MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – It took just 22.09 seconds for Emma Svensson to start writing Eagle history in the opening day of the 2014 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, and it took 22.33 for her to write it again on Thursday night. Becoming the first from FGCU to compete in final at NCAAs, Svensson placed 12th in the 50-yard freestyle, clocking a 22.33.
To begin day one in Minneapolis, Svensson (Upsala, Sweden/Celsiusskolan) swam the race of her life, clocking a 22.09 in the 50-yard freestyle prelim. The junior’s time was good for 11th place and a spot in the finals, something no member of the Green and Blue had ever done before. Entering the race with the 29th-fastest time, 22.34, Svensson shed over two-tenths of a second off her time, setting both an FGCU and Swedish national record.
In Thursday night’s race, Svensson touched in 22.33 seconds, the second-fastest in the Eagle’s record book, to place 12th. Her finish scored the Green and Blue five points, the first in program history. Svensson’s role as the first the put FGCU on the scoreboard is more than appropriate as she was the first to qualify for the Championship in 2012.
“Today was another massive step forward for our program,” head coach Neal Studd said. “Scoring at NCAAs is a big deal and very rare for a mid-major school. Emma was superb; she deserves all the credit for her performance. She works hard at everything she does and today it paid off. I could not be happier for her as she is an outstanding person and athlete. I am overwhelmed with pride.”
As a freshman the Upsala, Sweden native touched 38th in the event with a 22.66, before placing 31st with a 22.37 in 2013.
“Today was a great experience and a lot of fun,” Svensson said. “While my final swim wasn’t as clean as what I did in prelims I’m still very proud and excited that I could score FGCU its first points at NCAAs. I can’t wait to see what Kira does for our program tomorrow, and I’m going to put all my efforts into cheering her on tomorrow.”
Joining her teammate in the race was Kira Toussaint (Amstelveen, Netherlands/Keizer Karel College), placing 46th with a 22.79, a drop of 0.18 from her seeded time. Toussaint will return tomorrow to race the 100-yard backstroke, another event FGCU is expected to shine in.
Finals for Friday and Saturday will be broadcast live on ESPN3. Live video and live scoring for the remaining sessions will be available here: http://bit.ly/1em2mRX
For complete coverage of FGCU women’s swimming at NCAAs, follow us on Twitter @FGCU_WSWIM and visit www.FGCUAthletics.com.
FGCU earns points at NCAAs for the first time in program history.