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Records Fall as Swimming & Diving Tops New Mexico State

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - NAU opened the meet with a Wall Aquatic Center record in the 200 medley relay and senior Fi Connell broke her own pool record in the 200 backstroke as the Lumberjacks won 14 of 16 events en route to a 176-116 win over WAC foe New Mexico State. Connell won two individual swimming events as did junior Rachel Palmer and freshman Ellie Morrissey while senior Kristy Ardavanis won both diving events.

With the meet victory clinched the Lumberjacks did not score in the final three swimming events.

"We just wanted to come out strong and win a relay and a distance event and just keep rolling from there and I think we did a pretty good job of that," NAU head coach Andy Johns said. "We have to be a little more aggressive in some areas but we're starting to see the work around the walls and some other detail things getting better so that's nice to see. Our sites are set on winning the Western Athletic Conference and that continues to be the long term goal."

The Lumberjacks could not have started the meet any stronger as the quartet of Connell, junior Jordan Burnes, sophomore Alexis Juergens, and Morrissey won the 200 medley relay by more than two seconds in 1 minute, 57.28 seconds, breaking the previous pool record of 1:57.40 set by NAU in 2009. Connell earned her first individual win in the 100 back, touching first in 1:03.59, before winning the 200 back by nearly four seconds in 2:19.37, breaking her previous pool record set in 2009 of 2:19.38 by 1/100th of a second.

Morrissey continued her stellar freshman campaign by winning both sprint events by significant margins. She took the 50 freestyle in 26.66 before winning the 100 free in 58.26, touching just .11 seconds past the pool record time. Palmer claimed the 200 butterfly in 2:22.94 and later won the last individual race of the day, the 200 individual medley, in 2:25.30.

As has become the custom through most of NAU's dual meets over the last two seasons, Ardavanis swept both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events. She won on 3-meter with a total of 301.80 with teammate Gwen Smithberg finishing second with a career-best 285.08 total. The Lumberjacks then had the top three scorers on 1-meter with Ardavanis winning with 305.33 points followed by freshman Chelsea Jackson and Smithberg, who both posted career-best and NCAA Zone meet qualifying scores of 279.08 and 271.13, respectively.

Other individual NAU race winners were Juergens in the 100 fly in 1:04.01, junior Emma Lowther in the 200 free in 2:07.93, junior Stirling Smith in the 200 breaststroke in 2:40.39, sophomore Caitlin Wright in the 400 free in 4:32.03, and freshman Kendall Brown in the 800 free in 9:16.25. New Mexico State's only wins came in the 100 breast and the 400 free relay.

NAU is now 4-2 in dual meets this season, including a 3-0 mark at home. The team breaks for finals before heading to Florida for training and a meet at Florida Atlantic competing along with Northwestern and Denver on Dec. 21.