FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Coming off a season-opening victory over New Mexico, the Northern Arizona swimming & diving team returns to the pool this Saturday when it hosts Idaho at the Wall Aquatic Center at 11 a.m. The Lumberjacks will look to avenge their loss – their first in seven all-time meetings – to the Vandals last season in Moscow, Idaho in addition to moving to 2-0 this season.
"We look forward to hosting Idaho, a WAC opponent, for our second meet in two weeks at home," said head coach Andy Johns. "Although we feel good about our results versus UNM last week, we can't rest on our laurels. Idaho presents different challenges than UNM. We like swimming at home and in front of our fans, so it should be another exciting meet on Saturday."
The Lumberjacks posted a 166.5-131.5 win over the Lobos last weekend, claiming 10 of the 14 individual titles. Sophomore Kendall Brown led the way winning three events – the 400 and 800 free and 200 fly – and after one dual meet, she owns the top-times in the WAC converted to the 500 and 1,000 freestyles. Combined with her fourth-best conference time in the 200 fly and Brown has three top-10 WAC times, which is tied with senior Rachel Palmer, who won the 200 IM versus New Mexico. Overall, 11 Lumberjack swimmers currently own at least one top-10 conference time and seven own multiple top-10 times.
NAU also fared extremely well on the diving boards last week, winning both the 1-meter and 3-meter. Sophomore Chelsea Jackson earned WAC Diver of the Week honors after recording a Wall Aquatic Center record 1-meter score of 303.15 to win the event and placing second on 3-meter to senior Gwen Smithberg. Smithberg took the top spot on 3-meter with a score of 300.52. Jackson and Smithberg both qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving meet on both boards while freshman Alexa Geiger earned a qualifying score on the 1-meter. The trio occupies the top-three spots on the WAC's top 1-meter scores.
Idaho is 1-2 this season in duals after a narrow loss to Washington State two weeks ago. The Vandals own the top-time in the WAC in seven swimming events thus far this season and is led by Rachel Millet. The junior is the owner of four of Idaho's seven WAC leading times including the fastest marks in the 200 free, 100 and 200 back and 200 IM. The diving unit is led by Paige Hunt and Mairin Jameson, both of whom are among the top-five divers on both boards. Hunt's score of 312.75 on 3-meter versus Washington State is the WAC's top score this season.
"Rachel Millet is outstanding in everything she swims and Paige Hunt was diver of the year for the WAC last year," Johns said. "They have some newcomers that have posted some good times already this year and so we will have to be even better than we were last week in every aspect in order to get another win."
The Vandals captured the 177.5-122.5 victory last year by winning 13 of the 16 events. It was Idaho's first victory over NAU after dropping the previous six meetings. Senior Emma Lowther won the 1,000 free and junior Caitlin Wright took first in the 500 free for the Lumberjacks.
Admission is free for NAU's final home meet until Feb. 8.
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