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Swimming & Diving in Third Place at UNLV Winter Invitational

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Junior Kristy Ardavanis won the 1-meter diving competition and junior Fi Connell placed second in the 100 backstroke to lead NAU on the second day of the UNLV Winter Invitational. NAU also placed second in the 800 free relay and got a pair of top-four finishes from sophomore Rachel Palmer and stands in third place behind host UNLV and New Mexico State through two days of competition.

Ardavanis scored 295.05 to finish ahead of 18 other competitors on the 1-meter board for her 10th diving win of the year. Freshman Kali Lents placed second with a score of 258.10 while seniors Cassie Anderson and Holly Frost placed sixth and seventh, respectively, as NAU had four of the top-seven finishers. In the 3-meter competition on Saturday, Lents placed third with a career-best score of 274.30 and was followed in the standings by junior Gwen Smithberg, Anderson, and Frost as NAU had four of the top-six scorers.

Connell posted the best NAU swimming finish in taking second in the 100 back in 56.86 seconds in the final individual event of the day. Palmer placed third overall in the 400 IM, finishing in 4 minutes, 33.31 seconds after touching at 4:32.91 in the prelims, while senior Kristin Jones also advanced to the final and place seventh. Palmer came right back in the next event and finished fourth in the 100 fly with a career-best time of 57.44.

In the 200 free, sophomore Emma Lowther, who won the 500 free on Saturday, placed fourth at 1:53.73 while seniors Chalene Dirks-Ryan and Krista Maier finished sixth and ninth, respectively. Sophomore Stirling Smith paced the team with a sixth-place finish in the 100 breast, though sophomore Jordan Burnes won the B Final with a team season-best time of 1:05.28 to place ninth.

In the team events, NAU opened the meet with an eighth place finish from its 'A' team of Connell, Smith, freshman Alexis Juergens, and Dirks-Ryan in the 200 medley relay. The Saturday session concluded with the 800 free relay, the first time NAU competed in the event this season, with the Lumberjack quartet of Maier, Driks-Ryan, Jones, and Lowther taking second in 7:41.43.

NAU competes for the last time in 2011 on Monday when the UNLV Winter Invitational concludes.

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