Lara Preacco joined the Florida Atlantic University swim team when the University was in the early stage of Division I status. Her drive and wide-ranging international experience were instrumental in helping the program retain its national prominence despite the elevated competition. By the time she came to FAU, Preacco was a 33-time gold medalist in national competition; she had been a medalist more than 60 times and a finalist 40 times. She was a five-time holder of the Swiss National Record, and she participated in the Swiss National Championships from 1983 to 1997, capturing gold five times. While at FAU, Preacco was named the team's MVP in 1995-96, and she served as team captain in 1996-97. She represented both Switzerland and FAU in the 1996 XXVI Olympic Games, held in Atlanta, Georgia. Academically, Preacco won an honorable mention in the All-American Scholar Excellence rankings, and at FAU she was on the Dean's List four times and the President's List three times. She earned both bachelor's and master's degrees at FAU and a doctorate at Western Michigan University.