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Burnes, Palmer Break Records, Eight Lumberjacks in Friday WAC Finals

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Sophomore Jordan Burnes broke the NAU 100 breaststroke record in 1 minute, 2.79 seconds and sophomore Rachel Palmer broke the 400 IM record in 4:19.26 to lead the Lumberjacks in the Friday preliminary swims at the WAC Swimming & Diving Championships. The NAU swimmers advanced to six finals, three of them coming in the 400 IM, and two consolation finals while the divers have two each in the 3-meter finals and consolation.

Palmer opened with her program record 400 IM time in the first swim of the day, breaking the previous record of 4:23.73, set by Alexis Buckley in 2007, by nearly 4.5 seconds. Burnes would have also broken that original record as she finished in 4:23.60 in the second heat. Palmer, Burnes and senior Kristin Jones, who had the seventh-best 400 IM prelim time at 4:29.11, will be three of the eight finalists in the event.

Burnes also qualified for the final in the 100 breast and broke the program record with a time of 1:02.79, surpassing the previous school record of 1:03.33 by Kim Kopra in 2008. Sophomore Stirling Smith narrowly missed qualifying for the final, touching at an NAU career-best 1:04.90 to qualify for the consolation final.

Sophomore Emma Lowther posted the second-best 200 freestyle time at 1:49.05 to qualify for that final, while junior Fi Connell posted a 55.24 time to qualify for the 100 back final. Freshman Caitlin Wright would have also qualified for the 200 free consolation after a 1:52.51 bonus swim in the prelims. NAU was led in the 100 fly by freshman Alexis Juergens, who advanced to the consolation final with a 56.62 time.

For the second consecutive day, junior Kristy Ardavanis had the second best preliminary diving score and qualified for the final on 3-meter with a 305.85 total. Freshman Kali Lents scored 289.25 to place sixth in the prelims and will join Ardavanis in the final, while senior Cassie Anderson and sophomore Gwen Smithberg made the consolation final, with Smithberg finishing 12th overal at 279.55 and Anderson placing 16th with a 250.05 score.

Friday's swimming and diving finals will begin at 5:30 p.m. Arizona time.

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