FIU drops season opener despite impressive performances

Reinaldo Llerena // Staff Writer

Although two swimmers impressed in FIU Swimming and Diving’s season opener, the Panthers dropped its season opener versus the University of Miami, 161-101, on Saturday, Oct. 1 in Coral Gables.

Freshman Taylor Grabenhorst and junior Kyna Pereira were the Panther standouts during the meet against the Hurricanes. The meet, originally scheduled for Sept. 30, was postponed because of inclement weather.

“There were some bright spots and obviously some that were not, but this gives us a chance to see where we’re at,” said Head Coach Randy Horner after the meet. “We had a lot of fast times today, but we were out-touched a lot today. We need to get to the wall faster.”

Grabenhorst, who made her Panther debut against the Hurricanes, earned two wins. Her first win came in the first event of the day, as she and FIU veterans Naomi Ruele, Letizia Bertelli and Jennifer Deist won the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:44.20. Grabenhorst swam in the breaststroke, her best swimming technique.

The freshman’s first individual win came in the 200-yard breaststroke. Grabenhorst finished one second ahead of Miami’s Julia Schippert with a time of 2:23.08. The freshman placed second in two other events versus the Hurricanes. Grabenhorst came second in the 100-yard breaststroke and the 200-yard individual medley, ending her Panther debut with two wins and two second-place finishes.

“The event went by super fast,” Grabenhorst said after the meet. “I didn’t have a lot of time between races, but with that I had a lot of fun and I just went up and raced. I looked at some of my times and I thought ‘How?’ Some of the times were two or three seconds off of my best and being tired I those times caught me by surprise.”

Although Grabenhorst had an impressive debut, Pereira had an equally impressive day. The South African native won in the 1000-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle and placed in the top three in the 100-yard freestyle and the 400-yard freestyle relay.

“She’s a stud,” Horner said about Pereira’s performance. “She steps up in races anywhere we need her. To do the events that she did, the 1000, the 500, the 100 and the last relay was awesome top to bottom and something that’s typical of her.”

Naomi Ruele only won in one event, the 200-yard medley relay. The Botswanan native finished third in the 100-yard freestyle and fourth in the 50-yard freestyle.

The Panthers will travel to Houston for the Dual-A-Palooza from Oct. 14- 15. The home opener for Swimming and Diving will be Oct. 21 versus Nova Southeastern University and Indian River State University at the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Center.

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