One wins heat, another has ‘best swim ever’
LONDON – Two FGCU women rose to the challenge Sunday as the first Eagle swimmers to contend for Olympic glory.
Sophomore Karen Vilorio, representing her native Honduras, won her early-morning heat in the 100-meter backstroke by posting a time of 1:06.38, but it was not fast enough to advance to the semifinal round of the top 16 swimmers. Vilorio qualified for the Olympics last May when she posted a personal best of 1:06.18 in a Gulf Coast Swim Team meet at FGCU.
Representing St. Lucia and making her second Olympic appearance, Danielle Beaubrun posted 1:11.12 in her qualifying heat in the 100-meter breaststroke. The rising senior did not advance to the semifinals, but did improve by more than a second on her 2008 time at the Beijing Games, where she competed prior to enrolling at FGCU. Beaubrun qualified for London in October 2011 when she won the consolation final of the Pan American Games with a time of 1:10.63.
FGCU swimming and diving coach Neal Studd, attending the Olympics as head coach for St. Lucia swimmers, said he was proud of both women. He has been blogging about the Olympics experience for The News-Press of Fort Myers at www.news-press.com/sports.
“For Karen, it was awesome to see her win her heat and just miss her qualifying time,” Studd said. “Dani actually had her best swim ever, but misjudged the finish a bit. Nonetheless, it was her second-best time ever and under that kind of pressure that’s awesome. The girls truly exemplified the Olympic spirit of giving your best.”
Fans can replay the swimmers’ heats on NBC Olympics Live Extra, which streams every sport on the program. It’s online at NBCOlympics.com/liveextra and available via the NBC Olympics “Live Extra” mobile/tablet App. To access the free content, viewers must verify that they subscribe to a service that includes CNBC and MSNBC.
FGCU Olympians Karen Vilorio and Danielle Beaubrun hope to make a splash in their respective swimming qualifiers early Sunday in London.
|Head Coach Neal Studd|
Fans who want to watch the Eagles can check out NBC Olympics Live Extra, which features live streams of every event in the London Olympics. It's available exclusively online at NBCOlympics.com/liveextra and via the NBC Olympics "Live Extra" mobile/tablet App. To access the free content, fans must verify that they subscribe to a TV service that includes CNBC and MSNBC.
The London Games mark the swimming and diving team's first foray into Olympic competition. Head coach Neal Studd also is participating as the coach for St. Lucia.
Be sure to watch for all of the Eagles during the opening ceremonies, which air at 7:30 p.m. ET Friday on NBC.
|Karen Vilorio||Danielle Beaubrun|
Florida Gulf Coast University's swimming program could make a splash at the Summer Games in London - its first foray into Olympic competition.
Two student athletes qualified to represent their home countries at the games, which begin July 27. Swimming and diving coach Neal Studd also will participate as head coach for St. Lucia's national team.
Danielle Beaubrun, 22, a rising senior from St. Lucia, will compete for her country in the 100-meter breaststroke. Karen Vilorio, 19, an incoming sophomore, will swim for her native Honduras in the 100-meter backstroke.
The London Games represent Beaubrun's second shot at an Olympic medal; in high school, she competed in the 2008 Beijing Games but did not advance past the qualifying round. She's been training for two years to peak in time for London.
"The first time I was only 18, and it was very much of a learning experience for me," Beaubrun says. "This time around I am more confident and in a better position. I have trained very hard and shown continuous improvement. I am very excited."
A former competitive swimmer, Studd is looking forward to visiting his homeland. It's his second stint coaching St. Lucia after serving last year at the World Championships in Shanghai, China.
"I narrowly missed the '96 games as an athlete and to go to London, 45 minutes from my hometown, is just unbelievable," he says. "It will be nothing short of a dream come true for me."
The Olympics will be broadcast on NBC. For the complete schedule, go to www.nbcolympics.com; the site also will stream all 302 events in 32 sports live for the first time.
For updates on the Eagles' efforts in the Olympics, follow @FGCUSwimandDive on Twitter.