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Connell Wins Four Events in Swimming and Diving’s Loss at Boise State

BOISE, Idaho – Northern Arizona swimming and diving’s Fi Connell continued her brilliant fall season against Boise State on Friday, but Connell’s performance and wins on both boards from the diving team ultimately fell short as the Lumberjacks were defeated 181.5-114.5. by the Broncos. Connell and divers Lana Christensen and Taryn Harris accounted for all six NAU wins.

“We have had three really tough opponents and they have been difficult matchups for us,” said head coach Andy Johns of Boise State and previous dual meet foes New Mexico State and Washington State. “This was a tough day. It was a long travel day. All in all, they were a lot sharper than we were. Still, I think the girls competed well and we look forward to getting back home and being able to train and focus on practicing and school.”

Connell, a freshman from Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia, won three individual events on Friday and led off the 200-yard medley relay which finished first to open the meet.

Connell won the 100-yard backstroke (56.67), 200-yard backstroke (2:02.41), and 200-yard individual medley (2:08.15) against a team in Boise State (9-3) that has posted an impressive 5-1 record in WAC competition this season. All three times were season-bests for Connell who has made an immediate impact for the Lumberjacks this season.

NAU holds a 1-3 record in dual meets this season falling to WAC opponents Boise State and New Mexico State and the Pac-10’s Washington State. NAU defeated Northern Colorado for its first win this season.

“We have always been a much better end of the year team,” Johns said. “Our girls believe that come February we are going to be alright. We as coaches believe that as well. Dual meets are an extension of training for us. It is a great opportunity to have quality efforts.”

All the swimmers, divers, and coaches want to win so there is a little sting when you lose a competition. I think it is temporary and we just have to keep our eyes focused on our goals and not get too concerned with what other people are doing at this point. As long as we get better meet to meet we will be alright.”

Christensen and Harris continued their intra-squad competition as each picked up a win in the diving portion of the meet. Christensen, a junior from Casper, Wyo., scored 271.90 on the 3-meter while Harris, a sophomore from East Wenatchee, Wash., scored 259.40 on the 1-meter. Both divers finished second in the event opposite their win.

The NAU divers will compete next weekend at the Arizona Diving Invitational in Tucson, Ariz., and both teams will be back for a dual meet against Arizona State on Saturday, December 19 in Tempe, Ariz.

"We look forward to our time down at Arizona State and Arizona over the holidays to really take us to where we need to be to get ready for the second half of our season,” Johns said.

The Lumberjacks have finished the first portion of their 2009-10 schedule and have five dual meets and two diving invitationals left before the WAC Championships in February in San Antonio, Texas.