By Brett Shweky/Sports Director
Conference-USA Swimmer of the Year, Letizia Bertelli, aims to improve upon her already impressive career at FIU and help transcend the team to new heights.
Bertelli discussed that for this season her personal goal as well as the team’s is to reach the finals or semi-finals at the national level.
“I think there is always room to improve and this year I think our team has the skills to potentially make finals or the semi-finals,” said Bertelli. “FIU has never done it before, so I would be extremely honored to be part of the team’s success.”
As a junior, Bertelli made her first-ever appearance in the NCAA Championships and competed in five events.
At the C-USA Championship, she claimed three individual medals and four relay medals. Bertelli set the school and the conference record in the 100 Free as the lead leg of the 400 Free Relay with an impressive time of 48.32; this was the twenty-fifth fastest time in the nation.
Before attending FIU, the Italian native was the winner of five Junior Italian Nationals medals and also won two National titles in the 50 Fly. She attended four different Italian National Championships as a member of the club team Asola Nuoto.
The senior explained that she never thought that she would attend a university in the U.S. and heard about FIU completely by chance.
“I read this article about Sarah D’Antoni, a swimmer who used to go to FIU, and she was the first athlete in FIU history to be at the NCAA qualifier. I kept scrolling down the article reading about how she did this experience and at the time I never heard of any colleges in the U.S. So I thought to myself just as a joke I’m going to send them an email. Amazingly, Ignacio [Gayo] answered me within three minutes, so I never wrote to any other university in America.
Bertelli, outside of being the C-USA Swimmer of the Year, has also shown she is an outstanding student.
Currently majoring in international business, Bertelli has been named to the FIU Dean’s list and has received conference academic accolades on multiple occasions.
“I feel like I don’t sleep,” said Bertelli jokingly “I think swimming teaches you how to organize yourself and to work hard at everything you do. So this mentality helps me reach my goals and school is just another one of those goals to me.”
The women’s Swimming and Diving team will return to the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Center on Nov. 3, 2017 for a matchup against the University of Illinois.