FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU swimming and diving team travels to Athens, Ga., this week for the 2011 Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA) Championship, where it will defend its back-to-back conference titles. The championship, which will be held at the University of Georgia’s Gabrielsen Natatorium, begins on Thursday (Feb. 17) and concludes on Saturday (Feb. 19).
The Eagles finished the regular season with an 11-2 dual meet record (5-0 in CCSA) and are ranked 13th in the latest CollegeSwimming.com/CSCAA Mid-Major Division I poll. Davidson is the only other CCSA school receiving votes in the poll.
FGCU completed their third consecutive undefeated CCSA season, finishing with a 5-0 record this year after recording a perfect 6-0 CCSA record last season. The only CCSA dual meet that the Eagles have ever lost was also the closest result in school history; a one-point loss at Georgia Southern on January 19, 2008. In four years of competition, the Blue and Green are a remarkable 19-1 in conference meets.
“We have done a lot more this year and the team looks awesome,” said reigning CCSA Coach of the Year Neal Studd. “My girls are extremely talented and I expected us to do very well. We have a very good chance of three-peating and I think our girls are ready.”
FGCU owns eight top times in the CCSA, while senior diver Karmin McNamara (Tampa, Fla./Gaither) has the top score (285.45) in the 1-meter dive. FGCU has the top time in both the 200 medley (1:44.12) and 400 medley (3:49.30) relays. All together, the Blue and Green own 61 times in the top 10 of 14 events and all three divers rank in the top 10 in the 1-meter and 3-meter dives.
McNamara took first in both diving events last season and earned Diver of the Year for the second straight time. Classmate Gaby Shaw (Boynton Beach, Fla./Park Vista) took second in both events.
Junior Leah Daniel (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Grant Park) boasts the top times in the 500 free (4:56.83), 1000 free (10:18.44) and 1650 free (16:59.42). Classmate Vicky Cadge (Long Melford, Suffolk, United Kingdom/Kelly College) tops the 100 backstroke (56.72), 200 IM (2:03.95) and 400 IM (4:26.66) lists. At the 2010 championship, Daniel took first in the 1650 free, second in the 500 free and third in the 200 free, while Cadge earned three second-place finishes in the 200 IM, 400 IM and 200 breaststroke.
Senior Viktoria Hyddmark (Lund, Sweden/Polhemskolah) has the best conference time in the 200 back with a mark of 2:02.76. Junior Alessandra Cianci (Plantation, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) is first in the 200 fly (2:03.68), while classmate Danielle Butler (Orangeburg, N.Y./St. Bonaventure) is just behind at 2:04.00. Butler took first place in the 200 fly and third in the 100 fly at the championship last season.
In the 50 free, freshman Christina Tanninen (Burlington, Ontario/Nelson) has the fastest time for FGCU with a 23.77 and is just 0.79 seconds behind the first-place time. Sophomore Dani Beaubrun (Vieux Fort, St. Lucia/The Bolles School) has the second best time in the conference in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:02.77.
McNamara, Shaw and Hyddmark along with classmates Taylor Cooke (Homosass, Fla./Lecanto), Isabela Mills (Petropolis, Brazil/Universidade Amembi Morumbi), Kelli Novak (Castalian Springs, Tenn./Marshall) and Catrina Silveira (Doral, Fla./Doral Academy) will swim their final strokes for FGCU at the championship. Five of the seniors were part of the inaugural season of the FGCU team in 2007-08.
“It is a special year for our first-ever four-year seniors,” said Studd. We had a pretty emotional senior day and they mean a lot to our program. We hope very much that we can send them out with a bang.”
Fans can watch the championship on a live video stream on the Big South Network Presented by State Farm. All three days of the championship will be video-streamed LIVE with play-by-play provided by Mark Bryant of the Big South Conference office. All three days of the Championship can be purchased for $7.95, while a single day can be viewed for $4.95. You can purchase the video streaming packages at BigSouthSports.com and choose “upcoming live events” from the multimedia menu.
In addition to the video stream, the CCSA will provide free live results through the HyTek manager system. The link for the live results will be available at a later date on TheCCSA.com. There will also be live Twitter updates on http://twitter.com/TheCCSA, updating you on all the action of the CCSA Championships.
For the latest information on the FGCU swimming and diving team during the championship, follow the Eagles on Twitter at http://twitter.com/FGCUEagles.