SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The NAU swimming team will have four of the eight finalists in the 500 freestyle and also had two qualifiers for the 200 Individual Medley final following preliminary swims on Wednesday morning at the WAC Championships. Divers Kristy Ardavanis and Holly Frost also qualified for the 1-meter finals.
Emma Lowther (4:54.54), Caitlin Wright (4:56.68), Krista Maier (4:57.74) and Kristin Jones (4:58.05) will represent half of the field in the finals of the 500 free. NAU had four of the six best preliminary times in the event.
Junior Fi Connell posted the fastest time among the 36 competitors in the 200 IM, recording the second-best time in program history in touching at 2:02.53. Sophomore Rachel Palmer also advanced to the final with the third-fastest time at 2:03.13, while sophomore Stirling Smith advanced to the consolation final with a career-best 2:06.54. Sophomore Jordan Burnes recorded the fourth best prelim time at 2:04.15 but is not scoring in the event.
In the other prelim swim on Thursday, the 50 free, NAU had senior Chalene Dirks-Ryan advance to the consolation final with a team season-best time of 23.96.
Ardavanis scored 277.75 in the 1-meter prelims, posting the second highest score among the 29 competitors. Frost placed sixth with a 249.65 total to also advance to the finals, while freshman Kali Lents (239.60), senior Cassie Anderson (231.75) and sophomore Gwen Smithberg (229.65) also finished in the top-16 to move to the consolation final. Freshman Katie Dallmann narrowly missed the consolation final, placing 17th, while sophomores Tori Braudaway and Jane Wakefield had exhibition dives.
In the 1-meter consolation, Anderson placed fifth and Smithberg finished seventh. Thursday's swimming & diving finals will begin at 5:30 Arizona time.