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Published 03/06/2013
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Three Canes to Compete at NCAA Championship

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- After a successful run through the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, the University of Miami swimming team will have three representatives at the NCAA Division I Women's Swimming & Diving Championship in Indianapolis, Ind.

"We're obviously really excited," head coach Christie Shefchunas said. "What's most exciting to me is that two years ago, with Annika [Saarnak], we had our first NCAA qualifier in nearly ten years. Last year we had two in Kelsi [Hall] and Sofia [Johansson], and now we have three."

Shefchunas and associate head coach Aaron Ciarla are excited about the upward trend of one of the ACC's budding powers.

"Having three competitors really proves that we're moving forward and bringing this program among the nation's elite," Shefchunas said.

Johansson will be competing in her second consecutive NCAA postseason. The Sweden native, who captured her third consecutive gold medal at the ACC's in the 100-Yard Breaststroke, will be looking to attain her first-ever All-American status.

Fellow senior Celeste Degen will be participating in her first NCAA postseason. The Hudson, Fla., native, who qualified via the Bulldog Invitational Last Chance Meet hosted by the University of Georgia, will battle it out in her signature event, the 50-Yard Freestyle.

After a tremendous sophomore campaign, Lucy Worrall will also competing in her first NCAA postseason. The Vicars Cross, England native, who broke the ACC record in the 100-Yard Butterfly in Greensboro, was one of only 72 swimmers to earn an NCAA "A" cut time, automatically qualifying her for the postseason.

"It shows everbody that when you do things right, you get better," Shefchunas said. "You become an elite athlete. Celeste, Lucy and Sofia have done everything right all year. They're so passionate, and have made this a priority in life, and it has paid off. It's a beautiful thing."

For the next three weeks, the Hurricanes will be preparing for the trip to the IU Natatorium and the IUPUI Sports Complex in Indianapolis, each hoping to become Miami's next All-American swimmer.

Despite the prestige surrounding the event, Shefchunas is confident in her swimmers to rise to the occasion.

"It's about consistency, and really letting their experience show through. They've done some great things that have prepared them to be where they are. It's the world's fastest meet - while that can be a little bit intimidating, they're going to be ready to show the world what they're all about."

Miami may very well have additions to its postseason roster, as the Hurricane divers are set to compete in the Zone Regional qualifiers from March 11-17.