Florida Gulf Coast beat Liberty University in a dual meet that came down to the final relay and just six tenths of a second of real time.
Leading by just three with the 200 free relay to go, FGCU had to win the event to win the meet. Katie Latham staked her team to a four-tenths of a second lead on her 23.71 leadoff split, but 50 free champ Rachel Hoeve started to reel in the Eagles back in with a big second split. But Hannah Burdge and Fanny Teijonsalo went 23.1 and 23.2, respectively, on their closing splits for Florida Gulf Coast to seal the win in 1:33.49. Gracie Redding, swimming second, was 23.3 in a consistent effort for Gulf Coast. Liberty was 1:34.09 for second.
FGCU also took third in the relay, outscoring Liberty 13-4 to cap a 137-125 win at home. That was despite Liberty winning 8 events to FGCU’s 6. The teams split the relays, with Liberty going 3:47.38 to take the medley relay.
Burdge won the 100 and 200 frees to help Gulf Coast triumph. Her 1:53.18 led a big 1-2 punch in the 200 free that gave the home team the lead for the first time. She also won the 100 free in 51.78.
It looked like Gulf Coast had the meet wrapped up one event before the 200 free relay. Freshman Liz Zeiger touched first in the 400 IM but was disqualified for a one-handed touch. That turned a 14-5 FGCU point spread in the event (which would have made it 129-116 and out of reach with one event to go) into a 10-9 Liberty victory in the event. That forced things to the final relay for all the marbles.
Zeiger also won the 1000 free earlier in the day, going 10:13.39.
Alicia Finnigan won twice for Liberty, going 2:00.25 in the 100 fly and 5:01.76 in the 500 free.