FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Sophomore Rachel Palmer won two events and seven other Lumberjacks were individual event winners as Northern Arizona defeated Washington State, 161-133, on Monday afternoon in Wall Aquatic Center. Both teams broke the previous pool record in the 400 freestyle relay to end the meet, with NAU improving to 5-1 in dual meets this season and Washington State dropping to 0-5.
"It was a tough, gutsy performance for us today," said NAU head coach Andy Johns. "A lot of the girls swam faster than they ever have in here and that was a great sign. It was a back-and-forth battle and I'm really proud of the way our girls were able to overcome some adversity."
After the Cougars opened the meet with a win in the 200 medley relay, NAU senior Krista Maier, competing for the last time in her home pool, won the 800 freestyle in nine minutes, 19.08 seconds. Washington State responded with a win in the 200 free before NAU junior Fi Connell overcame a back injury to win the 100 backstroke in 1:04.14. Two more Washington State wins came sandwiched around the first win of the day from Palmer, who took first in the 200 butterfly in 2:20.80.
Two more NAU seniors, Chalene Dirks-Ryan and Kristin Jones, claimed wins in the 100 and 400 free, respectively, while sophomore Stirling Smith placed first in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:43.78. On the diving boards, freshman Katie Dallmann took the 3-meter competition with a 205.60 score while sophomore Jane Wakefield scored 179.80 to win the 1-meter competition to give NAU the lead with two events remaining.
Palmer claimed her second win in the last individual race of the day, finishing in 2:24.43 to win the 200 individual medley. Records fell to close the meet, with Washington State's "A" team winning the 400 free relay in 3:54.80 with NAU's "A" team of Maier, Dirks-Ryan, junior Kelsey Loy and sophomore Emma Lowther finishing second in 3:56.20. Both times surpassed the previous pool record of 3:56.39 set by NAU last December.
The win was just NAU's second all-time against Washington State and was just the third win in 49 all-time NAU duals against schools from the Pac-12. At 5-1, NAU is off to its best season start since the 2007-08 squad opened its season 6-1, losing its first dual to Washington State in Flagstaff.
The Lumberjacks will return to action on Saturday, Dec. 3, in a dual at New Mexico State at 11:30 a.m.