FORT MYERS, Fla. – Competing in its first season of NCAA postseason eligibility, FGCU’s diving team has had three divers qualify for the NCAA Zone B Championship back on Jan. 28 against FIU. Junior Maegan Butler (Orangburg, N.Y./Tappan Zee HS/FAU), sophomore Alex Valder (Tampa, Fla./Sickles HS) and freshman Cayla Collins (Largo, Fla./Osceola HS) each scored qualifying times for the NCAA Zone B Championship held on March 5-7 in Auburn, Ala. at the James E. Martin Aquatics Center.
“I am so proud of all the girls for what they have accomplished this season,” said Diving coach Andrew Goe. “With such a young team it shows that the program can only get better from here. It is exciting to think about the direction of the diving team in the years to come.”
FGCU’s swimming and diving team is 11-2 on the season with a perfect 4-0 record in the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association.
On Jan. 28 against FIU the Eagles took care of the Panthers with a score of 198-99 as Butler, Collins and Valder finished second, third and fourth, respectively, in the 1-meter dive competition. All three of their scores qualified them for the NCAA Zone B Championship. To qualify for the 1-meter you must have a qualifying point total of 265 or better.
Butler, a mid-year transfer from FAU, is a two-time CCSA Diver of the Week and scored a career high 281.17 against FIU.
“At this point, we are all perfecting our dives and making sure we are consistent,” said Butler. “Our focus is on conference but it is encouraging to be going to Zones.”
Valder qualified with a 265.25 score versus FIU and was named CCSA Diver of the Week on Oct. 5.
“I learned two new dives heading into FIU and after working hard all year it was nice that it finally paid off,” said Valder. “We were under pressure to qualify with only a few more chances to do so and I was really excited to make it.”
Collins in her freshman campaign was also a CCSA Diver of the Week on Nov. 9 and scored a season-best 269.18 against the Panthers.
“The week leading up to the FIU meet, we worked hard on perfecting our best dives,” said Collins. “The hard work paid off and Zones will be exciting to participate in.”
In their first attempt at qualifying for postseason, the FGCU divers will take their talent to Auburn, Ala. next month.
The Green and Blue are looking for their fourth-straight CCSA title on Feb.16-18 in Athens, Ga.
For more information about the FGCU women’s swimming and diving team visit www.FGCUAthletics.com and follow @FGCUSwimandDive on Twitter for more updates.