Swimmer Brand to represent country in Montreal

LSU swimmer Heather Brand will represent her native country of Zimbabwe in the 2005 FINA World Championships held July 24-31 in Montreal, Canada.

Brand, a native of Harare, Zimbabwe, is scheduled to compete in four events during the eight-day competition. She will partake in the 100-meter butterfly on Sunday, the 100-meter freestyle on Thursday, the 50-meter fly on Friday and the 50-meter free on Saturday.

"This is the top-of-the-top in competition," said Brand. "I hope this experience will bring bigger and better things for the team and the upcoming season. I am really focused in on the 50 and 100 fly. My goal is to make semifinals."

The FINA Games are being held in North America for the first time in history, bringing together nearly 2,300 athletes and officials who represent 160 countries. The event will showcase the world's best in swimming, diving and water polo. For Montreal, it is the largest gathering of athletes since the 1976 Olympic Games.

Brand, a senior-to-be in the fall, was one of the Tigers' most consistent swimmers last season. As the team captain, Brand was the lone Lady Tiger to qualify for the NCAA Championships. In her first national competition, she took 49th in the 50 freestyle and 29th in the 100 butterfly.

In 2005, Brand posted season-best team times in the 100 and 200 fly. Her mark of 54.54 in the 100 fly at the Last Chance Meet registered as the third-fastest time in school history. She also played a pivotal part in four of LSU's five relay teams.

Brand praised the efforts of the coaching staff and head coach Adam Schmitt for helping the World Championship experience become a reality.

"Adam has coached us to compete on an international level and at several world events," said Brand. "He has shown me how to be a true athlete, and he's done great things for the team. He has a plan for the future and a positive approach to where this program is heading."

Schmitt, who wrapped up his first season as head coach of the Tigers this past spring, is confident in Brand's abilities at the prestigious competition.

"It is exciting for her to see where she stands in the world," said Schmitt. "This is certainly a great experience for her to bring back to the team. Heather is a great representative of LSU, and she will bring attention to the program at an international level."

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