HARRISONBURG, Va., June 5, 2012 – Former James Madison University swimmer Eva Hannesdottir (Seltjarnarnes, Iceland/Kvennaskolinn) recently qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games to be held later this summer in London. Hannesdottir qualified as part of the Icelandic National Team and will swim the anchor leg in the 400-meter medley relay.
“I think we always knew that Eva was capable of doing something special simply because of her raw talent,” JMU head swimming and diving coach Samantha Smith said. “She achieved so much as a swimmer for JMU. We are so proud of her as she continues to go beyond the NCAA with her swimming career.”
Added Hannesdottir, "I am very excited about this summer. I can't say I expected this, but I owe all of my success to my teammates and, of course, Coach Smith and [JMU assistant swimming coach] Dane Pederson. I am very excited about representing my country at the Olympics. This is the first time Iceland will send a relay team to the Games. It feels good to be back in the pool training, especially when you have something to look forward to."
Hannesdottir is the first member of the JMU swimming and diving team to compete in the Olympics. Early in the spring, she became JMU swimming’s first national champion after winning the 100 and 200-meter freestyle events at the Icelandic National Championships. She used that performance as springboard to the 2012 European Championships held in Hungary from May 22-27. Hannesdottir was the fastest Icelandic swimmer in the 100 freestyle earning her a spot the 400-meter medley relay team that landed an invitation to London in 2012.
Hannesdottir had an outstanding senior campaign for JMU, helping lead her team to the 2012 Colonial Athletic Association Championship. She won two individual gold medals and three relay titles at the CAA Championship while earning All-CAA honors in three events. In earning conference championships in both the 100 and 200-yard freestyles, Hannesdottir set new school records while helping her relay team win the 200 and 800-yard freestyle and 400-yard medley relay events in school-record times. She was the second-highest scorer at the conference meet and earned herself mid-major All-America honorable mention honors from CollegeSwimming.com.
“As an athlete, Eva challenged me to look deeper than just training,” Smith said. “Training Eva was more about coaching all of her, not just the swimmer. Because of this, I think we developed as a coach and swimmer together. Coaching her personality was fun because she is the perfect example of a well-balanced athlete. She works hard, but more importantly she works smart. She analyzes her swimming well, but she doesn’t over think. She is a fierce competitor, but a humble winner. She has left a mark on the JMU swimming and diving family and I think everyone who works with her is better for it.”
Hannesdottir joins former archer Jakob Wukie (’08) as former Dukes competing in the Olympic Games. The duo becomes the sixth and seventh Madison athletes to participate in the Olympics.
The 2012 London Olympics run from July 27 to August 12. The swimming portion of the Games runs from July 28 through August 4. Hannesdottir and her relay team compete on July 28.
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