Newcomers Lead Florida Gulf Coast to Fourth-Place Finish at All Florida Invite
By George Nunnelley
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The FGCU women’s swimming & diving team wrapped up a three-day weekend with a fourth-place finish at the All Florida Invite held in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla., on Sunday afternoon.
The 16 Eagle newcomers who traveled north to The Swamp to get a taste of their first Division I competition exceeded head coach Neal Studd’s expectations for the season-opening meet.
“We had another great day of swimming,” said Studd. “We saw some big drops in time from the preliminary rounds to the finals, and I’m very proud of my girls. They swam great this weekend.”
As was the case in the invite’s opening day on Friday, the FGCU swimmers shaved seconds off their preliminary times in nearly every event on Sunday, including an eight-second drop by Nicole Oppel (LeClaire, Iowa/Pleasant Valley HS) in the 200 butterfly and a 17-second drop by Melissa Marinheiro (Davie, Fla./West Broward HS) in the 1650 freestyle.
The Green and Blue found more success in their fifth relay event of the weekend as the quartet of Hannah Burdge (Stuart, Fla./Martin County HS), Kristen Jamison (Tuscon, Ariz./Arizona), Katie Latham (Deal, Kent, United Kingdom/Sir Roger Manwood’s School) and Katie Armitage (Bushey, United Kingdon/Queens School Bushey) finished fourth in the 400 freestyle relay after swimming a time of 3:27.55.
Individually, Armitage, Latham and Christina Kaas Elmgreen (Charlottenlund, Denmark/Ordrup Gymnasium) led the way for FGCU as they capped off a busy three days of competition. Armitage, who qualified for the 2016 NCAA Championships in the 100 breaststroke on Saturday, finished third in the 200 breaststroke on Sunday after touching the pads in 2:19.04, five seconds faster than her preliminary time. Earlier, Latham finished ninth in the 100 freestyle after qualifying for the B group final with a preliminary time of 52.88 seconds. However, her finals time of 51.11 seconds was good for second fastest in the meet. Kaas Elmgreen then finished fifth in the 200 butterfly in a time of 2:03.71. To put the competitiveness of the event into perspective, the Denmark native finished only 0.56 seconds out of second place.
Upon returning from Gainesville, FGCU fans will get a chance to get their first look at the 2015-16 Eagles as they host the Blue Green Scrimmage in the FGCU Aquatics Complex on Saturday, Sept. 26, followed by the FGCU Classic in the same venue on Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3.
WOMEN’S TEAM STANDINGS
1. Florida – 1056
2. Florida State – 779
3. Towson – 602.5
4. FGCU – 578.5
5. Miami – 509
6. Nova Southeastern – 213
Florida Swim Network