Florida Gulf Coast’s Karen Vilorio Competing Again After Health Scare

FORT MYERS, Florida, October 12. FLORIDA Gulf Coast University sophomore Karen Vilorio competed today in a dual meet against Miami University, two weeks after showing “seizure-like symptoms” that kept her from completing competition in the team's first meet of the season.

Vilorio, a native of Honduras who competed in the 200 backstroke at the 2012 Olympics, swam the 200 back today, placing a respectable second in the race. Vilorio was cleared to compete on Wednesday, head coach Neal Studd told Swimming World today after the meet.

“She wanted to step up knowing this was a pretty good rivalry we have with Miami,” Studd said.

Vilorio was pulled from the water on Sept. 30 during the warm-up session for the preliminaries of the All-Florida Invitational in Gainesville, Fla. According to an article in the Fort Myers News-Press, Vilorio was suffering from what was initially believed to be an asthma attack as her extremities went numb and she felt cramping in her muscles. Two days later, Vilorio was unable to complete workout, experiencing “seizure-like conditions,” Studd said.

“They called it asthma,” Studd told the News-Press last week. “I'm no doctor, but I feel like something else is going on, too.” He also said the high chlorine levels at the O'Connell Center Pool in Gainesville could have triggered the asthma attack.

Vilorio was unable to compete last Saturday in the team's first dual meet of the season against Florida State as she waited for the results of a battery of tests that would diagnose the problem as asthma and an upper respiratory infection. Studd said Vilorio had “been kind of low on energy and hadn't been herself” in the weeks before the All-Florida Invitational.

Studd continues to believe there is an underlying health issue that doctors have not yet discovered with Vilorio, and he and his staff will keep a close eye on her during training.

Florida Gulf Coast beat Miami by 17 points — 130-113 — and Studd says Vilorio's contribution in the 200 backstroke was a key moment for the team, as were the swims by Emma Svensson, who was competing in her first meet since recovering from mononucleosis. The team experienced another health issue on Tuesday when junior Jessie Porter fainted briefly after a workout, likely from dehydration.

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