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Swimming and Diving Signs Two New Zealanders

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona swimming and diving has signed two swimmers for the 2010 recruiting period. Emma Lowther (Auckland, New Zealand) and Rachel Palmer (Christchurch, New Zealand) will join the NAU swimming and diving program in the fall of 2010.

Both athletes are accomplished swimmers from New Zealand and will provide immediate flexibility for swimming and diving head coach Andy Johns.

“We are really excited to have both Emma and Rachel joining our squad next fall,” Johns said. “They are both tremendous athletes and huge additions to our squad. They are excited to come to the states and continue their swimming careers while going to school here at NAU. We look forward to getting started with them when they get here next fall.”

At the 2009 New Zealand National Spring Competition this September, Lowther was first in the 17 and over 800-meter freestyle, third in the 200-meter butterfly fourth in the 100-meter butterfly and fifth in the 400-meter freestyle and 400-meter individual medley.

Lowther set a New Zealand record for 16-year olds at the 2009 New Zealand Age Group National Championships with a time of 2:16.80 in the 200-meter butterfly in March.

“Emma is a tremendous distance swimmer,” said Johns. “She is going to come in and has the potential to rewrite the record books and in the distance events for NAU that means a lot. She is also quite versatile. She will help us out in the 400 IM, the 200 butterfly and all of our relays. She is going to be a good one for sure.”

Palmer was also an accomplished national age group swimmer and at the 2009 New Zealand National Spring Competition finished second in the 17 and over 400-meter individual medley, fifth in the 200-meter individual medley, fifth in the 200-meter butterfly and sixth in the 100-meter butterfly.

She placed third in the 17 and over 200-meter butterfly and fourth in the 400-meter individual medley at the 2009 New Zealand Open Championships in April.

“Rachel also is versatile in that her 400 IM is probably her strongest event,” Johns said. “She is real solid in both the 100 and 200 butterfly and backstroke so again she will impact our relays and our ability to do some different things with different swimmers especially in dual meets.”

Lowther and Palmer both compete for the Howick Pakuranga Swimming Club out of Highland Park, Auckland, New Zealand.

“They are both excited about coming here,” said Johns. “They are teammates [in New Zealand] and will continue to be teammates. We are fortunate to have them coming here next year.”