FORT MYERS, Fla. – Just a day after garnering votes in the Top 25 Poll for the second time this season, head FGCU swimming & diving coach Neal Studd announced that Eva Lehtonen (Rochester Hills, Mich./Florida), formerly of the University of Florida, will join the Eagles 2011-12 roster.
"I am delighted to welcome Eva to the FGCU athletics family. As we continue to build our team it is great for us to attract another 2008 Olympian,” said reigning Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA) Coach of the Year Studd. “She is coming off a great year last year with the National Champions University of Florida. We hope Eva can make a big impact here at FGCU and help move us forward with the ultimate goals of going to the NCAA Championship and the 2012 London Olympic Games. We anticipate to have a few swimmers participate in those games and do FGCU proud."
The sophomore transfer from the 2010 National Champion Florida team will not be able to travel or suit up for meets in 2010-11, but she is permitted to participate in practice with the Eagles.
Lehtonen brings a wealth of international experience to the Eagles squad as a 2008 Olympian for Finland. Lehtonen, who finished 33rd in the 800-meter free and 35th in the 400-meter free at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, holds five Finnish National Records. Among Lehtonen’s records is a 1500 free record that dated back to 1983 before she re-established the mark at the 2007 U.S.A. Junior National meet.
FGCU prepares for its final conference meet against UNF on Saturday at noon at the FGCU Aquatics Center. The Eagles have two more meets in January before heading to Georgia to defend their back-to-back CCSA titles at the CCSA Championship beginning on February 17.