Swimming & Diving Heads North to Face Washington State, Idaho
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The NAU swimming & diving team (3-0) competes on consecutive days this weekend facing Washington State (2-5) at 6 p.m. Friday and WAC foe Idaho (2-3) at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The Lumberjacks have started their season with a 3-0 dual record for the first time since 2007 and could extend to a 5-0 start for the first time in program history.
The Lumberjacks earned their third dual win of the year with a 178-119 triumph over Northern Colorado last Saturday in Wall Aquatic Center, as NAU clinched the win prior to the last two events of the meet and subsequently did not score in those races. Junior Emma Lowther and sophomore Caitlin Wright each won two individual races and senior Kristy Ardavanis won both diving events to lead the Lumberjacks past the Bears. Ardavanis, who has the highest 1-meter and 3-meter scores in the WAC this season, earned her second WAC Diver of the Week award of the season on Tuesday.
Lowther's 800 freestyle time, following a course conversion and altitude adjustment, was the second fastest 1000 free time in the WAC this season trailing only NAU freshman Kendall Brown's 10:14.53 1000 free time at New Mexico. Lowther also has the fourth fastest 500 free time in the conference this season at 5:03.04 and senior Fi Connell has the No. 4 100 backstroke time and No. 6 200 back time thus far in the WAC. Freshman Ellie Morrissey has made an early splash with the top times on the team in the 50 and 100 free and junior Rachel Palmer has paced the team thus far in the 200 butterfly and 200 individual medley.
NAU defeated both Washington State and Idaho in Wall Aquatic Center last season in what were the team's only home duals in 2011-12. The Cougars are 2-5 this season including a win in their only home meet thus far, 179-83 over Seattle. The team was in Los Angeles last weekend and went 0-3 with losses to USC, UCLA, and UC Davis. Senior Emma Johansson led the Cougars in their double dual against UCLA and UC Davis winning the 100 backstroke with a time of 56.06. The win for the Lumberjacks over the Cougars last season brought their all-time series record to 2-6, though NAU has never won in Pullman.
The Lumberjacks defeated Idaho twice last season, topping the Vandals 155.5-133.5 in their dual and placing ahead of Idaho at the WAC Championships as the Vandals finished seventh among the eight teams at the conference meet. Idaho is 2-3 so far in 2012-13 with home dual wins over Seattle and Colorado School of Mines and losses to Boise State, Air Force, and Denver. Sophomore Rachel Millet has the top time in the WAC this season in the 200 individual medley and is third in the conference in the 50, 100, and 200 free. On the diving boards juniors Paige Hunt and Mairin Jameson have both qualified for the NCAA Zone meet on 3-meter. NAU is 7-0 all-time vs. Idaho in duals.