FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The NAU swimming & diving team won three of six events vs. Arizona State and defeated the Sun Devils, 57-49, in a mixed relay dual with the Arizona State men's swimming team on Saturday in Wall Aquatic Center. Hosting Arizona State for the first time since 2003, the Lumberjacks earned their first win over the Sun Devils in program history before both teams volunteered for a clinic with youth swimmers immediately following the meet.
"I'm a bit surprised but I'm really proud of our girls and their effort," said NAU head coach Andy Johns. "It was great to start the meet out with a win in the 200 medley relay since that's a regular event for us, and our backstrokers and breaststrokers were just great. We had tremendous times that were better than we've done so far which is great for us leading into the season."
The Lumberjack quarter of freshman Alex Huff, junior Jordan Burnes, sophomore Alexis Juergens, and freshman Ellie Morrissey touched first in the 200 medley relay in 1:59.47 to narrowly out touch ASU's top finisher and another NAU squad to open the meet with a win. ASU came back with a win from Tristin Baxter in the 300 freestyle, the only individual race of the day, as she touched just before NAU junior Emma Lowther.
Huff, senior Fi Connell, and junior Rachel Palmer won the second relay race with a winning time of 3:15.21 in the 300 backstroke relay followed by an NAU win by more than five seconds in the 300 breaststroke relay in 3:48.73 from junior Stirling Smith, freshman Monica Pruett, and Burnes. The Sun Devils would come back to win the remaining events, the 300 butterfly relay and 400 free relay, but NAU had a squad place second in both of those races to earn points and finish off the win.
Both the NAU women and the ASU men and women worked for more than an hour following the meet with a large group of local swimmers, instructing them in form and technique and demonstrating the qualities that could make them future collegiate swimmers as well.
"It's fun to get to know the ASU swimmers and work with all the youth swimmers," said NAU junior Andrea Derflinger. "Seeing the excitement the kids have reminds me of why I love swimming and it's great to be able to give back to the community."
The Lumberjacks begin the traditional dual meet portion of their season next week with a dual at noon next Saturday at New Mexico.