FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The NAU swimming and diving team (6-5 in duals) will compete for the final time in the regular season this weekend, with the swimmers to face Grand Canyon at 1 p.m. Saturday in Phoenix and the divers to compete at the Falcon Diving Invitational on Friday and Saturday at the Air Force Academy. The competitions will conclude the regular season before the team will compete at the WAC Championships Feb. 22-25.
The swimmers will be looking to fine tune their performances before the conference meet. Sophomore Emma Lowther currently has the fastest times in the WAC this season in the 500, 1000, and 1650 freestyle events, while junior Fi Connell has a WAC-best time of 1 minute, 58.11 seconds in the 200 backstroke, the only NCAA 'B' standard time for the Lumberjacks this season. Grand Canyon is ranked No. 3 in the CollegeSwimming.com/CSCAA Coaches poll for Division-II with a 2-1 dual record this season, with its only loss to No. 1 UC San Diego.
"Grand Canyon has some great swimmers and its good for us to race against a quality opponent," NAU head coach Andy Johns said. "It's all about race strategy and splitting races correctly to see if we can do a lot of the little things batter. It will be nice to get down to sea level and race one last time before conference."
Grand Canyon's Diana Volk won the 100 and 500 free last Saturday against Biola and was named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Swimmer of the Week on Wednesday, the fifth such honor for the team this season. The meet will be held at the Brophy Sports Complex, home of the Phoenix Swim Club, located at 2902 E Campbell Road in Phoenix.
Meanwhile, NAU will compete with six other schools at the Falcon Diving Invitational in Colorado Springs. The meet begins on Friday with 1-meter diving at 11 a.m. and platform diving at 5 p.m. with 3-meter diving to take place on Saturday at noon. Among the other schools competing with the Lumberjacks will be host Air Force, UNLV, San Diego State, Wyoming, and Northern Colorado.
"This is always a great meet for us to compete against some great teams," said NAU diving coach Nikki Huffman. "We get to compete on platform and see the pool before the NCAA Zone Championships, which will also be hosted there this season. We want to use this meet to fine tune some things and get into competition to mentally prepare ourselves for Zones and conference."
NAU senior Holly Frost and junior Kristy Ardavanis have already qualified for zones on both the 1-meter and 3-meter, while senior Cassie Anderson and freshman Kali Lents have also qualified on 1-meter. The NCAA Zone Diving Regionals will take place on March 8-10 following the WAC Championships.