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Swimming & Diving Earns Win Against Elite Competition at Arizona Meet

TUCSON, Ariz. – NAU junior diver Kristy Ardavanis won both the 1-meter and 3-meter events and sophomores Emma Lowther and Rachel Palmer paced the team in the swimming events as NAU defeated New Mexico State, 150-148, but was defeated by host No. 5 Arizona, 201-96, Oregon State, 180-114, and Iowa, 181-113, in a meet Friday afternoon in Tucson.

"It was a good week of training for us and I thought we had a lot of good swims and the divers performed well," said head coach Andy Johns. "With five teams and 10 lanes going at the same time, it's really hard to see who you are competing against to win and a lot different than a regular dual meet. We saw some good things and swam against some really good teams, so this was a good week of preparation for the WAC Championships."

Ardavanis, who has been named Verizon WAC Diver of the Week four times this season, posted a season-best score to win the 3-meter event, totaling 326.75 to take first by more than 12 points. NAU senior Cassie Anderson posted a season-best score of 277.40 to finish third, with freshman Kali Lents just behind in fourth place.

Ardavanis followed with a winning total of 294.00 on the 1-meter board, with Lumberjack senior Holly Frost placing fourth and Anderson finishing fifth. Anderson's score of 267.60 qualified her for the NCAA Zones on the 1-meter, joining Ardavanis, Frost, and Lents as NAU qualifiers thus far. Ardavanis and Frost have also already qualified on the 3-meter.

NAU's best swimming results came in a pair of fourth place finishes from sophomores Emma Lowther and Rachel Palmer. Lowther, the defending Verizon WAC Swimmer of the Week, took fourth in the 1000 freestyle with a season-best time of 10 minutes, 23.21 seconds, the fastest time in the WAC this season. Palmer placed fourth in the 100 butterfly at 57.76 and also touched at 2:05.15 to place fifth in the 200 fly.

Junior Fi Connell earned a fifth place finish in the 100 back in 57.87 and placed sixth in the 200 back at 2:06.87. The Lumberjacks other top individual finishes came from Lowther in the 200 free (1:55.46), sophomore Stirling Smith in the 100 breast (1:05.99) and 200 breast (2:25.48), junior Kelsey Loy in the 50 free (24.71), senior Chalene Dirks-Ryan in the 100 free (53.09), senior Krista Maier in the 500 free (5:08.23), and sophomore Jordan Burnes in the 200 IM (2:12.38). NAU's top relay teams placed sixth in both the 400 medley relay and 200 free relay.

The squad has one more regular season competition in preparation for the WAC Championships. The divers will compete at the Falcon Diving Invitational Jan. 27-28 with the swimmers to race at Grand Canyon at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28.