LYNCHBURG, Va. – The FGCU swim and dive team got off to a roaring start at the CCSA Championships as the Eagles claimed three golds, a silver, and a bronze on day one. Overall, the Eagles sit in second place with 438 points, only behind Liberty, who has 527 points.
“We were a little timid this morning and in some spots didn’t get into the heats we needed,” said head coach Dave Rollins† “But the ladies did a fantastic job being aggressive in their swims and ripping their dives. Big time congratulations to Reese [Wakefield]Toric [Czarnecka] and the medley relays. Fantastic performance. Reese posted the 2nd best 3m score in school history, Tori the 3rd fastest 50 in school history. Our relay was faster than a year ago as well, placing just outside the top five of all time. This is a long meet, with lots of events yet to come. The best is only in front of us.”
The evening got started with the 200 medley relay as junior Claire McAtee (Louisville, Ky./Sacred Heart Academy), redshirt senior Petra Halmaic (Dombovar, Hungary/Lanczos Kornel Secondari Grammar School) senior Wiktoria Czarnecka (Lublin, Poland/Liceum 10 NR W Lublinie) junior Hailey Yerew (Miami, Fla./Cutler Bay Senior High) took home the gold with a time of 1:39.38, beating Liberty by nearly a second.
Antother gold quickly followed as junior Reese Wakefield (Guelph, Ontario, Canada/Bishop Macdonnelle CHS) won the 3-meter diving. It is the second gold for Wakefield in the event as she also won in 2020 as well as the third time in four years that a Wakefield sister has claimed gold as Megan Wakefield won in 2019. Reese also becomes just the second Eagle to win this event twice after Maegan Butler did so in 2012 and 2013.
Czarnecka picked up here second gold of the evening and sixth of her career in the 50 free. The senior swam a personal best in tonight with a time of 22.29 to win her third-straight gold in the event and the tenth straight for the Eagles in the 50 free overall.
Two other Eagles picked up medals on night one as Halmai claimed silver in the 200 IM for her 17th-career CCSA medal with a time of 2:01.16. Jerew joined Czarnecka on the 50 free podium as she collected the bronze.
The Eagles will be back tomorrow for day two with the prelims at 10 am on the Big South Sports Network and the finals at 6 pm on ESPN3. Events for tomorrow include the 200 free relay, 100 fly, 400 IM, 200 free, and 400 medley relay.
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HEAD COACH DAVE ROLLINS
head coach Dave Rollins is only the second coach in program history. He was hired Sept. 1, 2016 and owns a 35-26-1 (.573) dual meet record, which includes a 14-2 (.875) mark against CCSA opponents, in his sixth 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 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 DI 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.