Incoming Swimming & Diving Class Ranked 18th in the Nation
Thursday, June 21, 2012 | by Justin Glover (@Jglove3)
Photo by Jim Dostie
Photo by Jim Dostie

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Last month FGCU head swimming & diving coach Neal Studd announced his nine-member 2012-13 recruiting class and it was ranked 18th in the nation according to CollegeSwimming.com on June 17.

The Eagles were ranked ahead of seven BCS programs in the Top-25 including Missouri (No. 25), Louisville (No. 24), N.C. State (No. 23), Ohio State (No. 22), Florida State (No. 21), Minnesota (No. 20) and Virginia Tech (No. 19).

“I am just so proud that we have been ranked in the Top-20 in the nation for the first time in school history,” said Studd. “Being ranked ahead of Big Ten, SEC, BIG EAST and ACC schools is quite remarkable. With such a talented group of seniors I was worried about replacing them, but I think we have done it again. In this group we have several athletes on national teams and with times that can come in and compete for a chance to go the NCAA championships. This is our best recruiting class to date as the team every year keeps moving forward.”

The 2012-13 recruiting class includes, Sara Hamilton (Stonehaven, Scotland/Stonehaven), Julie Leth-Espensen (Vanloese, Copenhagen, Denmark), Jennifer Morgan (Edmonton, Canada), Samantha Rahael (Trinidad &Tobago/The Bolles School (Jacksonville, Fla.), Lani Cabrera (Miami, Fla./Davie Nadadores Swim Team), Kellie Roedig (Huntingdon Valley, Pa./Abington Senior HS), Meghan McGuirk (Hightstown, N.J./Peddie School) and two transfers in Megan Wolfe (Sebring, Fla./Sebring HS/Daytona State College) and Sarah Maraskine (Midland, Mich./Dow HS/Eastern Michigan).

Leth-Espensen was the highest ranked individual at No. 48 with a 2.58 power index score followed by Hamilton (No. 57) and Morgan (No. 100).

For more information about the FGCU women’s swimming and diving team visit www.FGCUAthletics.com and follow @FGCUSwimandDive on Twitter for more updates.

2012-13 CollegeSwimming.com Top-25 Recruiting Classes
1. California
2. Florida
3. North Carolina
4. Georgia
5. Stanford
6. Southern California
7. Virginia
8. Tennessee
9. Michigan
10. UCLA
11. Purdue
12. Indiana
13. Texas A&M
14. Auburn
15. Arizona
T-16. Harvard
T-16. Princeton
18. FGCU
19. Virginia Tech
20. Minnesota
21. Florida State
22. Ohio State
23. N.C. State
24. Louisville
25. Missouri

According to CollegeSwimming.com:
No. 18 FGCU

Neal Studd has some built-in advantages when it comes to recruiting.  First, there’s that accent that distinguishes him from every other coach on the phone.  Add in the appeal of Florida Gulf Coast and you’ve got it made – especially when you’re searching the globe for talent.  This year’s class hails from Scotland, Denmark, Canada, and of course Florida. 

Julie Leth-Espensen is the highest-ranked among this year’s class, though sprinter Sara Hamilton could prove a bigger factor according to Sudd.  “With Sara, our sprint relays really become a big factor as we push to get more people qualified to nationals.”   Leth-Espensen is a Danish IM’er with NCAA potential while Morgan is one of the many Canadian breaststrokers to head south.  At least a couple of FGCU’s class will be used to the South Florida climate.  Samantha Rahael and Lani Cabrera are both Sunshine State natives with Caribbean connections.  Samantha Rahael is the latest Bolles swimmer to choose FGCU and has been Trinidad & Tobago’s Swimmer of the year while Lani Cabrera (Davie Natadores) holds five of Barbados’ national records.

Incoming Freshmen


48 Julie Leth-espensen DEN 2.58
57 Sara Hamilton CAN 2.80
100 Jennifer Morgan GBR 4.33
106 Samantha M Rahael FL 4.41
313 Lani Cabrera FL 14.92
457 Meghan McGuirk NJ 32.92

Outgoing Seniors


Butler, Danielle 39  
Cadge, Victoria 46  
Cianci, Alessandra 32  
Daniel, Leah 56  
Lytle, Theresa