Swim and Dive tune up for season with annual Blue and Gold meet
By Dezsanique Martin
The Northern Arizona University (NAU) swim and dive team held its annual Blue vs. Gold meet in the Wall Aquatic Center where the Gold team won by one point: 52.5–51.5.
In the last event of the day, the 200-meter freestyle relay, junior anchors Rachel Palmer and Emma Lowther were neck-and-neck in touching the wall. With the pool time recorder going down in those final seconds, no one knew who touched first. Head coach Andy Johns then decided to just call it a tie.
“The last relay was very exciting,” Palmer said. “It’s so cool to see how much depth we have, but what a time for the timing system not to work. It was amazing.”
The 30-member team was split into two groups of 15, with 12 swimmers and three divers. There were 10 swimming events and two diving competitions the squads competed against each other in.
The Blue vs. Gold meet has been around for 30 seasons and helps the swimmers and divers transition from practice to competition and is a good lead into the competitive season.
“It’s the first real competition in a team format,” Johns said. “It’s just preparation for the rest of the season.”
Senior diver Kristy Ardavanis and Palmer each won two events as the meet came down to the final race. Ardavanis swept both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving competitions for the second consecutive year, scoring 321.38 on 3-meter and 312.68 on 1-meter.
“It felt good [to win]. It’s nice to start competing again,” Ardavanis said. “We haven’t had a whole lot of practice; it’s good to start getting in the mode to compete and get ready for other schools.”
Ardavanis said she set her personal goal for this meet.
“I haven’t had a whole lot of practice the last couple of weeks. I just wanted to line everything up on my head and be vertical and I did that,” Ardavanis said.
Palmer, who was on the Blue team, won the 200 meter individual medley with a time of 2:24.69 and the 150-meter butterfly stroke with a time of 1:42.44.
“It was really a fun day,” Palmer said. “I just love seeing everyone’s competitive instincts come out and it’s always good to win something.”
Palmer also spoke of the differences in her concentration for both the Blue vs. Gold meet and Pentathlon.
“My own personal goal was to win both of my events for sure. The Pentathlon, I focused on the times I did and [on] the Blue and Gold, I just go out there to race. I’m glad I met my goals today,” Palmer said.
After the Blue team took a slim lead following Palmer’s wins, the Gold squad won the four remaining individual races. Freshman Ellie Morrissey touched first in the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 59.29 and senior Fi Connell followed for a Gold win in the 150-meter backstroke in 1:43.80.
Sophomore Caitlin Wright earned the win in the 400-meter freestyle in 4:31.65 and the individual races concluded with junior Jordan Burnes winning the 150 breaststroke in 1:57.95.
After the team finished their last relay and had their huddle, some of the members of diving team decided to have their own swim race. Ardavanis and other divers raced against each other for fun.
Once the meet was over, Johns gave his final thoughts about the Blue vs. Gold meet and how he felt about the upcoming season.
“We saw improvement from the Pentathlon and had some different events today, but everyone is getting better,” Johns said. “I’m very optimistic. We have a great squad and they’re working hard and we’re hoping for some big things out of them.”