonsalo finished 0.49 seconds ahead of Miami for the win. The Eagles received sub-51.00 second splits from Redding, Burdge and Teijonsalo, including a time of 50.34 seconds from Burdge, which was the fastest in the event.
In Saturday’s diving competition, the Green and Blue were stacked up against a pair of talented Miami divers but had three divers finish in the top-five in both the one-meter and three-meter dives. Ashley Wright (Port St. Lucie, Fla./Indian River State/Lincoln Park Academy) led the way in both events as she finished runner-up in the three-meter dive with a score of 255.75 and third in the one-meter dive with an NCAA qualifying score of 271.72. It was Wright’s third time eclipsing the NCAA mark in the one-meter dive this season. Mikaila Buening (Franklin, Ind./Franklin Community HS) and Natalie Keffer (San Gabriel, Calif./Gabrielino HS) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in both events and each turned in a season-best effort on the day.
FGCU wraps up the regular season with a pair of dual meets next weekend. The Eagles will welcome FAU to the FGCU Aquatics Center for Senior Day Friday, Jan. 27 at 4 p.m., when six Eagles including will be honored for their contributions to the FGCU program over the years. The team will then travel across the state for a dual with FIU Saturday, Jan. 28 at noon.