ATHENS, Ga. – The FGCU swimming and diving team is off to a great start in defending their three-straight conference titles as they sit in first place after day one with 263 points at the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Championships, held on Thursday at Gabrielsen Natatorium in Athens, Ga.
Sitting in second behind the Eagles by 84 points is Liberty with 179, while North Florida is in third with 124 and Georgia Southern is fourth with 110 points.
In total, the Eagles earned nine medals in the first day of the CCSA championship to finish atop the leaderboard.
FGCU took second in the 200 free relay as freshman Emma Svensson (Uppsala, Sweden/Celsiusskolan), sophomore Christina Tanninen (Burlington, Ontario/Nelson), junior Eva Lehtonen (Rochester, Hills, Mich./Rochester Adams/Florida) and senior Vicky Cadge (Long Melford, Suffolk, U.K./Kelly College) earned an NCAA “B” cut time of 1:32.24, falling just short of Liberty.
In the 500 freestyle, the Eagles earned a sweep as Lehtonen finished first with a time of 4:54.42, followed by freshman Devon Robbins (London, United Kingdom/The Grey Coat Hospital) at 4:55.18 and senior captain Leah Daniel (Winnipeg, Manitoba/Grant Park) placed third with a time of 4:56.20.
Cadge picked up a gold medal in the 200 IM with a time of 2:03.17, while freshman Blaine Small (Glenrothes, Fife, United Kingdom/Kelly College) earned points with an eighth-place finish with a time of 2:09.01.
In the 50 free, Svensson took second with a NCAA “B” cut with a time of 22.85, while Tanninen took seventh at 23.47 to earn 12 points for the Eagles.
In the 1-meter diving competition, junior Maegan Butler (Orangeburg, N.Y./Tappan Zee HS/FAU) won gold with a score of 258.70 points. Sophomore Alex Valder (Tampa, Fla./Sickles HS) placed third for the Eagles with a score of 243.95.
In the final event of the night, FGCU finished in style with an NCAA “B” cut in the 400-medley relay with a season-best time of 3:41.11. The team of Svensson, junior Danielle Beaubrun (Vieux Fort, St. Lucia/The Bolles School), senior Danielle Butler (Orangeburg, N.Y./Tappan Zee HS/St. Bonaventure) and Tanninen touched in ahead of the pack.
The second day of the CCSA Championship begins Friday, Feb. 17 at 10:00 a.m. with preliminaries followed by the finals which will take place at 6:00 p.m.
Fans can watch the championship on a live video stream on the Big South Network. The final two days of the championship will be video-streamed LIVE and 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 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 more information about the FGCU women’s swimming and diving team visit www.FGCUAthletics.com and follow @FGCUSwimandDive on Twitter for more updates.
Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Championship (Day One)
1. FGCU 263
2. Liberty University 179
3. North Florida 124
4. Georgia Southern University 110
5. Davidson College 106
6. College of Charleston 89
7. Gardner-Webb University 88
8. Radford University 52
9. Campbell University 40
10. North Carolina A&T 32
11. Virginia Military Institute 26
12. Howard University 22