Florida Gulf Coast University Eyes Seventh Conference Crown at CCSA Championships
By George Nunnelley
ATHENS, Ga. – Coming off one of the most successful regular seasons in program history during which they tied a single-season record with 12 dual-meet wins, the No. 29 FGCU women’s swimming and diving team has its eyes set on claiming a seventh CCSA Championship since 2009 as the conference meet takes place at the University of Georgia’s Gabrielsen Natatorium from Feb. 17-20.
The field of 15 CCSA members (eight men’s programs and 11 women’s programs) are all competing for the same ultimate prize as they hope to hoist the championship trophy at weekend’s end. The championships begin with diving trials on Wednesday at 4 p.m., followed by relay finals at 6 p.m. Subsequent days of competition begin with preliminary races at 10 a.m., followed by final events at 6 p.m. A complete listing of events is included below.
“The preparation has been great,” said FGCU head coach Neal Studd. “We’ve just been working on details, getting their minds focused and doing all of the things we can to maximize this week. It’s not easy. You have to get everybody going fast on the same weekend, but I think the girls have it in them.”
Live stats of the championships can be found by clicking here, while a video stream is also available for purchase here. The CCSA Championships page also has all the information you need in one place (click here).
On its way to matching the 2009-10 squad for dual-meet wins in a single-season (12), FGCU defeated four ranked programs in No. 37 Notre Dame, then-No. 35 Boise State, then-No. 44 Utah and then-No. 31 FSU in dual meets while also going undefeated against in-state rivals Miami, FAU and FIU. The Green and Blue not only topped the CollegeSwimming.com Mid-Major polls for five-straight weeks to start the season, but also achieved its highest ranking in program history after being tabbed No. 19 in the country following a third-place finish at the Georgia Tech Invite.
Individually, the Eagles set five program records this season. Lani Cabrera (Bridgetown, Barbados/St. Ursula’s Secondary School) eclipsed the school record in the 500-yard, 1,000-yard and 1,650-yard freestyles as she posted times of 4:47.43, 9:59.27 and 16:35.50, respectively, at the Georgia Tech Invite, while her times in the 500-yard and 1,000-yard events were also good for the new conference standard. Additionally, Katie Armitage (Bushey, United Kingdom/Queens School Bushey) and Barbara Caraballo (Ponce, Puerto Rico/Indian River/Newsome HS) turned in program records in the 100-yard and 200-yard IM after touching the pads in 57.42 seconds and 2:00.53, respectively. Entering this week’s CCSA Championships, six individuals have already punched their tickets to the 2016 NCAA Championships as they look to improve upon a program and Mid-Major best 26th-place finish from a season ago. Those individuals and they events they will be competing in include:
50 Free: Katie Latham (22.32)
100 Free: Elise Haan (49.82)
200 Free: Elise Haan (1:47.25)
500 Free: Lani Cabrera (4:47.43)
100 Back: Elise Haan (52.32) and Sandra Wilk (54.18)
200 Back: Elise Haan (1:56.43)
100 Breast: Katie Armitage (1:01.27)
200 Breast: Katie Armitage (2:14.90)
200 IM: Barbara Caraballo (2:00.53)
EAGLES TITLE HISTORY
Following a runner-up finish at the 2014 CCSA Championships, FGCU got back to its winning ways by claiming the sixth conference title in program history a season ago. The Eagles finished first in 15 of 20 events and tallied a championship-record 1575 points while Liberty finished in second with a score of 1239. Georgia Southern (1110.5), Gardner-Webb (1026.5) and Incarnate Word (851) rounded out the top five. FGCU’s championship total was 688 more points than the previous CCSA Championship mark of 887 points set by the Eagles in 2009. Prior to the 2014 championships, FGCU won five-consecutive CCSA titles from 2009-13 – less than two years after the program’s inception in the fall of 2007.
CONFERENCE HONOR QUEENS
FGCU earned a total of 14 CCSA weekly honors this season, including a sweep of the awards on six occasions. Elise Haan (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast HS) led the way with four CCSA Swimmer of the Week honors while Ashley Write (Port Saint Lucie, Fla./Indian River/Lincoln Park Academy) took home the Diver of the Week award six times. A list of the Eagles’ weekly recognition is included below.
Swimmer of the Week:
Katie Armitage (Sept. 30) – All Florida Invite
Barbara Caraballo (Oct. 6) – FGCU Classic
Elise Haan (Oct. 28) – vs. Notre Dame
Elise Haan (Nov. 3) – at Utah/Boise State
Lani Cabrera (Nov. 10) – at FSU/Florida Southern
Elise Haan (Nov. 25) – Georgia Tech Invite
Katie Armitage (Jan. 12) – vs. N.C. State/Liberty/Central Connecticut State
Elise Haan (Jan. 19) – at Miami/FAU
Diver of the Week:
Ashley Wright (Sept. 30) – All Florida Invite
Ashley Wright (Nov. 3) – at Utah/Boise State
Ashley Wright (Nov. 10) – at FSU/Florida Southern
Ashley Wright (Nov. 25) – Georgia Tech Invite
Ashley Wright (Jan. 12) – vs. N.C. State/Liberty/Central Connecticut State
Ashley Wright (Jan. 19) – at Miami/FAU
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS (FGCU SEASON BESTS)
Wednesday – Trials: 4:00 p.m.; Finals: 6:00 p.m.
200 Medley Relay (Hann, Armitage, Wong, Latham – 1:38.90)
3M Diving (Ashley Wright – 284.55)
800 Free Relay (Cabrera, Shaw, Me. Marinheiro, Haan – 7:18.38)
Thursday – Prelims: 10:00 a.m.; Finals: 6:00 p.m.
500 Free (Lani Cabrera – 4:47.43)
200 IM (Barbara Caraballo – 2:00.53)
50 Free (Katie Latham – 22.32)
200 Free Relay (Latham, Julien, Caraballo, Armitage – 1:30.61)
Friday – Prelims: 10:00 a.m.; Finals: 6:00 p.m.
400 IM (Barbara Caraballo – 4:22.42)
100 Fly (Yee Ching Wong – 54.65)
200 Free (Elise Haan – 1:47.25)
100 Breast (Katie Armitage – 1:01.27)
100 Back (Elise Haan – 52.32)
1M Diving (Ashley Wright – 280.20)
400 Medley Relay (Haan, Armitage, Wong, Latham – 3:37.39)
Saturday – Prelims: 10:00 a.m.; Finals: 6:00 p.m.
Platform Diving (Ashley Wright – 143.10)
1650 Free (Lani Cabrera – 16:35.50)
200 Back (Elise Haan – 1:56.43)
100 Free (Elise Haan – 49.82)
200 Breast (Katie Armitage – 2:14.90)
200 Fly (Christina Kaas Elmgreen – 1:59.60)
400 Free Relay (Hamilton, Caraballo, Latham, Haan – 3:20.10)
Florida Swim Network