JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - A program-best eight individuals will take to the national stage this weekend for the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships from March 13-16 in Indianapolis, Ind. at the IU Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI. It marks the program's fourth trip to nationals in its history.
"We've been doing some training as a team in Florida and it has been a good and fun week for us," Coach Jordan Taylor said. "We're getting away from distractions just to focus on swimming, eating, sleeping, and recovery."
A total of 14 Eagles will be in attendance included with the relay teams. The eight individuals top the previous program-high of seven sent last season.
"Everything is pretty much the same as last year for me and getting the team prepared," Taylor said. "Having been to nationals a few times, you have an idea about what's going to happen so it's just trying to prepare them for what's expected and control those nerves. Even with our freshmen that are here, they have swam in international races and nationals on club levels so there's not much of a difference as they are well versed with big meets.
"The whole group should be able to help us get through and work off each other. There's a lot of confidence in the group and I think it will make a big difference with the group we will have there this weekend."
Starting with the men's four individuals, Marcelo Figueiredo returns to the NCAA qualifying field in three different events as an Eagle in the 1000 freestyle where he ranks 18th, the 500 freestyle at 17th, and the 1650 freestyle at 21st in the nation.
Freshman Matthew George earned a spot at nationals joining Figueiredo in the 500-yard freestyle event where he sits at No. 9 overall in D2. He currently holds the school record with a swim of 4:26.51.
Caleb Howell enters the 2019 NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships as a qualifier for three different events as a junior. The Easley, S.C. qualified for both the 200 and 400 varieties of the individual medley races, where he ranks 12th and 10th respectively, as well as the 200 breaststroke with the 13th-best time in the nation.
Seth Hughes marked the final male to earn a qualifying time for an individual event with a season-low time of 48.00 seconds in the 100-yard backstroke which ranked him 15th in the nation after the completion of the Division II season.
On the women's side, senior Elly Culp earned qualification times in both the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly events. The native of West End, N.C. was the last swimmer in for the 50 free with the 27th-best time in the nation at 23.34 seconds. She sat at No. 23 overall in 100 fly.
Meredith Ginn joins George as the only other freshman who qualified for an individual event this season as she earned qualifying times in both the 200 and 400-yard individual medley races. She holds steady at No. 21 and No. 19 following the end of the year in each event respectively.
CJ Jensen returns to the NCAA's for the second straight season where she has qualified for the 200-yard butterfly where she had the nation's 21st-best time at 2:03.20. She was the first swimmer on the outside looking in for the 400 IM at 4:26.65. Queens' Hayley Blaauw rounded out the top-26 with a time of 4:26.56.
Lisa Postma rounds out the final of the eight total Eagles to represent C-N at the upcoming national championships as she qualified for both the 50 and 100-yard freestyle events as an individual placing 11th and 7th in the nation in each event.
Taylor's troops had their best performance in program history at the NCAA"s last season with a handful of expectations to live up to. The week featured 11 school record swims and six All-American swims.
Stay tuned to cneagles.com ncaa.com when they announce their live stats, video, and meet schedule for the entire week.
You can view the full list of qualifiers here at the NCAA website.