ATHENS, Ga. – The FGCU swimming and diving team is on its way to defending its back-to-back conference titles as it sits in first place after day one with 256.5 points at the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Championship (CCSA) at the University of Georgia’s Gabriel Natatorium on Thursday night.
Sitting behind the Eagles by 78.6 points is Davidson with 178 points, while Gardner-Webb sits in third with 142.5. FGCU picked up 74 points from relays to help aid in its lead.
In total, 13 Eagles advanced from the preliminary rounds this morning to the evening’s finals. The 200-yard free relay and 400 medley relay also were swam at night.
FGCU took second in the 200 free relay of sophomore Shannon Blizzard (Jacksonville, Fla./Stanton College Prep), freshman Christina Tanninen (Burlington, Ontario/Nelson) and juniors Leah Daniel (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Grant Park) and Vicky Cadge (Long Melford, Suffolk, U.K./Kelly College) by just 18th-hundredths of a second with a time of 1:33.37, matching the previous CCSA record. Davidson’s first-place time of 1:33.19, set today, is now the CCSA record.
Daniel continued her success in the 500 free with a time of 4:48.22, which is a NCAA Provisional ‘B’ cut time, to place first. Her time today breaks her record set in 2009 of 4:48.78. Following in second place was freshman Jessie Porter (Chorleywood, Hertforshire, U.K./Royal Masonic) with a season-best time of 4:56.06. Senior captain Taylor Cooke (Homosassa, Fla./Lecanto) picked up points with a fifth-place finish, shaving almost two seconds off her preliminary time with a 4:57.44. Freshman Lindsey Meeder (Boynton Beach, Fla./Park Vista) finished in sixth with a season-best time of 4:58.55.
In the morning, Cadge set a CCSA record with a time of 2:02.46 in the 200 IM, breaking classmate Myriam Plante’s (Sainte-Foy, Quebec/Université Laval) record. However, Plante broke Cadge’s record in the finals with a time of 2:01.55 and a first-place finish. Cadge took second, touching just behind Plante at 2:01.68. Senior Viktoria Hyddmark (Lund, Sweden/Polhemskolah) finished in sixth with a season-best time of 2:06.07.
In the 50 free, Tanninen finished in fourth with a season-best time of 23.67, while Blizzard took fifth with a 24.08, her season-best. Sophomore Dani Beaubrun (Vieux Fort, St. Lucia/The Bolles School) picked up 11th-place points, touching the wall at 24.13, which is also her season-fastest.
In the second relay of the night, FGCU redeemed itself, this time, finishing ahead of Davidson in the 400 medley relay. Cadge, Beaubrun, junior Danielle Butler (Orangeburg, N.Y./St. Bonaventure) and Daniel clocked in with a time of 3:45.07, which is the fastest time set for this relay by FGCU this season.
In the 1-meter diving competition, senior Karmin McNamara (Tampa, Fla./Gaither) won gold for the second straight year with a score of 261.00 points. Classmate and captain Gaby Shaw (Boynton Beach, Fla./Park Vista) finished third with a score of 232.75. Freshman Alex Valder (Tampa, Fla./Sickles) placed fourth for the Eagles with a season-best score of 224.10.
The second day of the CCSA Championship begins Friday, Feb. 18 at 10:00 a.m., starting with the 200 yard medley “B” relays. The finals will take start at 6:00 p.m.
For more information about the CCSA including meet results, news, schedules, Championship information, records, and top times, visit the official home of the CCSA, www.theccsa.com. You can also follow the CCSA on twitter at http://twitter.com/TheCCSA.