FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast University women’s swimming and diving team celebrated another successful season with its annual end of year banquet last weekend.
The evening was a joyous reflection of the Green and Blue’s 5-3 (1-0 CCSA) season that saw them overcome adversity to beat numerous high-major programs, capture silver at the Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association (CCSA) championships and place 32nd at the NCAA swimming and diving Championship. Over the year the Eagles placed first in 58 races and set 12 program records.
“It was great to get the team together to celebrate an awesome year, but also a year where we learned a lot about dealing with adversity,” head coach Neal Studd said. “We say thank you to our five seniors and look to keep improving this wonderful team for years to come.”
The program saw the distribution of five awards, four of which were voted on by the team while the Coaches Award recipient is selected by Studd and assistant coach April Woo.
Earning the title of Hardest Worker was team newcomer Nina Schiffer (Dortmund, Germany/SG Dortmund), while Sandra Wilk (Lexington, Ky./Paul Laurence Dunbar HS) was dubbed Most Improved. Both recipients earned all-conference honors at the CCSA meet with second-place finishes, Schiffer in the 200-yard butterfly (1:58.38) and Wilk in the 100-yard backstroke (54.68).
Mikaila Buening (Franklin, Ind./Franklin Community HS) was named Diver of the Year, a well-deserved honor as the freshman led the Eagles in a majority of this season’s meets. Posting the highest marks on the team in both events at CCSA’s, Buening placed ninth in the 3-meter event (259.65) and seventh on one meter (225.50).
Adding to their ever-growing lists of accolades were Kira Toussaint (Amstelveen, Netherlands/Keizer Karel College) and Emma Svensson (Upsala, Sweden/Celsiusskolan) earning the final two awards.
Crowned FGCU Swimmer of the Year was Toussaint for her historic rookie season where she set eight FGCU program records, four individually and four as a member of a relay, and four CCSA records. The recently-named CCSA Swimmer of the Year also earned a spot on the Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America All-American Team for her seventh-place finish in the 100-yard backstroke at NCAA Championships (51.81). The Netherlands’ native continued to find success at NCAAs in the 200 backstroke, finishing the race in 1:53.79 to place 12th in the nation.
Prior to her NCAA performance Toussaint was named Most Outstanding Freshman Performer and Most Outstanding Female Swimmer of the 2014 CCSA Championship Meet after wins in the 200-free, 100-back and the 200-back.
Taking home the Coaches Award was Svensson for her outstanding leadership both in and out of the water. Serving as one of the team’s captain this year, Svensson continued to bring FGCU swimming to the next level through her successes this season.
Placing 12th in the NCAA Championship 50-yard freestyle (22.33), her finish scored the Green and Blue five points, the first in program history. Svensson’s role as the first to put FGCU on the scoreboard was more than appropriate as she was the first to qualify for the Championship in 2012. To begin her time at NCAA’s, the junior swam the race of her life, setting both an FGCU and Swedish national record, clocking a 22.09 in the 50-yard freestyle prelim. Her time was good for 11th place and a spot in the finals, something no member of the Green and Blue had ever done before.
For complete coverage of FGCU women’s swimming, follow us on Twitter @FGCU_WSWIM and visit www.FGCUAthletics.com.
2013-14 FGCU Swimming and Diving Team Awards
Hardest Worker: Nina Schiffer
Most Improved: Sandra Wilk
Diver of the Year: Mikaila Buening
Swimmer of the Year: Kira Toussaint
Coaches Award: Emma Svensson