MESA, Ariz. – Sharing the same pool deck as a number of recent Olympians, eight Northern Arizona swimmers competed at the 2017 Arena Pro Swim Series last weekend at the Skyline Aquatic Center. Of the eight, senior Urte Kazakeviciute and junior Alina Staffeldt shined the brightest with each earning multiple evening swims.
"This meet gives them not only great experience, but something to shoot for and a lot of things to work on," said head coach Andy Johns. "For Urte and Alina especially, there are possibilities for them at their national meets and maybe the World University Games. To be on that stage with highly decorated swimmers, it's great exposure for our program."
Kazakeviciute and Staffeldt's success comes as no surprise when considering the 2017 edition of the annual Pro Swim Series event in Mesa was their fourth and third appearances respectively. To qualify for the meet, swimmers must achieve a time standard.
Coming off her best performance at the meet to date last year, Kazakeviciute upped her results last weekend posting her best 200m breaststroke time in four appearances. She qualified for the 'B' final with a morning time of 2:35.88 and clocked a time of 2:34.80 in the final to finish 13th. She then swam in the fastest 'A' final to place eighth overall in the 100m breast with a time of 1:12.86.
Meanwhile, Staffeldt turned in her best Arena Pro Swim Series times in the 100m and 200m butterfly events. After placing 18th and swam in the 'C' final of the 100m fly with her time of 1:02.02, Staffeldt opened a lot of eyes by winning the 200m fly 'B' final in dominating fashion. Entering with a prelim time of 2:20.37, she dropped her time by over four seconds to place ninth overall with a time of 2:16.30 – one year after being the first alternate in the event.
While the two veterans were commanding the stage in their respective returns, several other Lumberjacks made their Mesa debuts. Juniors Claire Hammond, Roni Houck and Kimmy Richter, sophomore Andrea Schmidt and freshmen Emily Martin and Fernanda Montiel all earned valuable experience heading into their respective summer training.
Schmidt was the lone Lumberjack of the group to make an evening final – doing so in her only event in the 200m fly. Schmidt touched the wall in 2:23.05 in the 'C' final and finished 21st.
The swimmers were also joined by a future teammate at the meet as incoming freshmen Sam Milewski posted qualifying marks. Milewski was the first alternate in the 400m freestyle while also placing 19th in the 800m free.
"For those putting in the work, the payoff can be pretty big," Johns said. "It's nice to see some of them get a second swim at night. It sets them all up for the summer."
Full Results (LCM):
200m breaststroke – 2:35.88
200m breaststroke (13th; finals) – 2:34.80*
100m breaststroke – 1:12.66
100m breaststroke – (8th; finals) – 1:12.86
100m butterfly – 1:02.60
100m butterfly (18th; finals) – 1:02.02*
50m freestyle – 27.94
200m butterfly – 2:20.37
200m butterfly (9th; finals) – 2:16.30*
100m freestyle – 1:00.06
200m freestyle – 2:10.26
100m freestyle – 1:00.37
50m freestyle – 27.40
400m freestyle – 4:35.28
200m freestyle – 2:11.86
200m butterfly – 2:22.14
200m butterfly (21st; finals) – 2:23.05
100m breaststroke – 1:16.57
100m freestyle – 1:02.25
200m backstroke – 2:30.11
50m freestyle – 28.58
100m backstroke – 1:08.36
400m freestyle – 4:28.96
200m freestyle – 2:11.10
800m freestyle – 9:14.85
*Indicates best personal time at Arena Pro Swim Series meet