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Swimming & Diving Opens Season with 155.5-133.5 Win Over Idaho

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Juniors Kristy Ardavanis and Fi Connell and sophomores Jordan Burnes, Emma Lowther, and Rachel Palmer each won two events, as NAU was victories in 14 of 16 events overall to cruise to a 155.5-133.5 victory over Idaho Saturday morning in Wall Aquatic Center. NAU had a 155.50-70.50 lead through 12 events, clinching the meet and not scoring in the four remaining events. The Lumberjacks improved to 7-0 all-time against fellow WAC member Idaho.

"We came right out and set the tone right away," said NAU head coach Andy Johns. "For our first meet of the season the girls raced really well. Idaho presented us with some good challenges but I'm really proud of how we raced today."

Ardavanis dominated on the diving board, taking both the 1-meter and 3-meter events with NCAA Zone qualifying scores. She scored a 300.60 on 1-meter, a Wall Aquatic Center diving record that surpassed the previous record of 294.15 set by NAU's Danielle Borth in 2007. She won the event by more than 45 points, with teammate Cassie Anderson finishing second with a score of 255.45. In the 3-meter competition, Ardavanis received a 291.53 score, topping Idaho's Paige Hunt to sweep the diving events.

NAU jumped to a huge early lead in winning the first-eight events of the meet. Burnes, Lowther and Palmer were members of NAU's winning 200 medley relay team to open the meet, with Lowther following with a first place time 2 minutes, 6.46 seconds in the 200 freestyle. Burnes won the 100 breast in 1:14.31, Connell earned her first win in 1:04.00 in the 100 back, while Palmer recorded her first victory in 2:22.05 in the 200 butterfly.

The four multiple-event winners for NAU each earned one more victory, with Burnes taking the 200 breast, Connell taking the 200 back, Lowther winning the 100 fly, and Palmer finishing first in the 200 individual medley. NAU also received individual swimming wins from senior Kristin Jones (800 free, 9:26.21), senior Chalene Dirks-Ryan (50 free, 27.51) and freshman Caitlin Wright (400 free).

The Lumberjacks will compete on three consecutive days next weekend in Colorado, opening with a dual at Colorado State next Friday, Nov. 10, at 5 p.m.