ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Juniors Emma Lowther and Rachel Palmer each won two events as NAU won seven individual races and took the 400 freestyle relay to end the meet and score a 152-148 win over New Mexico on Saturday afternoon. The Lumberjacks have now defeated Arizona State of the Pac-12 and New Mexico of the Mountain West in their two meets thus far in the 2012-13 season.
"Our girls were in a tough battle from the start after dropping the first relay and being down at the break but the second half of meets has the stronger events for us," NAU head coach Andy Johns said. "It still came down to the last relay and we were able to pull out a victory. I'm really proud of the girls and their effort in fighting through some adversity today."
The start of the meet was delayed for more than 30 minutes and results were significantly delayed due to a malfunctioning timing system with several unresponsive touchpads. When the meet began the Lobos opened with a win in the 200 medley relay before NAU freshman Kendall Brown won the first individual race with a winning time of 10:26.03 in the 1000 freestyle. Lowther would follow with her first win, taking the 200 free in 1:54.63, and she would later add a victory in the 500 free with teammates Brown and sophomore Caitlin Wright joining her as the top three finishers in the event.
Palmer earned her first victory with a time of 2:06.69 in the 200 butterfly with teammates Brown, junior Andrea Derflinger, and freshman Eva Pold behind her as NAU took the top four spots in the event. Palmer later won the 200 IM by more than a second and a half while the Lumberjacks also had individual event wins from senior Fi Connell in the 100 backstroke in 57.07 and junior Stirling Smith in the 200 breaststoke in 2:24.82, an event in which junior Jordan Burnes had her second of two second place finishes.
Meanwhile, the Lumberjack divers faced a tall test from a strong Lobo squad which took first in both the 1-meter and 3-meter events. NAU senior Kristy Ardavanis was the top Lumberjack finisher on both boards, placing second on 1-meter at 319.28 and third on 3-meter with a score of 322.58. Both of those scores already qualify Ardavanis for the NCAA Zone meet after her first competition of the year, while NAU also got a strong showing from freshman Chelsea Jackson, competing in her first official collegiate meet, as she was the next best Lumberjack finisher with fifth-place finishes on both boards.
With the swimming and diving scores tallied before the final race New Mexico held a slim 142-141 lead. NAU's "A" 400 free relay team of senior Kelsey Loy, sophomore Alex Huff, Lowther, and freshman Ellie Morrissey were able to touch at 3:30.29, finishing .49 seconds faster than the top New Mexico squad to give NAU 11 points and a 152-148 win.
The Lumberjacks return home for their next meet when they will host new WAC swimming & diving foe Northern Colorado on Nov. 3 at 11 a.m. in Wall Aquatic Center.