FORT MYERS, Fla. - The FGCU Eagle Swimming and Diving Team overcame snowy weather and cool temperatures to bring home second place honors over formidable opponents such as Big Ten opponent University of Illinois as well as Cincinnati and Oakland last weekend. The team traveled to Oxford, OH for the second consecutive year to participate in the 15th Annual Miami University Invitational. Throughout the meet the Eagles rewrote the school and freshmen record books along with setting eight Conference (CCSA) records.
Spectacular day one performances aided the Eagles in taking the lead with host school Miami close behind (169-135pts). In the opening event, Vicky Cadge’s lead-off leg (1:52.65) of the 800 freestyle relay earned the first school and freshmen record of many to come. Margie Chamberlin (1:51.16), Rosy Murray (1:53.22) and Leah Daniel (1:49.28) rounded out the squad emphatically claiming the varsity and conference record (7:26.31).
Not to be outdone by relay swims, Murray, Daniel, Courtney Gallo, Taylor Cooke, Katie Oke & Katy Loubris chalked up 109 points for the team during the 1650 freestyle. From different heats the Eagles earned one-two honors in the mile long race separated by only 28 hundredths of a second. Daniel recorded a personal best and freshmen record in heat six (16:59.54) only to be out touched by teammate Murray in the following heat (16:59.26) who reclaimed the freshmen record. However, Daniel set a freshmen, school and conference record in the 1000 freestyle on her way to the mile with a time of 10:17.31.
Day two was no different as Coach Studd watched more records fall. All three 200 butterfly contenders swam fast enough preliminary times to return in the evening. Cooke improved her morning swim from 2:14.16 to 2:10.57 at night and moved up to 19th place. Gallo also dropped time and earned an in-season best while holding her position in finals. Chamberlin had a solid morning swim pacing her for the Championship Final where she set a varsity and conference record and earned the bronze medal in 2:02.47.
Twelve Eagles swam to in-season best times in the 200 freestyle morning heats. The top four returned for evening swims and earned valuable points for the team. Daniel broke the school and conference record twice in less than 9 hours, finishing 3rd overall with a 1:50.01. Also in the A Final was Margrete Ulvestad with a personal best of 1:51.57 and 6th place honors. Chamberlin and Rein rounded out the B Final where Rein earned a lifetime best by almost 1.5 seconds and 21 team points.
The 100 breaststroke was highlighted by Catrina Silveira setting a varsity record and missing the conference record by only two one-hundredths in 1:05.56 in her morning heat. She earned 24 points at night with an eighth place finish. “It is so nice to be under 1:06 again,” Silveira noted. “I haven’t swum this fast since I was 16; all of the hard work and training is finally paying off!” Cadge also contributed in the event with a solid morning swim of 1:06.44 and dropped 4 tenths at night to finish 12th. Just out of Final contention but setting an in-season best was sophomore Kelli Novak with a 1:09.77.
Hyddmark, Ulvestad and Rein were the Eagle stars in the 100 backstroke. All three swam fast enough to make top 20 and return to swim at night. Rein dropped two tenths from the morning to finish 15th with a time of 59.33, Ulvestad improved by over a second to earn 10th place honors and Hyddmark went 57.46 to garner 7th place.
All five 400 Individual Medley contenders qualified to return for evening swims. Although Cadge scratched in order to concentrate on other events, she swam an in-season best during the prelims. Loubris & Oke’s morning swims were fast enough for the C Final; Oke dropped eight seconds to win the heat while Loubris moved up one spot from her morning in-season best of 4:43.93. In the Championship Final Murray swam almost six seconds faster to finish second and set school and conference records. Daniel dropped another 2.8 seconds from her morning swim to earn 3rd place.
Although the 50 freestyle was a deep event, the Eagles’ thirteen participants had an excellent showing. Nine individuals swam to in-season bests with three making the top 30. Cadge swam to an 18th place finish with Chamberlin garnering 23rd.
The three meter springboard competition concluded on night two as well. Sarah McCollough led all Eagle divers scoring 236.00 points earning 5th place points. Following closely were teammates and 6th place Gaby Shaw (231.95 pts) along with 7th place Karmin McNamara (224.20 pts). Freshmen Stephanie Young finished 12th overall in her first collegiate invitational.
The two relays on the second night included the 200 freestyle and the 400 medley. The FGCU B squad for the 200 relay included Isabela Mills Pinto (25.00), Taylor Lipniskis (24.66), Cooke (24.91) and Ulvestad (24.45) setting the tone in heat one with a 1:39.02. The FGCU A squad comprised of Chamberlin (24.57), Daniel (23.89), Rein (23.88) and Cadge (23.99) set a varsity record by almost 2 seconds finishing in 1:36.33.
