FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – In their final home meet of the season, the Northern Arizona swimming & diving team made quite a statement Saturday morning. The Lumberjacks won all 15 events and went one-two-three in 11 of them in easily dispatching WAC foe Northern Colorado, 170-91, in the Aquatic and Tennis Complex.
"Our girls were excited to compete for the seniors," said head coach Andy Johns. "They love swimming in this pool and we really appreciate everyone who made it today, especially Northern Colorado, given the weather conditions. The energy was great and our girls are starting to get ready for the conference meet."
Along with their 11 top three sweeps, NAU also went one-two in three additional events bringing its total to 14 of 15 events in which the 'Jacks claimed at least the top two scoring positions.
Senior Urte Kazakeviciute – one of three Lumberjack seniors recognized on Senior Day – was one of four total swimmers who won multiple events. In her final race ever at home, Kazakeviciute broke her own ATC pool record in the 200 breaststroke by nearly a whole second with a time of 2:20.15. The recent WAC Swimmer of the Week also won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:03.55, which was a mere .02 seconds off from the pool record as well.
"Urte has really been awesome recently," Johns said. "Her wins at Arizona State and Arizona were impressive. She was so close in the 100 to the pool record and to break the pool record in the 200, it's fitting for her to go out that way (at home). I'm really looking forward to seeing her race in Houston (at the WAC Championships) and hopefully in Indianapolis (at the NCAA Championships)."
Staffeldt got the meet rolling with a first-place time of 1:56.08 in the 200 free and was followed by junior Roni Houck and freshman Kate Bier. Montiel then posted her first victory of the meet in the 100 back with a time of 59.08. Senior Sara Lenhoff and junior Allison Mann followed as NAU opened the dual with two top three sweeps.
Kazakeviciute's narrow miss at the 100 breast pool record was next as she finished ahead of freshman Emily Martin. Richter then won the 100 fly with a time of 57.26 with sophomore Andrea Schmidt and freshman Erin Spielman behind. After junior Claire Hammond clocked a winning time of 11:16.17 in the 1,000 free – the only event in which NAU did not take the top two spots – junior Audrey Mann posted a winning 200 individual medley time of 2:15.20 with Bier coming in second. Staffeldt (24.47) closed the first half of the meet with a win in the 50 free with sophomore Logan Neal and Martin finishing in succession behind her.
Geiger's winning score of 310.28 on 3-meter highlighted the first diving break as NAU recorded the first of two top four finishes on the springboards. Sophomore Christina Torrente was second and along with sophomore Raquel Gonzales and Kurach, four Lumberjack divers all finished ahead of UNC's lone diver.
Out of the break, NAU then went one-two-three in four straight swimming events starting with Schmidt's win in the 200 fly with a time of 2:08.69. Houck, Montiel and Richter then followed with their second wins of the day. Houck led Neal and Audrey Mann in the 100 free with a time of 52.68, while Montiel finished ahead of Lenhoff and Hammond in the 200 back at 2:08.52. Richter won the 500 free with a time of 5:23.18 and was followed by Spielman and freshman Alice Hick.
Kurach closed the action on the boards with a score of 303.30 that won the 1-meter competition. Again, NAU claimed the top four spots as Geiger, Torrente and sophomore Olivia Payne took the next three positions.
"Against a conference opponent, we did very well," said diving coach Nikki Huffman. "I'm happy with what everyone is doing right now. We had an up-and-down week, but we saw some really good things. Olivia Payne had her best meet on 1-meter and Tanya Kurach did two new dives on 3-meter. Lex dove really consistent. Overall, they all did a great job."
Kazakeviciute's pool record in the 200 breast spearheaded NAU's final top three sweep with Audrey Mann and Martin placing second and third respectively. The meet ended with NAU's 'A' relay team of Houck, Montiel, Schmidt and Staffeldt turning in the fastest 200 free relay time of 1:38.05.
The 'Jacks have just one more weekend of competition before having a month off to train for the WAC Championships. The NAU swimmers will head to Boise, Idaho to face Boise State next Friday. Nevada will then join NAU and Boise State for a double dual on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the divers will head off to the Air Force Academy for the Air Force Diving Invitational next Friday and Saturday. The invite will be NAU's second and final opportunity to dive on platform before the conference championships.