FGCU swimmers qualify for London Olympics
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.