NAU swim notches first program win over ASU before conference
By Travis Guy
The NAU swim team took to the pool and continued what has become a recurring theme this fall by overcoming an opponent the team has yet to beat.
The ASU Sun Devils made the trip to Flagstaff to face the Lumberjacks at the Wall Aquatic Center and NAU defeated ASU for the first time in program history, 57–49.
“I’m a bit surprised, but I’m really proud of our girls and their effort,” said NAU head coach Andy Johns via NAU Athletics.
ASU brought up both its men and women’s teams, but the men competed in an intersquad meet, while the women raced against NAU and split the heats at three each.
In the first event of the day, NAU’s 200-medley team, consisting of freshman Alex Huff, junior Jordan Burnes, sophomore Alexis Juergens and freshman Ellie Morrisey barely beat out ASU’s 200-medley team with a time of 1:59.47, out-touching the Sun Devils by .72 seconds to tally the first win of the day for the Jacks.
“It was great to start the meet out with a win in the 200 medley relay, since that’s a regular event for us,” Johns said via NAU Athletics.
Junior Emma Lowther attempted to follow up the medley win with a win in the 300 freestyle, but fell to ASU’s Tristin Baxter by 1.71 seconds with a time of 3:16.92. Lowther did out-race the other competitors in the 300, finishing almost four seconds ahead of the third-place finisher, freshman Lumberjack Kendall Brown.
Despite dropping the individual race, the Jacks followed that up by taking top honors in the next two races, and with the finishes from other swim squads on the team, iced the meet with points.
The backstroke trio of Huff, senior Fi Connell and junior Rachel Palmer claimed first by a second, 3:14.47, in the 300-meter backstroke medley, earning NAU another nine points. The Lumberjacks followed that victory by taking the 300-meter medley breaststroke race, earning the team another nine points. Junior Stirling Smith, freshman Monica Pruett and Burnes did not give the competition a chance to compete in the race, finishing in 3:48.73, a full 5.54 seconds ahead of ASU’s breaststroke team.
“Our backstrokers and breaststrokers were just great,” Johns said via NAU Athletics. “We had tremendous times that were better than we’ve done so far, which is great for us leading into the season.”
The Sun Devils won out the rest of the events, but the Lumberjacks accrued 12 more points with two second-place finishes and a third-place finish to pull ahead and take the meet.
The swim and dive squads enter conference meets next, facing off against Western Athletic Conference foe New Mexico State University Aggies.