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Freshman Fiona Connell Top Scorer at 14th Annual Pentathlon

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Fiona Connell set an unofficial pool record in the 100 backstroke and scored a meet-high 3970 points as Northern Arizona swimming and diving opened the 2009-10 season with the 14th annual Pentathlon held at Wall Aquatic Center on Friday. Connell swam a time of 1:04.29 in the 100 backstroke during the Lumberjacks first of two exhibitions this fall.

“It’s a great start,” said head coach Andy Johns of the Lumberjack’s first meet of the season. “The meet is physically and mentally tough. It kind of kick starts us into the next phase as we get a little closer to our first dual meet.”

Fiona Connell from Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia, won two races at the Pentathlon, a five-race event consisting of the 200-meter IM, 100-meter butterfly, 100-meter backstroke, 100-meter, breaststroke, and 100-meter freestyle.

Connell opened the event winning the 200 IM with a time of 2:26.19 and posted the top time in the 100 backstroke.  She finished with 3,970 points taking the meet's top honors.

Sophomore Chalene Dirks-Ryan placed second with 3,560 points followed by freshman Jaclyn Branning with 3,520 points. Dirks-Ryan finished in the top-five in three of the five events. Branning was second in the 100 butterfly and 100 breaststroke and placed third in the 200 IM.

Senior Rachael Foe swam a team-best 1:06.12 in the 100 butterfly and finished in fourth place with sophomore Kristen Jones at 3,490 points. Foe had won the three previous Pentathlon’s prior to Friday’s competition.

Senior Jessi Jones took top honors in the 100 breaststroke posting a time of 1:18.56 and junior Vivian Landeck closed the meet with a 1:02.01 in the 100 freestyle.

“[This meet] is a great break from just practicing,” Johns said. “The girls like to race and it’s good for us to see them in a more competitive type of situation than just practice. Sometimes we find someone doing something we didn’t know they were good at and we might be able to use that later on in the season.”

It’s good practice for racing, cheering, and getting ready for another race. It’s good for them. We want them to be competitive with each other, but at the same time the most important thing is that they encourage each other.”

NAU swimming and diving’s next competition will be the Blue vs. Gold meet on Friday, October 16 at the Wall Aquatic Center, the final exhibition event prior to the start of the regular season against New Mexico State and Northern Colorado on Saturday, October 31 in Las Cruces, N.M.

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