In an article published today by Seth Soffian of the News-Press, Florida Gulf Coast head swimming coach Neal Studd has announced that his women’s-only program has received an extra scholarship for the 2014-2015 season, and Studd confirmed Friday that he will receive another half-scholarship for the 2015-2016 season.
The schedule of the Eagles’ scholarship count:
- 2013-2014 7.5
- 2014-2015 8.5
- 2015-2016 9.0
The Eagles’ program has aways been shy of the 14.0 maximum scholarships the NCAA allows for Division I programs. In its first 7 years in existence, however, that hasn’t prevented the team from having great success. In that period, the team has won 5 CCSA Conference Championships, and been runner-up twice (including in the 2013-2014 season).
FGCU becomes at least the 3rd Division I program to announce an upcoming increase in scholarships, joining the Cincinnati men and the Duke women.
Last year, they also made their biggest splash yet nationally. For the first time in program history, the school had two swimmers earn individual All-American honors, and the program’s first-ever A-final finish with Kira Toussaint’s 7th in the 100 yard back (51.81).
With both of those All-Americans returning, Toussaint and Emma Svensson, Studd has already put his extra scholarships to work with an impressive incoming class. The highlight in the fall was Katie Armitage, who has improved her best time to a 1:09 in the 100 long course meter breaststroke since committing.
In the spring period, they’ve added:
- Rebecca Derogatis, NJCAA National Record holder in 50 yard free (22.93) and a transfer from Indian River State College.
- Yee Ching Wong from Hong Kong, a 1:02 long course butterflier and National Age Group Record holder in her home country
- Kristin Julien from Trinidad & Tobago, a 2014 CARIFTA champion in the 15-17 age group with a 29.84 (a new Meet Record) and a 1:06.39 in the 100 back, plus multiple other medals in the long course meters meet.
- Sommer Harris, a 1:03.5/2:16.7 breaststroke from Virginia
- Christi Herfurth, a 2:03.00 200 butterflier from Florida
- Vanessa Rivas, who was a 34.52 to break the Dominican Republic National Record in the 50 breaststroke at the 2013 World Championships
Those recruits, the extra scholarship dollars, and a new $1.5 million renovation to their pool leaves Florida Gulf Coast has some momentum headed into the 2014-2015 season.