Back-to-Back Champs: FIU Swimming and Diving Claims 2016 C-USA Swimming and Diving Championship

Scoring the second-most points in Conference USA Championship history, the FIU swimming and diving team claimed its second-straight conference crown on Saturday.

The Panthers claimed 15 of the 21 total titles during the four-day championships en route to a 954-point result. FIU bested second-place Rice by 318 points – the most-decisive victory in C-USA Championship history. Marshall (618.5), North Texas (467), Florida Atlantic (380.5) and Old Dominion (360) rounded out this year’s field.

In all, FIU won 28 medals, including 15 gold, while setting seven school records.

FIU’s dominance of the 2016 C-USA Championships resulted in the Panthers sweeping the specialty awards as Head Coach Randy Horner was named C-USA Coach of the Year, Diving Coach Rio Ramirez was named the C-USA Diving Coach of the Year, sophomore Naomi Ruele was named the C-USA Swimmer of the Meet and sophomore Rebecca Quesnel was named the C-USA Diver of the Meet. The Coach of the Year award was the third of Coach Horner’s career, while Ramirez earned his second Diving Coach of the Year honor. Ruele, who claimed seven gold medals during the championships, became FIU’s second-straight C-USA Swimmer of the Meet. Quesnel, a seven-time C-USA Diver of the Week and the C-USA Champion in the 1-meter and platform programs, becomes the Panthers’ second Diver of the Meet award winner (Sabrina Beaupre in 2014).

With a 233-point lead heading into the final seven events, FIU entered the final day poised to run away with the championship. The Panthers set the tone from the start as sophomore Kyna Pereira set the school record in the 1650 Free with a time of 16.24.36 to claim her fourth title of the championships.

Ruele earned the Panthers’ second first-place finish of the day with a 49.30 in the 100 Free. The time set by the native of Botswana broke the school record previously held by last year’s C-USA Swimmer of the Year Johanna Gustafsdottir (50.01). Sophomore Letizia Bertelli claimed the silver in the event with a personal-best time of 49.89.

Sophomore Chase Harris medaled in the 200 Breast, topping her previous career-best by over two seconds with 2:16.01. The time was good enough to win the bronze.

Senior Valerie Inghels won the gold in the 200 Fly. The Saleilles, France, native scored a time of 1:58.49 – less than three-tenths of a second off of her school record time of 1:58.24 set at last year’s C-USA Championships.

In the platform program, FIU took first and third adding to an insurmountable lead heading into the final event – the 400 Free Relay. Quesnel claimed her second gold of the championships, scoring a school-record 299.80. Sophomore Laura Coronado took third with a career-best score of 221.95.

The Panthers earned the clean sweep of the relays, winning the 400 Free Relay as the team of Bertelli, Marie Lauridsen, Pereira and Ruele finished with a time of 3:20.10 and the team’s final 40 points of the championships.

Up next are the NCAA Zones (March 7-9 in Atlanta, Ga.) and the NCAA Championships (March 17-19 in Atlanta, Ga.).

via FIU Athletics

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