NAU swimming and diving find its water wings
The NAU swimming and diving teams took to the road for their regular season finales.
The diving team headed to Colorado Springs, Colo., for the Falcon Diving Invitational, while the swimmers ventured south to Phoenix for a dual meet against Grand Canyon University (GCU).
“I think the team did very well; it’s a great meet for us,” said diving coach Nikki Huffman. “It gives us a chance to compete in all three events, like we will in Texas in three weeks.”
Senior Holly Frost led the diving team with her fifth place finish, totaling 277.90 points at the invitational. Freshman Kali Lents placed seventh with a score of 248.10.
“I definitely think I improved from the prelims to the finals,” Frost said. “I think we’re going to be a definite threat to the rest of the WAC (Western Athletic Conference) . . . We have a great opportunity to do big things in the next few weeks.”
Against GCU, the swimmers came out of the gate quickly, and won the 200-medley relay race in 1:46.49. The 200-medley relay team, composed of juniors Fi Connell, sophomores Rachel Palmer and Jordan Burnes and junior Kelsey Loy, set a season-best time in the event for the Lumberjacks. The trio of Connell, Palmer and sophomore Stirling Smith were all double winners against GCU.
Connell won the 100-meter backstroke by posting a time of 58.58 and the 200-meter backstroke at 2:04.49. Smith won both breaststroke events, emerging victorios in the 100-meter, posting a team and personal season-best 1:05.67 and the 200-meter in 2:21.33.
“I was a little bit surprised,” Palmer said. “We had a tough week of training . . . but we all did really well.”
Palmer won the 200-meter fly with a time of 2:04.31 and the 400-individual medley in 4:27.06, 7.46 seconds ahead of GCU’s Diana Volk.
The NAU swimmers won nine of the 14 events, claiming the meet 152-110 against Division II, No.3 GCU.
“It was a great overall team effort,” said head coach Andy Johns. “We had a lot of people post season-bests . . . That’s always a great thing. It was a great way to finish up our dual-meet season and get ready for conference.”
Their next competition will be in San Antonio for the WAC championship meet on Feb. 22.