FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The NAU swimming & diving team will compete for the final time during the regular season in a dual at Arizona State at 11 a.m. Saturday in Tempe's Mona Plummer Aquatic Center. The meet will serve as a final competition before the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Swimming & Diving Championships, which take place Feb. 27-Mar. 2 in San Antonio, Texas.
"We need to see some people race as we're making some decisions for our conference team and we also need to improve some of our seed times," NAU head coach Andy Johns said. "It will be a great opportunity to race against some really fast swimmers at sea level after the work we've done in our camps (in South Florida and Tucson). Arizona State will probably want to give us a little payback from our relay meet in October and we're just happy to be going down there and having an opportunity to race one more time before the conference meet."
The meet will be the second between NAU and ASU this season as the teams previously met for a relay dual in Flagstaff on Oct. 13. NAU won the dual 57-49, winning three of six relay races to defeat the Sun Devils for the first time in program history. Saturday's meet will follow a traditional dual schedule and include diving, which was not part of the first meeting between earlier the teams this year.
The Lumberjacks last competed as a team on Jan. 19 in a home win over Colorado State on senior day. Senior diver Kristy Ardavanis broke the Wall Aquatic Center records on both 1-meter and 3-meter and freshman Ellie Morrissey won two individual events and broke the pool record in the 100 freestyle to lead NAU to a 177-120 victory. Juniors Emma Lowther and Rachel Palmer also each won two individual events as the Lumberjacks completed a 4-0 home record for the 2012-13 season.
NAU's divers competed again last week at the Air Force Falcon Diving Invitational and were again led by Ardavanis, who won the 1-meter competition amongst a field of 47 divers. She also placed fourth on 3-meter while junior Gwen Smithberg broke the program record on platform with a 222.50 score to place fourth overall. Ardavanis, Smithberg, and freshman Chelsea Jackson have all qualified for the NCAA Zone E Diving Regional, which serves as a qualifying event for the NCAA Diving Championships.
Arizona State is coming off a 177-121 dual loss against California in Tempe last Saturday. The Sun Devils have home dual wins this year over Utah, BYU, Washington State, and Grand Canyon and Pac-12 losses against UCLA, USC, and Stanford. Freshman diver Morgan Weller broke ASU's 3-meter record vs. Cal and junior swimmer Tristan Baxter won both the 500 and 1000 free vs. the Bears. The Lumberjacks will be looking for their first dual win at Arizona State in program history.