Swim and Dive Kick Off Eagle Invitational, Georgia Tech Invite

Swim and Dive Kick Off Eagle Invitational, Georgia Tech Invite

FORT MYERS, Fla./ATLANTA, Ga. – The FGCU swim and dive team kicked off a busy couple of days, Thursday, as they began the Eagle Invitational as well as the Georgia Tech Invite.

At the FGCU Aquatics Complex, history was made on the diving board as three Eagles qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships for the first time in program history. Senior Megan Wakefield (Guelph, Ontario, Canada/Centennial CVI), junior Isabeau Keene (Demorest, Ga./Tallulah Falls School), and junior Delaney Nelson (Cincinnati, Ohio/Ursuline Academy) all qualified on the 1-meter.  The trio all scored above the 265-point standard, led by Wakefield who tallied 286.28 points. Keene registered a score of 278.63 points while Nelson scored 270.68.

“We had a really strong first night of competition,” said head coach Dave Rollins. “We’ve approached this fist half of the season differently than in years past, so its important to see how they compete. Big congratulations to Megan, Beau and Delaney on qualifying for Zones! That’s huge for our program.”

In the first individual swim event of the night, junior Sara Niepelova (Piestany, Slovakia/Gymnazium Pierra de Coubertina/ECU) won the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:58.74, breaking five minutes for the first time this season.

In the 50 free, the Eagles swept the podium as junior Hailey Jerew (Miami, Fla./Cutler Bay Senior HS) took first with a personal-best time of 22.81, the seventh-fastest in program history. Senior Brittney Pike (Boerne, Texas/Boerne Samuel V. Champion/Arkansas) touched second with a time of 23.55 while sophomore Emma Hixenbaugh (Louisville, Ky./Ballard HS) was third with a time of 23.80.

“Hailey was absolutely flying going 22 for the first time,” continued Rollins. “As a team we talked about, how can we be better tonight than this morning. Not just times or scores, but execution of our races. That’s what we are focused on. Lots of racing to go, both here and in Georgia, really proud of how Tori and Petra are competing. Should be an exciting weekend!

The Eagles also took first in both relays tonight. The quartet of freshman Macy Mullis (Colbert, Ga./Madison County), sophomore Karen Arngeirsdottir (Reykjanesbaer, Iceland/Fjolbrautaskoli Sudurnesja), junior Julia Rodriguez (Gainesville, Fla./Buccholz HS), and Pike took first place in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:42.50.

Pike picked up here second relay win of the night in the 800 free along with Niepelova, junior Anna Hogan (Louisville, Ky./Ballard HS), and sophomore Zuzanna Rabiniak (Radom, Poland/X Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace Mitsrzostwa Sportowego W Lublinie) with a time of 7:34.30.

After one day of the Eagle Invitational, the Eagles lead with 425 points. Georgia Southern is in second with 259 points while North Florida is close behind with 246 points.

At the Georgia Tech Invite, seniors Petra Halmai (Dombovar, Hungary/Lanczos Kornel Secondari Grammar School) and Wiktoria Czarnecka (Lublin, Poland/Liceum NR 10 W Lublinie) swam against some of the nation’s best and showed that they belonged.

In the 50 free, Czarnecka finished ninth in a field of 58 swimmers, all from the SEC or ACC, with a time of 22.95 while Halmai finished 18th out of 48 in the 200 IM with a time of 2:01.57.

Everybody will be back in the pool tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. for day two of both invitationals with the finals tomorrow night at 6 p.m.


For complete coverage of FGCU swimming & diving, follow the Eagles on Twitter (@FGCU_WSwimDive), Instagram (@FGCU_WSwimDive) and online at www.FGCUAthletics.com. You can also sign up to have news on FGCU swimming & diving or other programs delivered directly to your inbox by visiting www.fgcuathletics.com/email.



Head coach Dave Rollins is only the second coach in program history. He was hired Sept. 1, 2016 and owns a 34-23-1 (.595) dual meet record, which includes a 13-2 (.857) mark against CCSA opponents, in his fourth season. Rollins guided FGCU to back-to-back CCSA titles (2017, 2018), as well as the program’s fourth-straight title in 2018, marking the ninth championship in 10 years before winning the 10th championship in program history in 2021. In addition, he has been awarded CCSA Coach of the Year in two of his seasons at the helm. Previously, Rollins was the associate head men’s swimming coach at The Ohio State University. Rollins brings over a decade of coaching experience to The Nest, which includes helping to develop Olympians, NCAA Champions and All-Americans, along with multiple conference champions. A native of Brockton, Mass., he was a standout collegiate swimmer in his own right and was inducted into the University of Arizona’s Hall of Fame in 2017, as a nine-time NCAA All-American, national champion, school record holder and team captain.



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FGCU Athletics sponsors events in November and April to benefit the FGCU Campus Food Pantry (www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry) and the Harry Chapin Food Bank (www.harrychapinfoodbank.org), FGCU Athletics’ charities of choice. For more information, including how to make a contribution, please visit www.fgcu.edu/foodpantry and utilize the hashtag #FeedFGCU to help raise awareness.



FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 85 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 14+ seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just nine seasons of D-I postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 42 teams or individuals compete in NCAA championships. Eight FGCU programs have earned a top-25 national ranking in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 21, 2020-21), beach volleyball (No. 20, 2021) and both men’s soccer (2018, 2019) and women’s soccer (2018) as three of the most recent. In 2016-17, the Green and Blue posted a department-best sixth-place finish in the DI-AAA Learfield Directors’ Cup and top-100 showing nationally, ahead of several Power-5 and FBS institutions. In 2018-19, the Eagles had an ASUN and state of Florida best seven teams earn the NCAA’s Public Recognition Award for their Academic Progress Rate in their sport. FGCU also collectively earned a record 3.50 GPA in the classroom in the fall 2020 semester and has outperformed the general University undergraduate population for 24 consecutive semesters. The 2019 Fall, 2020 Spring, 2020 Fall, and 2021 Spring semesters each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher team GPA in each. The Eagles also served an all-time high 7,200 volunteer hours in 2017 – being recognized as one of two runners-up for the inaugural NACDA Community Service Award presented by the Fiesta Bowl.





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