Breaststroke Specialist Grace Ward Commits to FGCU for Fall of 2023


By Jack McCormick on SwimSwam

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Staying in-state to continue her academic and athletic careers, Futures finalist Grace Ward has announced her commitment to Florida Gulf Coast for this fall. Ward is currently finishing her senior season at Sickles High School in Tampa, Florida while swimming club with the Berkeley Barracudas. Ward is a Winter Juniors qualifier in both breaststroke events.

“I am extremely excited to announce my verbal commitment to continue my academic and athletic career at Florida Gulf Coast University!!. A huge thank you to my family, friends, and the best coaches for all of their support to get me here. I also want thank Coach Dave and Coach Aly for this amazing opportunity. Wings Up!!!”

Ward finished her high school career by making two finals appearances at the 2022 FHSAA 4A Swimming and Diving State Championships last November. Her top finish came in the 100 breast where she took 4th in a lifetime best of 1:03.73. She added a 15th-place finish in the 50 free (24.76).

She was also a finalist in the 100 breast a year ago in long course meters at the Futures Championships in Cary, North Carolina. At that meet, she came in 16th in the event, touching at 1:14.74. She was over a second faster during prelims, touching at a lifetime best of 1:13.96.

Top SCY Times

  • 100 breast – 1:03.69
  • 200 breast – 2:19.26

Ward has made huge improvements in the breaststroke events in recent years. In her junior year alone, she dropped ten seconds in her 200 breast as well as five seconds in her 100 breast.

Event Sophomore Year Junior Year Senior Year
100 Breast 1:09.33 1:04.54 1:03.69
200 Breast 2:31.83 2:19.26 2:20.64

The FGCU women are coming off of a 2023 season that concluded with them taking fourth out of 11 teams at the 2023 Coastal Collegiate Sports Association (CCSA) Swimming and Diving Championships. The team was led by freshman Cameron Kuriger, who finished first in the 200 fly and second in the 100 fly.

Ward will arrive on campus this fall with times already capable of scoring at the conference level for FGCU. In 2023, her lifetime bests in the breaststroke events would have earned her spots in the B-final at the CCSA Championships.

The freshman class for FGCU is slated to be a massive boost to the program with Ward, Alexis Mishler, Emmakate Zanoli, Sarah Zoellner, and Ava Snider all arriving on campus with times fast enough to score at the CCSA Championships.

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SwimSwam: Breaststroke Specialist Grace Ward Commits to FGCU for Fall of 2023

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