FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Friday's intrasquad Pentathlon will be a big day for the Northern Arizona swimmers on a few levels. NAU's 18 swimmers will compete in the Aquatic and Tennis Complex for the first time. But more importantly, head coach Andy Johns will have the opportunity to see what this year's crew has to offer initially with seven of the 18 Lumberjacks competing in the swimming-only meet being first-year 'Jacks.
"It's going to be the first time we see our newcomers in a competitive environment," Johns said. "We hope to find out a lot about our newcomers and as for our returners, it's a great way to see where they are compared to previous years. We're excited to be racing in this facility for the first time and it's going to be great preparation for Oct. 8 (the team's first dual meet), which is coming pretty quick."
This year's installment of the Pentathlon will be the 21st annual meet to kick off the NAU swimming & diving season. The meet will start at 2 p.m. in the new Aquatic and Tennis Complex and is free for all fans to attend.
The Pentathlon, as is tradition, will feature all of NAU's swimmers competing in five events - the 200m individual medley, 100m butterfly, 100m backstroke, 100m breaststroke and 100m freestyle. Points will be scored by each athlete based on their finishing times in each of the five events to determine the Pentathlon champion.
The turnover within the NAU roster will be apparent on Friday with a number of new faces. Only two of the top five Pentathlon finishers from last season return in juniors Audrey Mann (third-place) and Kimmy Richter (fourth-place). Hayley Edmond claimed the overall Pentathlon title last season with 3,730 points. Edmond won the backstroke and placed in the top five of the IM, butterfly and freestyle.
NAU lost its top 200 IM swimmer (Monica Pruett) and 400 IM swimmer (Kendall Brown) to graduation among others, leaving Mann and sophomore Sarah Takach as the team's only true individual medley swimmers at the moment. That will add an extra layer to Friday's Pentathlon as the meet will test all swimmers in every stroke.
"We need to find out a lot about a lot of our swimmers," Johns said. "This is one way to do it. Audrey and Sarah are leading the way in the medley, but we've got some swimmers who have been focused on a single event and they're going to find out they can do some different things."