The FIU swimming & diving team enjoyed a day of school records and personal bests in the first day of competition at the Mizzou Invitational hosted by the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. The Panthers broke two school records and almost all of FIU’s times were season-bests.
“Overall, for a mid-season event, I feel this is exactly what we wanted to accomplish,” Head Coach Randy Horner said. “We swam better in the morning than the afternoon but this is the type of experience we needed.”
The Panthers started the invite by breaking an FIU school record in the 200 Freestyle Relay. The team of Johanna Gustafsdottir, Klara Andersson, Valeriia Popova and Kelly Grace swam a time of 1:34.83 to break the school record. FIU’s ‘B’ relay team of Becky Wilde, Chelsie Kidd, Nadia Farrugia and Courtney VanderSchaaf swam the third-best time in FIU history at 1:36.79.
Junior Sonia Perez placed second in the 500 Freestyle, breaking her own FIU record by nearly seven seconds with a time of 4:50.32. Freshman Danielle Albright swam a career-best and the fourth-best FIU time in the event, touching in at 5:00.11, while junior Mary Boucher swam a season-high time of 5:05.56.
In the 100 Butterfly, junior Sarah D’Antoni touched in at 57.18 in the finals, a career-best time and the fifth-best time in FIU history. In the preliminaries, senior Marina Ribi swam the third-best time in FIU history, touching in at 55.96.
Stealing the show for the Panthers was sophomore Gustafsdottir who blew away the competition with her win in the 200 IM. Her time of 1:59.44 was a season best for the Icelandic swimmer and was .30 seconds off her FIU record time and an NCAA ‘B’ cut time. Ribi placed fifth in the event, touching the wall at 2:02.16, good enough for the third-best time in FIU history. The time was also a second off her career best.
“This was a great victory for Johanna,” Horner said. “She beat a lot of fast swimmers in a talented field.”
The 50 Freestyle event saw sophomore Andersson (23.73), junior Popova (24.18) and senior Grace (24.26) all swim season-best times. Andersson’s time was also a personal best by .06 seconds, keeping her name in the top three at FIU in the event. Popova’s preliminary time of 24.13 earned her the fifth-best time in FIU history.
In the 13th event of the day, the 400 Medley Relay, the team of Perez, Andersson, Ribi and Gustafsdottir teamed up to swim the second-best time in FIU history at 3:47.79.
Junior diver Sabrina Beaupre closed out the day with a third-place finish in the 3-meter diving event with a finals score of 293.50, a season high.
“Sabrina dove really well and scored high with some very tough judging,” FIU diving coach Rio Ramirez said.
“Overall, I’m very pleased with the performances everyone put forth today,” Horner said. “We definitely accomplished a lot of personal and team goals and we still have two days of competition left.”
The Panthers will return to the pool for day two of the Mizzou Invitational on Friday, Nov. 29, starting with the prelims at 10 a.m. CT, and the finals at 6 p.m. CT. Fans can follow the action with live stats provided at www.MUTigers.com.