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February 24, 2010

Swimming and Diving on Top after First Day at WAC Championships

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Northern Arizona swimming and diving holds the top position at the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championships through one day of competition.  The women posted strong results in the meet's first three events: platform diving, 200-yard medley relay, and 800-yard freestyle relay.

The swimming and diving team placed five competitors inside the top 16 in the platform competition held at the Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center in Austin, Texas on Wednesday.  Every event but the platform will take place in San Antonio, Texas at the Josh Davis Natatorium.

Megan Collier and Cassie Anderson emerged as the top performers for NAU diving turning in third place and fourth place finishes in the preliminary platform, respectively.  Collier scored, 210.84, while Anderson finished a shade behind at 210.69.

"Top to bottom I thought we did great on platform especially for not having it at our facility," said diving coach Nikki Huffman.  "It was a nice first day for us."

Collier stayed consistent in the finals and finished in fourth-place (203.55).  Anderson followed suit landing just behind Collier in fifth place (203.01).  Three other Lumberjacks finished inside the top 16, resulting in points for NAU in the platform competition.

Taryn Harris, who is expected to be at the top of the standings in the 1-meter and 3-meter competition, finished 10th overall while Kristy Ardavanis and Holly Frost placed 15th and 16th.

"Megan and Cassie did a great job in the prelims and finals," Huffman said.  "Taryn finished very well.  Holly and Kristy were not at their best, but stayed consistent throughout and did not miss a dive.  All in all, I think we did great."

The Lumberjack swimmers replicated the success of the diving team with top six finishes in the 200-yard medley relay and 800-yard freestyle relay.  NAU benefited from disqualifications by Nevada and Hawaii in the relay events.  Nevada is the three-time defending WAC champion and Hawaii is also a team that will compete for the WAC title this year.

The Lumberjacks finished in fifth place in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:45.16 while the 800-yard freestyle relay placed fourth with a time of 7:31.03.

"Overall we like the position we are in," said head coach Andy Johns.  "There is a lot of swimming and diving to be done.  The success we had in diving on the first day is part of the reason why we are where we are.  Our swimming was OK tonight.  It was a good start but not great.  We are going to have to be better in order to stay in this position.

"Hawaii, Nevada, and our team have the strongest diving squads here.  I thought the three of us would be in the lead after today, but with Hawaii and Nevada having disqualifications in the relays, the standings are a bit different.  It is unfortunate, but that is the way this meet goes and that is the way swimming goes."

NAU swimming will race on Thursday, February 25 at 10 a.m. (MST) with the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley, and 50-yard freestyle preliminaries all scheduled to take place.  The finals of those events will begin at 5:30 p.m. (MST) and can be seen live on www.WAC.tv.  The diving team is idle on Thursday but will continue competition on the 1-meter on Friday, February 26. 

WAC Championship Standings

1. Northern Arizona 97
2. San Jose State 78
3. Boise State 77
4. Nevada 72
5. Hawai'i 70
6. Fresno State 65
7. San Diego 64
8. New Mexico State           58
9. Idaho 46

DID YOU KNOW ... The Lumberjacks had 11 of the 15 intercollegiate teams record a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher led by women's soccer at 3.42.  Women's basketball was close behind at 3.39, followed by women's cross country (3.35), women's golf (3.29), swimming and diving (3.25), volleyball (3.22), and men's cross country (3.19).