FORT MYERS, Fla. – The three-time defending Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA) Champion FGCU women’s swimming & diving team officially opens its 2011-12 campaign at Florida International, on Friday at the Bay Vista Aquatics Center in Miami.
The following day, the Eagles will participate in a tri-meet with Florida State and host Miami, starting at 10 a.m. at the Norman A. Whitten University Center in Coral Gables.
The three-time CCSA Coach of the Year Neal Studd welcomes back 19 student-athletes from last year’s squad, including 10 All-Conference swimmers. FGCU picked up 13 gold medals, 11 silvers and five bronze at last year’s CCSA championship. The Eagles defeated second-place Davidson at the CCSA Championship by 294.5 points and captured 29 medals.
Leading the team are seniors Danielle Butler (Orangeburg, N.Y./Tappan Zee HS/St. Bonaventure), Victoria Cadge (Long Melford, Suffolk, United Kingdom/Kelly College), Alessandra Cianci (Plantation, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas HS), Leah Daniel (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Grant Park HS) and Teri Lytle (Melbourne, Fla./Melbourne Central Catholic). Butler, Cadge, Cianci and Daniel all earned All-Conference honors last season.
Juniors Danielle Beaubrun (Vieux Fort, St. Lucia/The Bolles School) and Shannon Blizzard (Jacksonville, Fla./Stanton College Prep HS), both earned All-Conference honors after strong showings at the league championship. Beaubrun most recently placed 19th in the 50-meter breaststroke at the 2011 FINA World Championships and is the defending CCSA Champion in the 100-yard breast.
Sophomore Jessie Porter (Chorley, Hertforshire, United Kingdom/Royal Masonic) returns after being named the Co-Women’s Most Outstanding Freshman Performer of the Meet at the CCSA Championship. Porter won gold in the 200 fly and was part of the silver medal 400 free relay team.
The Green and Blue have 13 freshmen, and two transfers in junior Eva Lehtonen (Rochester Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams HS/Florida) and junior Jamie Akenberger (Bowling Green, Ohio/BGSU).
Freshmen Emma Svensson (Uppsala, Sweeden/Celsiusskolan) and Karen Vilorio (Tegucigalpa, Honduras/Elvel School), both look to make an immediate impact for FGCU this season. Sevensson was the ninth-ranked Division I recruit according to CollegeSwimming.com. This past summer, Vilorio placed 37th in the 200-meter backstroke at the 2011 FINA World Championships.