Day Two concluded with the Eagles in a close race for second leading the University of Illinois by only 30.5 points.
The third day of competition opened with another set of exciting events. Six Eagle contenders competed in the 200 backstroke while the top three qualified for the Championship Final. Ulvestad finished 9th (2:06.32), Rein in 7th (2:05.72) and Hyddmark claimed the bronze medal setting a varsity and conference record in 2:00.03 nearly breaking the two minute barrier.
Following the final backstroke event of the meet, the 500 freestylers prepared to race. FGCU contributed nine entertainers for the top 27 spots in finals. Six swimmers made it back at night, three in the A Final and three in the B Final. Still warm from the 200 back Ulvestad returned to the pool and earned 5th place honors and a lifetime best with a 5:01.78. Murray improved her morning swim by over six seconds and moved from eighth to third with a 4:57.05. Daniel returned as the top-seed from the morning dropping nearly seven seconds to finish with the silver medal in a 4:52.20 setting a freshman, school and conference record. The B Final housed three additional Eagles, each moving up in place from prelims to finals. Gallo recorded an in-season best and 15th place with her 5:05.00. In spectacular fashion Teri Lytle made the finals after an average day one; she swam two lifetime bests in less than 9 hours moving from 17th in the morning (5:06.65) to 13th in finals (5:04.85). Cooke rounded out the Eagle qualifiers earning an in-season best and 12th place honors with a 5:03.90.
The 100 butterfly provided some real action for night three. Four Eagle swimmers returned for Finals with Lytle the lone representative in heat 1. After breaking the one minute barrier for the first time ever in prelims, she destroyed it again in finals swimming her lifetime best of 58.84 earning 22nd place. Cadge and Murray conquered the Consolation B Final with 17th and 14th places respectively. Chamberlin once again noted her presence in the butterfly realm by dropping over two seconds from her morning swim and 9th place to a silver medal finish and a school and conference record of 55.01.
As with the 100 breaststroke, Catrina Silveira starred for the Eagle squad in the 200. Silveira performed an in-season best in the morning heats with a 2:25.40. She returned at night with a very similar swim and earned 17th place team points.
With eight contestants in the 100 freestyle, five qualified to return in the evening. Rein was the top Eagle scorer dropping three tenths to finish tied for 11th place (52.31). Chamberlin’s Finals swim placed her atop the varsity record board in 51.87 although her morning swim only allowed her to be in the C Final. Daniel returned to action in a shorter event and succeed in earning her an in-season best with 21st (52.90) along with teammate Lytle dropping time again for a lifetime best of 53.42.
Five participants swam Finals for the last individual event of the meet, the 200 individual medley. Cadge led the pack with a fourth place finish (2:07.25) followed closely by Rein in fifth (2:07.81) and Ulvestad in sixth (2:08.49). Hyddmark decisively won the B Final in 2:06.78 after dropping nearly 3.5 seconds from her morning performance. Silveira returned to action with an in-season best and 24th place finish (2:12.29).
The last diving event of the meet was the women’s one meter springboard. Again, McCollough led the Eagles with a 5th place finish earning 234.45 points. Just trailing sophomore teammate were Shaw in 6th (232.15) and McNamara in 7th (225.70). Young jumped one spot higher from her first event and finished in 11th earning more valuable team points.
Day 3 also hosted two relays, the 200 medley and 400 freestyle. The FGCU A squad consisting of Hyddmark (27.10), Cadge (30.60), Chamberlin (25.16) and Rein (23.90) earned a 5th place (1:46.76) finish ahead of Cincinnati, Emory and others. The B squad comprised of Ulvestad (27.66), Silveira (30.99), Murray (25.91) and Daniel (23.91) finished in 10th. The 400 freestyle relay was the final event of the meet where both FGCU squads finished in the top 8. Cadge led-off the A relay in 52.51, followed by Daniel (52.34), Rein (52.23) and Chamberlin (51.72) setting a new school record of 3:28.80 and earning 3rd place. The B squad was no less impressive with Ulvestad’s lead of 52.77, Cooke (53.76), Lytle (52.99) and Murray (52.38) for a final time of 3:31.90.
With 1,497.50 the Eagles concluded the meet in 2nd place ahead of University of Illinois, Oakland University, Emory University, Denison University, University of Cincinnati, Wright State University and Marshall University. Coach Studd commented, “I am so excited about how fast our girls are swimming. I can’t wait to see how much faster we can go once we are rested and wearing the new suits!”