(Courtesy of fgcuathletics.com)
RIO DE JANEIRO -For the third consecutive Olympics, the FGCU Swimming and Diving program will be represented by a pair of student-athletes as rising seniorEvita Leterhas officially qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from August 5-21, the Suriname Olympic Committee (SOC) announced this week.
Leter (Paramaribo, Suriname/Doral Academy)will join teammateLani Cabrera(Bridgetown Barbados/St. Ursula's Secondary School)in Rio as she qualified for the Olympic Games as a Universality Place ? meaning she was selected by the SOC to represent her country, which didn't have a swimmer achieve an Olympic Qualifying Time or Olympic Selection Time.
"Every athlete's dream is to compete in the Olympics, so it's obviously a great feeling for me to represent my country at the highest level," said Leter. "I can't really put it into words yet. I just recently heard the news, and I'm still processing everything. I'm super excited to get to compete at the highest level for my country and for FGCU."
During the Olympic qualification period from March 1, 2015 to July 3, 2016, Leter turned in the top times among Surinamese female swimmers in both the 50 breast (32.44) and 100 breast (1:12.99) after most recently taking gold in the shorter sprint and silver in the longer sprint at the Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships. Additionally, she clocked her country's second-best times in the 50 free (27.91) at the All-Florida Senior Circuit and the 100 free (1:01.07) at the Southern Zone Sectional Championship.
Swimming at the Olympics will take place from Saturday, Aug. 6 through Saturday, Aug. 13 with preliminary events beginning at 12 p.m. ET and the finals running at 9 p.m. ET. As a University Place, Leter is allowed to compete in one event during the Games and will focus her attention on the 100 breast, which will take place Sunday, Aug. 7 and Monday, Aug. 8. For the 100 breast, the top eight times in Sunday's semifinal will advance to compete in the final event Monday night.
NBC will broadcast the Opening Ceremony of the Rio Olympics on Friday, Aug. 5 on a one-hour delay beginning at 8 p.m. ET. Additionally, each event can be seen on the NBCOlympics.com live stream. For a more detailed view of the daily competition schedule, click here.
"I'm so incredibly happy this young lady is going to Rio as our fifth Olympian," FGCU head coachNeal Studdadded. "She has overcome so many health issues, including trips to the ER, along the way but has become a tremendous swimmer and conference champion regardless. Her smile in infectious and she is loved by all her teammates and coaches for her kindness and self-sacrifice. Evita is such a great kid, and we can't wait to watch her compete next month."
Leter becomes the fifth member of the FGCU Swimming and Diving program and the sixth FGCU student-athlete to qualify for the Olympic Games. Former swimmers Danielle Beaubrun (St. Lucia) and Eva Lehtonen (Finland) qualified for Beijing in 2008, while Beaubrun and KarenVilorio(Honduras) competed in London four years later. Additionally, former beach volleyball player Brook Youngquist Sweat will join Cabrera and Leter in Rio as the University's first representative of the United States.
In her junior season with the Green and Blue, Leter took home the CCSA crown in the 100 breast after touching the pads in a personal-best time of 1:01.10 and helped lead the Eagles to its seventh CCSA Championship in an eight-year span. Her time in the event was also good for the third-fastest of the season and fourth-fastest in program history.