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November 9, 2011

Swimming & Diving Preparing for Busy Weekend in Colorado

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – After a decisive home victory over Idaho in its season opener on Saturday, the NAU swimming & diving team heads to Colorado for three meets in as many days this week. The Lumberjacks will open competition in the Centennial State with a dual at Colorado State on Thursday at 5 p.m., followed by a dual against Northern Colorado at 5 p.m. on Friday and a meet with Utah, Seattle, and host Denver on Saturday at 10 a.m.

"The week presents a different set of challenges with meets on three days in a row," said NAU head coach Andy Johns following his team's win over Idaho. "It's a whole different ballgame being on the road. We'll learn a little bit more about ourselves and our team and hopefully come back home strong."

The Lumberjacks clinched the victory over Idaho through just twelve events and won 14 of 16 events overall in their season-opening meet. Juniors Kristy Ardavanis and Fi Connell and sophomores Jordan Burnes, Emma Lowther, and Rachel Palmer each won two events as the Lumberjacks opened up a 155.5-70.5 lead to secure the win. Ardavanis won both diving events with NCAA Zone qualifying scores and was named Verizon WAC Diver of the Week, while NAU had seven different swimmers win at least one event. The three consecutive days of competition will be the closest simulation to the WAC Championships that the team has during the regular season, as the squad will compete on four consecutive days at the conference championships in San Antonio in late February.

Colorado State has already competed this season at the Intermountain Shootout as well as meets against Denver, San Diego State, and UC Davis, losing to all three opposing teams. The Rams dropped a 190-110 decision to Denver in their only home meet, though Shayna Soloman won both diving events for CSU. Senior swimmer Jennifer Lamb led CSU against San Diego State and UC Davis, totaling the most points while swimming in distance freestyle events. NAU is 0-5 all-time against Colorado State.

While NAU and Northern Colorado are Big Sky conference mates in every other sport, the Bears compete in swimming & diving in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. UNC also competed in the Intermountain Shootout and has a home dual win over Nebraska-Omaha and road dual losses to Air Force, New Mexico, and New Mexico State. Senior Sarah Moldenhauer leads the team on the diving board while sophomore Courtney Van Oost has the most season victories among the swimmers. The Lumberjacks have a 7-0 all-time dual record against the Bears, with the teams having last met in 2009.

Denver opened its season with a win over Wyoming followed by the aforementioned win over Colorado State and dual victories over UC Santa Barbara and Cal Poly. Utah is 2-2 in duals with wins over Washington State and UNLV, while Seattle is 1-5 after picking up a win over CSU Bakersfield last week. Colorado School of Mines is also competing in the meet at Denver but only has a men's team. NAU is 1-0 vs Denver, 2-3 vs Utah, and has never faced Seattle in program history.