FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – A tie in the last event of the day, the 200 freestyle relay, concluded a highly competitive Blue-Gold meet and gave the Gold team a narrow 52.5-51.5 win in the squad's annual intersquad event. Senior diver Kristy Ardavanis and junior swimmer Rachel Palmer each won two events as the meet came down to the final race.
"The results speak to the depth and the balance of the team," head coach Andy Johns said. "We have great leadership throughout all of the classes and we have a lot of competitive people. We saw improvement from the pentathlon and had some different events today, but everyone is getting better."
Ardavanis swept both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving competitions for the second consecutive year, scoring 321.38 on 3-meter and 312.68 on 1-meter. Junior Gwen Smithberg, who with Ardavanis led the diving effort of the Blue team, placed second on 3-meter at 301.65 and tied with freshman Carlye Townsend for third place on 1-meter with a 268.13 total. Sophomore Katie Dallmann was second on 1-meter and third on 3-meter.
The Gold team opened the swimming competition with a winning time of 2:00.62 in the 200 medley relay. Junior Emma Lowther followed with a win in the 200 freestyle in 2:07.62 and senior Kelsey Loy scored for the Blue team with a 26.81 winning time in the 50 free. Palmer earned her first win in 2:24.69 in the 200 individual medley than followed with a win in the 150 butterfly in 1:42.14.
After the Blue team took a slim lead following Palmer's wins, the Gold won the four remaining individual races. Freshman Ellie Morrissey touched first in the 100 free in 59.29 and senior Fi Connell followed for a Gold win in the 150 back in 1:43.80. Sophomore Caitlin Wright earned the win in the 400 free in 4:31.65 and the individual races concluded with junior Jordan Burnes winning the 150 breast in 1:57.95.
That left the 200 free relay as the final race with the Gold team holding a one point lead. The Blue quartet of Loy, sophomore Alexis Juergens, freshman Molly Elkins, and Palmer fell behind early but closed strong. The Gold team opened with sophomore Alex Huff followed by Morrissey and Wright, with Lowther closing against Palmer and the pair touching at the same time of 1:49.65 to split the points for the race and give the slight win to Gold.
The NAU swimmers will return to action on Saturday in a special dual and clinic with Arizona State beginning at 10:30 a.m. in Wall Aquatic Center. Arizona State will bring both its men's and women's swimming teams up to Flagstaff 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.