MIAMI, Florida, January 12. THE FIU swimming and diving team kicked off the 2013 dual meet season with a commanding 198-100 victory against Central Connecticut State University Friday evening at the Biscayne Bay Aquatics Center in Miami, Fla.
"The team performed really well today," FIU Head Coach Randy Horner said. "At this point in the season, we're training hard and back in class and going full speed, so you really don't know what you're going to get out of the girls. We came out today and swam fast."
In all, the Panthers came away with 12 victories out of 16 events.
Once again leading the way for the Panthers was junior Sonia Perez who took home victories in the 100 Backstroke (59.06), 200 Backstroke (206.20), and the 200 IM in addition to leading off the victorious 200 Medley Relay team.
"She's swimming with a chip on her shoulder and swimming pissed off because she didn't make nationals last year," Horner said of Perez. "That's been her goal ever since she missed qualifying and it's her goal to make it to nationals and every meet we go into, she's proven herself and elevated herself to a different level."
After sitting out the last home meet to do illness, sophomore Johanna Gustafsdottir returned to the pool stronger than ever with victories in the 200 Freestyle (1:53.36) and the 200 Breaststroke (2:21.55). She also placed second in the 100 Butterfly (59.55) to teammate and senior Marina Ribi. Ribi won the 100 Fly event with a time of 57.52 in addition to her victory in the 200 Butterfly (2:06.19) earlier in the meet.
Also adding victories against Central Connecticut were sophomore Courtney VanderSchaaf in the 50 Freestyle (25.12) and Jessica Chadwick in the 100 Breaststroke (106.17). The victory was the first for Chadwick, a freshman from the United Kingdom.
"She's doing a good job," Horner said of Chadwick. "She has a long way to go but we're seeing a lot of talent and a lot of promise out of her. She keeps getting better every meet."
Junior Sabrina Beaupre capped off the evening with victories in the 1-meter (280.42) and 3-meter (304.87) diving events.
The Panthers will return to the pool in their second-to-last competition before the conference championships on Saturday, Jan. 19, against Florida Gulf Coast at 11 a.m., at the Biscayne Bay Aquatics Center. Admission to the meet is free of charge.
"We're going to have to beat great teams and some great swimmers in some close races and really come together as a team to win the next few dual meets," Horner said of the next two meets ahead. "We're competing against some really good programs in FGCU, FAU and Indian River College the next two meets. They are important for us to gauge how well we do against some good competition heading into the Sun Belt Conference Championships."
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Results: FIU vs. Central Connecticut State