Estero Lifestyle Magazine: Student Athletes Building Eagles' National Reputation
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | by Laura J. Cummings Gates

The following article highlighting FGCU women's swimmers, Kira Toussaint and Emma Svensson, originally appeared in the August 2014 edition of Estero Lifestyle Magazine.


With an Olympic Gold medalist for a mother, Kira Toussaint has a lot to live up to, but she’s well on her way. This Netherlands native is the first swimmer from FGCU to be named to the All-American Team and was the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Swimmer of the Year. She captured eight FGCU program records and was the university’s first swimmer to stand on the awards podium at the NCAA Championships – all as a freshman.

“She’s well-known for the underwater part of her race,” notes Head Coach Neal Studd. “She’s maybe the best in the world underwater for pushing off the wall.”

Although her mother, Jolanda de Rover, is a two-time Olympic medalist for the Netherlands, Toussaint wasn’t pushed too hard or too early, allowing her to develop at her own pace, Studd says. After missing qualification for the World Championships by a tenth of a second, Toussaint took four months off to refocus, returning to the pool with greater determination than ever.

“I wasn’t surprised because I knew she was that talented,” Studd says of her standout success.

Teammate Emma Svensson joined Toussaint for FGCU’s first appearance in the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. A native of Sweden, Svensson initially failed to qualify but entered a last chance meet, where she shaved a half-second off her time and then went on the become the first Eagles swimmer to make it to finals.

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