Six Lumberjacks Into Saturday Finals, NAU Makes Push For WAC Title
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Highlighted by another school record by sophomore Rachel Palmer, NAU qualified four swimmers for finals and five for consolation finals and had two divers qualify for finals on Platform on the final day of the WAC Swimming & Diving Championships. Palmer broke the school record and recorded the fastest preliminary time in the 200 butterfly, touching in 1 minute, 59.99 seconds to lead four total Lumberjacks into scoring positions in that event.
Palmer topped teammate Emma Lowther's 200 fly record of 2:01.99 recorded last season, while sophomore Andrea Derflinger also qualified for the final in 2:04.40 and freshmen Caitlin Wright and Alexis Juergens finished ninth and 10th overall to narrowly miss the final but qualify for the consolation.
Junior Fi Connell posted the second fastest time in the 200 backstroke, touching at 1:58.94 to qualify for the final with sophomore Ashani Gottlieb qualifying for the consolation at 2:04.78. Sophomore Jordan Burnes qualified for the 200 breaststroke final in 2:17.69 and sophomore Stirling Smith made the consolation with a time of 2:19.64. NAU was led in the 100 freestyle by senior Chalene Dirks-Ryan, who made the consolation final in 51.89.
On the diving tower, freshman Kali Lents placed third overall in the preliminary round with a score of 221.0, the second highest platform score in program history and just .75 back of the record set by Danielle Borth in 2008. Sophomore Gwen Smithberg placed sixth with the fourth highest platform score in program history, scoring huge points on her last two dives to finish at 214.5. Senior Holly Frost scored 194.65 to qualify for the consolation final, in which she placed seventh.
NAU will also have five swimmers in the 1650 free leading into the finals in the other swimming events this evening. NAU is looking to catch meet-leading San Jose State, which began the day with a 475-411 lead atop the championship standings.