|Coming off its eighth conference championship in a span of nine years, the FGCU Swimming and Diving team continued to be recognized for its achievements in and out of the pool as Christina Kaas Elmgreen, Ashley Wright and Katie Latham swept the CCSA End of the Year Awards, league officials announced Thursday afternoon.
Kaas Elmgreen becomes the fourth consecutive Eagle to take home Swimmer of the Year honors after FGCU Hall of Famer Emma Svensson won the award in 2013, Kira Toussaint took it home in 2014 and Elise Haan earned the distinction a year ago. The conference did not announce a winner in 2015. Additionally, Wright becomes the third Eagle to earn Diver of the Year honors, joining Karmin McNamara in 2011 and Maegan Butler in 2013, while Latham becomes FGCU’s first outright Scholar-Athlete of the Year after Lani Cabrera was named Co-Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2016, when the award was first bestowed.
“Congratulations to these outstanding young women,” said FGCU head coach Dave Rollins. “It’s an incredible honor for them to be recognized with these awards by the fellow coaches in our conference. We’ve had an amazing season, and I couldn’t think of a better way to finish it off. I’m so happy for and proud of Christina, Ashley and Katie.”
The Most Outstanding Female Swimmer of the CCSA Championships, Kaas Elmgreen (Charlottenlund, Denmark/Ordrup Gymnasium) won the conference crown in both the 100 fly and 200 IM while finishing runner-up in the 200 fly. She was also a member of the conference champion 400 medley relay team. After defeating the field by more than a second with a time of 1:59.65 in the 200 IM and 53.53 seconds in the 100 fly, the sophomore standout finished just 0.02 seconds behind Liberty’s Alicia Finnigan in the 200 fly. However, Kaas Elmgreen’s most impressive swim of the weekend came in the 200 fly time trial as she set the FGCU and CCSA all-time record in the event with a time of 1:56.24. It marked the third time during the season she had broken the previous program record.
With a total of 13 NCAA ‘B’ cut times during the course of the season and the 31st fastest time in the country in the 200 fly, Kaas Elmgreen capped off the year as one of five Eagles and the lone FGCU individual to participate in the NCAA Championships, where she competed in the 100 fly and 200 IM along with the aforementioned 200 fly.
Throughout the season, Kaas Elmgreen finished first in a total of eight individual events and was named the ASUN Swimmer of the Week on three occasions. She turned in five of the program’s top-10 all-time marks in the 200 fly, including the aforementioned school record, and three of the top-10 times in the 100 fly.
One of the most prolific divers in program history, Wright (Port St. Lucie, Fla./Indian River State/Lincoln Park Academy) became the first Eagle since Butler in 2013 to win the CCSA Championship in both the one-meter and three-meter events and was named the CCSA Most Outstanding Female Diver of the Meet for her performances. She went on to complete the season at the NCAA Zone B Diving Championships and finished 31st in the one-meter dive with a score of 232.15 while also placing 36th in the three-meter dive with a total of 223.55.
While logging a total of 12 one-meter dives and 13 three-meter dives this season, Wright surpassed the NCAA Zone Diving Standard on six occasions in the one-meter event and four occasions in the three-meter dive. Additionally, in seven weeks of competition this season, she went on to earn the CCSA Diver of the Week award seven times.
In two years with the Green and Blue, the Port St. Lucie native rewrote much of the FGCU record book as she holds six of the Eagles’ top-10 all-time marks in the one-meter dive – three of which occurred this season – and five in the three-meter event – four of which occurred during her final campaign with the Eagles.
Exemplifying what it means to be a student-athlete, Latham (Deal, Kent, UK/Sir Roger Manwood’s School) excels both in and out of the pool. A Biochemistry major with a 3.89 GPA, she is a two-time member of the Dean’s List for turning in a GPA of 3.5 or higher and was also one of five FGCU swimmers to earn President’s List honors with a 4.0 GPA last fall. Latham was named to the CCSA All-Academic Team in 2016 and will likely earn the distinction again this season.
Latham was as impressive in the pool as she won the CCSA Championship in the 50 free for the second straight season and finished third in the 100 free. She was also a member of three conference champion relay teams, including the 200 free relay that won the CCSA Championship with a conference and school all-time record. The quartet went on to finish 15th at the NCAA Championships and earned Honorable Mention All-American honors. After having set the FGCU and CCSA all-time records on three occasions this season, the Eagles capped off the year in Indianapolis with its best time of 1:28.76 as FGCU tallied points in the NCAA Championships for the fourth straight season.
The United Kingdom native finished first in five individuals events this season and was one of six Eagles to be named the CCSA Swimmer of the Week. She turned in a top-10 all-time mark in both the 50 free and 100 free and now holds four of the Eagles’ all-time marks in the shorter sprint and three in the longer event.
HEAD COACH DAVE ROLLINS
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News courtesy of FGCU Athletics.