Florida Gulf Coast Kicks Off 2020-2021 Season with Intrasquad Meet

Florida Gulf Coast Green vs. Blue Intrasquad

  • October 23, 2020
  • Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, Florida
  • Short Course Yards (25 yard) Intrasquad

The Florida Gulf Coast Eagles split into two teams, a green team and a blue team, for a season-opening intrasquad event. This was the campuses first hosted event since March, when sports were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team’s top swimmer is Hungarian Petra Halmai, a senior who finished last season ranked 10th in the NCAA in the 200 yard breaststroke with a 2:07.38.

Friday’s meet was swum in mostly ‘off-distances’ of 50 yard or 150 yard races. In her most-primary event on the schedule, Halmai won the 150 yard breaststroke in 1:39.34. That’s pacing of about 33.1 per 50, which would count out to about a 2:12-mid if held for one more 50.

She also won the 150 fly right after that in 1:32.25 (30.7 per 50) and the 50 back in 26.9.

Halmai also split 29.0 in a 50 breaststroke in a session-ending 200 medley relay. In that race, the varsity squad’s best quartet matched up against the program’s coaching staff in a fun head-to-head challenge. The coaches, which includes 2011 Pan American Games champion Lara Jackson, and Dave Rollins, a former NCAA Champion, came out on top, though the varsity team fought back on the anchor leg when Polish freshman Zuzanna Rabiniak almost chased down diving coach David Boyko.

Splits:

Coaches:

  • Lara Jackson (back) – 26.11
  • Dave Rollins (breast) – 27.0
  • KT Kustritz (fly) – 24.4
  • David Boyko (free) – 26.6

Swimmers:

  • Alicja Ulicka (back) – 27.29
  • Petra Halmai (breast) – 29.02
  • Wiktoria Czarnecka (fly) – 25.11
  • Zuzu Rabiniak (free) – 23.45

Including the bookends of that relay, Ulicka and Rabiniak, as well as Icelandic national champion Karen Arngeirsdottir, the Eagles have brought in the best freshman class of the Rollins era this season. That was on full display in this meet, including a 23.06 medley relay anchor in the green vs. blue relay from Rabiniak.

Full Florida Gulf Coast Press Release

FORT MYERS, Fla. – At the end of the FGCU swimming & diving team’s annual Green and Blue Meet, it was the green team that came away with the win, as they earned a 135-118 decision over their blue competitors.

The event marked the first competition that FGCU had hosted since March, when sports were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the meet was closed to the public, the FGCU Athletics Department successfully hosted 50 students, most of which were Dirty Birds, in a manner that included both masks and social distancing.

“The Green and Blue meet is always a great way to get our team back into competing,” head coach Dave Rollins said. “The team always brings great energy and to see so many of our new Eagles contribute in such a big way was awesome. Anytime you can set some meet records is a plus. Reese (Wakefield) was close to the 3m mark and having the 200 medley relay team record be broken by a full second – and faster than any dual meet times we had last year – is a fantastic sign. In addition, I’d like to shoutout Alicja (Ulicka) for setting the 150 Back record by almost two full seconds and Petra (Halmai) going four seconds faster in the 150 Breast. I’m excited to get back to training and see how we can build on these results as we head into November.”

Senior Petra Halmai (Dombovar, Hungary/Lanczos Kornel Secondari Grammar School) led the way for the winning team, collecting three first-place finishes. The returning CSCAA All-American picked up wins in the 150 Breast, the 150 Fly and the 50 Back. Sophomore Reese Wakefield (Guelph, Ontario/Bishop Macdonelle CHS) also contributed multiple first-place finishes to the green team, as she took home both the 3m and 1m dives.

On the blue team, both junior Wiktoria Czarnecka (Lublin, Poland/Liceum NR 10 W Lublinie) and sophomore transfer Sara Niepelova (Piestany, Slovenia/East Carolina) turned in a pair of first-place finishes, pacing their respective squad. Czarnecka took home both the 50 Free and the 50 Fly, while Niepelova won the 300 Free and the 300 IM.

Throughout the course of the evening, the team also laid down multiple meet records. The quartet of Halmai, freshman Karen Arngeirsdottir (Reykjanesbaer, Iceland/Fjolbrautaskoli Sudurnesja), sophomore Julia Rodriguez (Gainesville, Fla./Buccholz HS) and freshman Zuzanna Rabiniak (Radom, Poland/X Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace Mistrzostwa Sportowego W Lublinie) opened up the competition with a record swim of 1:45.13 in the 200 medley relay.  Freshman Alicja Ulicka (Rybno, Poland/Liceum Ogolnoksztalcace IM.Wislawy Szymborskiej) was the first individual to achieve the feat, recording a 1:29.52 in the 150 Back. In the following event, Halmai matched the record-breaking effort by swimming a 1:39.34 in the 150 Breast. Arngeirsdottir, who finished second in the event, also finished below the previous record with a time of 1:43.06.

The remainder of the Eagles’ 2020-21 slate has yet to be released, but the school has been working closely with both the CCSA Conference and the NCAA to determine the final schedule. Information will be released as it is finalized.

For complete coverage of FGCU swimming & diving, follow the Eagles on Twitter (@FGCU_WSwim), 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
Head coach Dave Rollins is only the second coach in program history. He was hired Sept. 1, 2016 and owns a 32-20-1 (.615) dual meet record, which includes an 11-2 (.846) 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. 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.

SUSTAINING FLIGHT 
To help offset the financial impact of COVID-19, FGCU Athletics has launched the Sustaining Flight Fundraiser and Auction. The fundraising campaign will help mitigate operational revenue loss and the additional expenses incurred as a result of COVID-19 protocols. All funds raised during the campaign will go to support areas that directly impact student-athletes.

In lieu of hosting the annual Night at the Nest gala this year, one of FGCU’s most successful fundraising events, the department will be hosting a virtual, online auction from Monday, Nov. 30 through Friday, Dec. 4. Fans and supporters will be able to bid on exclusive memorabilia, trip packages, unique event experiences and more. For more information, visit www.fgcuathletics.com/sustainingflight.

E.A.G.L.E. CAMPAIGN
IT TAKES A TEAM to achieve our newest goal – a $10 million campaign to address student-athlete needs in continued academic success, life skills, mental health, nutrition, and strength and conditioning as well as departmental needs in facility expansion and improvement as well as mentoring and leadership training for coaches and staff. The name embodies our mission and the purpose of the E.A.G.L.E. Campaign – Eagle Athletics Generating Lifetime Excellence. Join Our Team and pledge your gift today to help the Eagles of tomorrow!

#FEEDFGCU
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.

ABOUT FGCU
FGCU teams have combined to win an incredible 82 conference regular season and tournament titles in just 13 seasons at the Division I level. Additionally, in just nine seasons of D-I postseason eligibility, the Eagles have had a combined 38 teams or individuals compete in NCAA championships. Seven FGCU programs have earned a top-25 national ranking in their respective sport – including women’s basketball (No. 24, 2019-20) 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 (APR) in their sport and have had the highest percentage of teams so honored from these two groups over each of the past three years. FGCU also collectively earned a record 3.46 GPA in the classroom in the spring 2020 semester and has outperformed the general University undergraduate population for 22 consecutive semesters. The 2019 Fall and 2020 Spring semesters each saw another milestone reached as all 15 programs achieved a 3.0-or-higher team GPA. 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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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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