FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The NAU swimming & diving team kicks off its 2012-13 season with home events on consecutive days this week, holding its annual Blue vs. Gold meet at 2 p.m. Friday and then welcoming Arizona State for a meet and clinic with local youth swimmers beginning at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Wall Aquatic Center. Friday's event will be the first competition for the NAU divers after the swimmers competed in the pentathlon three weeks ago.
NAU-TV will be recording the 1-meter and 3-meter diving competitions during the Blue vs. Gold meet for a special broadcast to air in high definition later this season.
"Blue and Gold will be a nice pre-ASU warm-up and it helps our girls to be able to race back-to-back because that's what we have to do at the end of the season," NAU head coach Andy Johns said. "It's a different format than just practicing and our girls are really competitive. This format sets it up well so they have a chance to race and the divers get to compete in a competitive environment."
The 30 member team will be split into two groups of 15, with 12 swimmers and three divers on each squad picked by the four NAU seniors. There will be 10 swimming events in addition to the two diving competitions as the split squads compete against each other. Senior diver Kristy Ardavanis will be looking to repeat as champion on both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards after taking both events last year while junior Emma Lowther also won two events a year ago to lead the Blue team to a 60-44 win.
Arizona State will bring both its men's and women's swimming teams up to Flagstaff on Saturday for a unique relay competition before hosting a free one hour clinic with local boys and girls swimmers. The clinic will be open to youth swimmers in 8th grade or younger and participants MUST be registered with USA Swimming to participate in the clinic due to insurance purposes.
The friendly competition will take place between the NAU and ASU women's swimmers alternating with the Arizona State men conducting intersquad races. Racing should take approximately one hour before the clinic commences at 11:30 with student-athletes and coaches from both teams working with local youth swimmers. Spectators and clinic participants are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for donation to St. Mary's Food Bank.
"It's been a long time since ASU has been up here so we're glad they are coming up to start our season off," Johns said. "It's a good way for us to get into our competition season against a quality program. For their men to come up also and compete against each other and really showcase what Division-I men's swimming looks like for all of our club swimmers will be a great teaching opportunity.
We're excited that their swimmers and coaches are willing to help us out with the clinic afterwards which will be beneficial not only for all of the young swimmers in Flagstaff and northern Arizona but we also hope to make a nice donation to St. Mary's Food Bank."