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October 16, 2009

Swimming and Diving Completes 27th Annual Blue vs. Gold Meet, Second Straight Win for Gold Team

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona swimming and diving took part in its final exhibition meet of the 2009-10 season with the Gold team defeating the Blue team 121.5-70.5 at the 27th annual Blue vs. Gold meet at the Wall Aquatic Center on Friday afternoon. The meet was the final tune-up prior to the start of the season in Las Cruces, N.M. against New Mexico State and Northern Colorado on Saturday, Oct. 31.

Led by assistant head coach Dave Rollins, the Gold team bested the Blue team, directed by head coach Andy Johns, for the second straight season. The Gold team won last year’s event 58-28 evening the record at 2-2 over the past four seasons as the Blue team put together a two-year streak in 2006-07 and 2007-08.

“I am 2-1 against Andy in my three years,” Rollins said jokingly. “I think we are moving in the right direction as a team. We are swimming faster than we did at the Pentathlon which means we are in better shape. They are reacting well to what we have been throwing at them in training.”

The meet opened in rare fashion with the 200 Individual Medley Relay finishing in a tie. Both the Blue and Gold relays swam a time of 2:01.82.

The Gold team was led by Fiona Connell and Kristin Jones who each picked up 18 points in their two individual races. Connell won the 200-meter IM with a time of 2:24.46 and the 150-meter backstroke in 1:43.59. Jones took the 200-meter and 400-meter freestyle events with times of 2:09.55 and 4:35.23, respectively.

Rachael Foe paced the Blue team with two wins for 18 points as well. Foe won the 50-meter freestyle in 27.25 and 100-meter freestyle in 1:00.29.

“There were a lot of good swims from a lot of different people,” said Rollins. “Kristin Jones swam really well in the 200 and 400. Rachael swam really well in her 50 and 100 free and Meredith (Egloria) did a great job in her relays and individual event.”

The Blue vs. Gold meet is an opportunity to fuel competition, break up the monotony of practice, and allow for bragging rights amongst the team, but it also simulates a normal dual meet and helps to get swimmers and divers ready for the regular season which starts up in two weeks.

“I feel good about the team,” said Johns. “We seem to have been hit with a bunch of injuries and illness, but in spite of that we have some really good things going on. Today’s racing was a marked improvement over three weeks ago. We still have things to work on, but the excitement is there and the enthusiasm is there.”

The girls are racing and working hard. I was quite pleased with some of the results. We have a good mix of returners and newcomers that are setting some impressive marks at this point in the season. We are looking forward to being in Las Cruces, N.M., in two weeks.”

In the diving competition, the Gold team picked up 26 points from Lana Christensen and Taryin Harris. Christensen won the 3-meter with a score of 286.95 while Harris picked up the win in the 1-meter scoring 274.20. Christensen was the runner-up in the 1-meter while Harris accomplished the same feat in the 3-meter.

“I was very pleased with all of them,” said diving head coach Nikki Huffman. “For Lana to get a win on 3-meter and Taryn to get a win on 1-meter it keeps that competitive edge going. They both did a great job. I thought Holly (Frost) had a really nice meet on 3-meter. Kristy (Ardavanis) as a freshmen had a very solid and consistent meet on both boards. Cassie Anderson had a pretty nice one-meter as well.

Any type of competition is good. It lights a fire under them. Everything that happened today was very positive. We just need to continue going and get better.”