FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The NAU swimming & diving team takes a 2-0 dual record home to host Northern Colorado (1-1), a new member this year of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), in a dual at 11 a.m. Saturday in Wall Aquatic Center. While NAU and UNC have been long time rivals in the Big Sky, this is the first season that the two schools share the same conference for swimming & diving.
"We're looking forward to swimming at home and against a conference opponent," NAU head coach Andy Johns said. "They present some challenges in some places and we're looking forward to some good competition."
NAU opened its competitive season in Flagstaff on Oct. 13 with a win 57-49 over Arizona State in a unique relay meet, the program's first win over the Sun Devils in program history. The squad then went on the road and scored a 152-148 win at New Mexico two weeks ago as the Lumberjacks clinched the meet by winning the final event, the 400 freestyle relay.
The competition against the Lobos was the first of the year for the NAU divers, as senior Kristy Ardavanis led the team on both boards with the highest scores this season in the WAC and was subsequently named the WAC Diver of the Week for the sixth time in the last two years.
"It's exciting to start off so strong and have good motivation to keep going," said Ardavanis on the Lumberjacks Weekly podcast. "Our divers have been training very hard so I think we'll do very well (against Northern Colorado). I think we have a good team and it's nice that we have some older and some younger teammates to work through everything."
In the pool, juniors Emma Lowther and Rachel Palmer each won two events vs. New Mexico and NAU won seven individual races to top the Lobos. NAU's winning 400 free relay team posted the 42nd fastest time this season in the NCAA at 3:29.89(a) and freshman Kendall Brown, who won the 1000 free at New Mexico in 10:14.53(a), has the top time in the event in the WAC thus far.
Northern Colorado opened its season with a 252-111 win over Colorado Mesa before taking a 165.5-134.5 loss to Air Force at home last week. The Bears' top 800 free relay time against Air Force is the 23rd fastest time this season in the NCAA at 8:03.39(a) while junior Gina Riggle was one of three individual winners against the Falcons as she won the 100 breast in 1:05.86. On the diving boards, senior Sara Moldenhauer won both events vs. Air Force and has the third best 1-meter and fourth best 3-meter scores in the WAC this season.
NAU scored a dominant 160.5-82.5 win over the Bears in Greeley last season to push the program's all-time dual record against Northern Colorado to 8-0. All NAU swimming & diving meets in Wall Aquatic Center are free to attend.