Florida Gulf Coast University Swimming and Diving Newcomers Compete at All Florida Invite
By George Nunnelley
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The FGCU women’s swimming and diving program got its season underway at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla., on Friday, Sept. 18. Across the board on day one, the women dropped their times from the preliminary rounds in the morning to the final rounds in the evening.
Highlighting the day’s events, the women’s 400 medley relay of Barbara Caraballo (Ponce, Puerto Rico/Indian River), Katie Armitage (Bushey, United Kingdon/Queens School Bushey), Christina Kaas Elmgreen (Charlottenlund, Denmark/Ordrup Gymnasium) and Katie Latham (Deal, Kent, United Kingdom/Sir Roger Manwood’s School) took first place in the event in a time of 3:45.74.
“Today was an amazing day and we far outdid our expecations.” said head coach Neal Studd. “We took only our newcomers and swam great across the board, including beating Florida in a relay. The ladies really stepped up at night and smashed their prelim times. I’m very proud of my girls and excited to see what great thihngs they can achieve this year.”
Meanwhile, Latham, Caraballo, Kirsten Jamison (Tuscon, Ariz./Arizona) and Armitage placed second in the 200 freestyle relay in a time of 1:34.25.
Additionally, Latham shined individually as she finished third in her first event as an Eagle, earning the team 16 points and clocking a time of 23.36 seconds in the 50 freestyle.
Next, Jamison and Hannah Burdge (Stuart, Fla./Martin County HS) finished ninth and 10th in the event, respectively, while Armitage and Caraballo finished in the same position in the 200 IM, with Armitage clocking a personal-best time of 2:10.47.
Melissa Marinheiro (Davie, Fla./West Broward HS) notched another top-10 finish for the Green and Blue as she placed 10th with a time of 5:00.33 in the 500 freestyle on Friday.
In the women’s one-meter board section of the afternoon, newcomer Ashley Wright (Port Saint Lucie, Fla./Indian River) finished sixth with a score of 247.40 and earned FGCU 13 points on the day.
Following today’s events, the Eagles will get back in the pool with Saturday’s preliminary round starting at 10 a.m. and the finals beginning at 7 p.m.
FGCU is led by Neal Studd, who has garnered five CCSA Coach of the Year awards, won six CCSA Championships (2009-13, 2015) and guided the Eagles to a 28-1 (.966) CCSA all-time record since FGCU started its program in 2007. In just four years of postseason eligibility, Studd has coached NCAA Championship Meet qualifiers and competitors each of the four years, with 2015 yielding the best results to date as the Eagles finished a mid-major best 26th and produced three CSCAA All-America honorees.
Florida Swim Network