17th annual pentathlon reveals hopeful 2012-13 season
By Chelsea Martin
Not only are coaches there to help their athletes learn, but they also motivate them to perform to the best of their abilities, as evidenced by head coach Andy Johns before the beginning of the 17th-Annual Northern Arizona University (NAU) Pentathalon.
“Break three records and there won’t be practice tomorrow morning,” Johns said to his team before the meet.
This was enough for the women of the NAU swimming team, who successfully broke not three, but four records at the meet: the 200 individual medley, 100 butterfly, 100 breaststroke and 100 freestyle.
“Records were meant to be broken,” Johns said. “These girls work hard.”
All 24 swimmers were required to compete in all of the heats and were divided into groups of six. Swimmers typically race in three events with breaks in-between during a one-day swim meet, so this was a different experience for them. The pentathlon required all swimmers to race in five events with minimal rest between heats.
“[This] allows the returning swimmers to compare themselves to the previous year and the freshmen swimmers to get a taste of what racing is like,” Johns said.
The team is currently focusing on a lot of conditioning and more swimming workouts to prepare for this upcoming season. The swimmers train in the water nine times a week.
“I’m absolutely pleased with the overall results from top to bottom,” Johns said. “The team showed a lot of toughness and is ahead of where they were last year.”
Junior Rachel Palmer started the chain of broken records in the first race, the 200 individual medley. Palmer, the 2011-12 NAU female athlete of the year, broke a 28-year-old record, finishing with a time of 2:21.67. Palmer’s performance was a perfect way to start off this year’s pentathlon and 2012-13 season. Palmer won the NAU Pentathlon for the second consecutive year.
Following Palmer’s record breaking start, junior Emma Lowther broke two records: the 100 butterfly and the 100 freestyle. Palmer was the first swimmer to break the 100-butterfly record with a time of 1:04.53 in the first heat until a few minutes later when Lowther ended her race with a time of 1:03.95. Lowther finished her last race of the day, the 100-meter freestyle, with a record-breaking time of 59.20. The pool was filled with high energy from the fans and an overwhelming sense of camaraderie from the NAU swimmers.
“I am very proud of everyone today,” Lowther said. “They did what they had to do.”
The final Jack to continue the trend of snapping records was junior Stirling Smith. Smith broke the 100-meter breaststroke record in an exciting race with junior Jordan Burnes. The two juniors swam neck-and-neck until Smith out-touched Burnes, finishing with a final time of 1:14.33. Both swimmers broke the old record of 1:14.80, with Burnes finishing with a time of 1:14.55. Smith explained this year’s team has plenty of competitive edge to help with their successful season ahead.
“This is a no fear environment,” Smith said.
After stand-out performances by the upperclassmen, Palmer and the rest of the team are excited to see how this hopeful season plays out.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do,” Palmer said.
Smith agreed with Palmer, because of the teams’ work ethic.
“We have fun and work hard,” Smith added.
The Lumberjacks will return and the divers will make their first appearance to the pool in two weeks for the annual Blue vs. Gold meet on Oct. 12 at 2 p.m. at the Wall Aquatic Center.