FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The NAU swimming & diving team will end the fall semester in Las Vegas, competing at the UNLV Winter Invitational in the Buchanan Natatorium on the UNLV campus Saturday through Monday. The Lumberjacks will be facing Division-I competition in host UNLV, WAC foe New Mexico State, and Northern Colorado as well as athletes from Azusa Pacific, Caltech, Chapman, Colorado Mesa, Concordia (Irvine), Fresno Pacific, and Whittier College.
"It's an opportunity to swim prelims and finals, so that's important for us to get ready for the conference meet," NAU head coach Andy Johns said. "It also allows our girls to swim in a lot of different events since it's not a dual meet lineup. The meet should be a nice way to finish up the semester and hopefully it will set us up well for the rest of the season."
More than 125 female swimmers are scheduled to compete during the three-day event, which will also include 1-meter and 3-meter diving. Preliminary swims are slated to begin at 9 a.m. each day with finals to commence at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 4:30 p.m. on Monday. Due to the large number of entrants, there will be as many as 16 heats in the women's swimming prelims. Most of the participating schools are also sending men's swimmers and divers to compete.
The Lumberjacks have already competed against New Mexico State and Northern Colorado in road duals this season, defeating Northern Colorado 160.5-80.5 and falling to New Mexico State, 161-138, in their last competition on Dec. 3. NAU junior diver Kristy Ardavanis swept both the 1-meter and 3-meter competitions against the Aggies, sweeping both diving events in her fourth dual this season and earning Verizon WAC Diver of the Week honors for the third time this year. Senior Kristin Jones and junior Fi Connell each won two events in Las Cruces and posted season-best times in each of their swims.
The UNLV Winter Invitational is the only non-dual event during the regular season for the NAU swimmers, while the Lumberjack divers competed earlier this season in the Wildcat Diving Invite and will compete in one other non-dual event at the Air Force diving meet at the end of January.