Freshman swimmer Emma Svensson traveled to Auburn, Ala., on March 15 to compete in the NCAA Swimming Championships and broke two FGCU records.
She participated in the 50 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle. Svensson, who qualified for the 50 free at the Last Chance Meet in Athens, Ga., with a time of 22.46 seconds, entered the meet with the 29th fastest time nationally.
In the NCAA championship’s 50 free preliminaries, Svensson posted a time of 22.66 seconds, which failed to qualify her for the round of 16. She finished in 38th place. This was Svensson’s first event of the meet and she admitted she was a little nervous and disappointed with her time.
“I was a little tense in the 50,” Svensson said. “I was trying not to think about it and stay relaxed, but I may have been a little over excited with all the excitement in the building. I wanted to go faster in the 50 free and that was the event that I had the best ranking in. I was a little unfortunate that that race didn’t go well, but overall, thoughts on the meet were positive.”
FGCU coach Neal Studd, who traveled to Auburn with Svensson, pointed to nerves as well.
“I think if she would’ve raced the 50 free later in the meet, her time would’ve been much better, because she was a little nervous and excited going into the event,” Studd said. “She found her comfort zone in the next event.”
Svensson’s next event was the 100 back, where she earned 34th place and a mark that put her in the FGCU and Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association history books.
Svensson broke the 100 back records with a time 53.61 seconds, 27 tenths of a second better than her best time. Svensson also broke the school’s 100 free record in her next event with a time of 49.44 seconds, which was good enough for a 35th-place finish.
“I’m really happy about the records and that I swam two really good one-hundreds,” Svensson said. “I’ve been changing a lot from the conference meet to the Last Chance Meet, and then to the NCAA Championships, so it was a great feeling.”
Svensson still had an incredible experience even without qualifying for the final 16.
“The experience was amazing and one I’ll never forget,” Svensson said. “I made friends with other kids coming from a mid-major school like ours. We grouped up together to build our own small team.”
The future is limitless for this freshman, whose first year included four CCSA Swimmer of the Week awards and a Freshmen Female Performer of the Meet award at the CCSA Conference Championships.
Both Svensson and Studd see room for improvement.
“I’m going to keep practicing everything to become better and better,” Svensson said. “I will work especially on my starts in the 50 free. I’m already excited for next season. Next year, I will have more concrete goals compared to this year when I didn’t have any, and I’ll be more experienced. I already know my main individual goal next year is to get back to the NCAA Championships and make a final.”
Studd has specific off-season goals for Svensson.
“I know she’s going to do everything she can to become better,” Studd said. “We’ll do some tweaking over the offseason. We will probably look to bulk her up a little bit so she has some more power for her races.