Swim of the Week: FGCU Quartet Scores 189 Final-Day Points To Force CCSA Tie

Disclaimer: Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Swim of the Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

Entering the final day of the 2021 CCSA Championships, Florida Gulf Coast University trailed two-time defending champs Liberty by 59 points.

But Tori Czarnecka, Zuzu Rabiniak, Kaja Reinhardt and Joely Merriman weren’t discouraged.

The four FGCU sprinters absolutely took over the final day of the conference meet, combining to score 189 points between the 100 free and the 400 free relay and forcing a tie in team points for the conference title.

The morning prelims started out as good as possible for FGCU. The junior Czarnecka, third in the conference last year to two Liberty seniors, qualified first in 49.94, with freshman Rabiniak just behind. And while Liberty’s Abby Brown Strohmeier was third, FGCU bookended her with the junior Merriman and sophomore Reinhardt taking 8th and 9th, respectively, to pack the 9-person A final for the evening.

At night, Czarnecka and Rabiniak held their spots, sweeping gold and silver with times of 49.51 and 50.76. Meanwhile Strohmeier fell to 5th and Reinhardt moved up to 4th in 50.90. With Merriman going 51.71 for 9th, FGCU scored a whopping 119 team points to take over the points lead.

Liberty fought back hard the next two events, though, and had pulled back ahead by 8 points heading into the final relay. But that’s when the quartet of 100 freestylers reconvened, each just about matching or outdoing their individual 100 free swim in a clutch relay win that forced a tie for the overall conference title.

Here’s a look at each swimmer’s individual 100 free from the finals session, alongside their relay split:

100 Free Final Relay
Tori Czarnecka 49.51 49.60 (leadoff)
Zuzu Rabiniak 50.76 49.77
Joely Merriman 51.71 51.1
Kaja Reinhardt 50.90 50.40

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5 months ago

Polish power 🔥🔥🔥

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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