TUCSON, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona swimming & diving team came up short in their double dual to Arizona and Oregon State Friday afternoon at UA's Hillenbrand Aquatic Center, but it was not without a number of strong performances by several of their athletes. Senior Rachel Palmer claimed two individual wins versus Oregon State and sophomore Chelsea Jackson placed first overall on 1-meter as NAU fell 188-107 to Arizona and 157-137 to Oregon State.
The NAU diving contingent had a very strong day starting on 1-meter. Jackson's score of 255.75 outclassed her competition and led a dominating performance by the Lumberjacks in the event. Four Lumberjack divers placed among the top-six in the event as senior Gwen Smithberg (249.20, third place), freshman Alexa Geiger (241.50, fourth place) and sophomore Carlye Townsend (229.35, sixth) followed Jackson's lead.
Moving to the 3-meter board, Jackson finished runner-up to UA's Sally Hackett with a score of 250.90 giving her a pair of top-two finishes for the day. Smithberg, with a score of 241.95, and Geiger, with a score of 237.65, placed fifth and sixth respectively.
"All in all, the divers did really well after a week of training," said diving coach Nikki Huffman. "The best was 1-meter with Chelsea winning it and against UA we went 1-3-4-5 which was awesome. We were a little tired and our scores weren't as high as they have been in the past, but overall we had a lot of solid performances."
In the pool, Palmer garnered the team's two victories against the Beavers as she finished fourth overall and ahead of OSU's Aya Fujimura with a time of 2:07.02 in the 200 fly before following with a fifth-place finish ahead of Fujimura in the 200 fly with a time of 58.08.
The day began with the 1,000 freestyle in which the Lumberjacks started well. Senior Emma Lowther, sophomore Kendall Brown and junior Caitlin Wright finished third, fourth and fifth respectively and in their respective meets versus Arizona and Oregon State, which was good for the second through fourth scoring positions. Among the other highlights was Lowther and Wright taking fourth and fifth overall, second and third versus OSU, in the 200 free, Wright placing fourth overall in the 500 free and senior Stirling Smith placing fourth in the 200 IM.
NAU's 'A' 400 free relay team of freshman Jori Lindquist, sophomore Trinity Frazee, Palmer and Lowther took third with a time of 3:37.32 to conclude the day, just .14 seconds off of OSU's runner-up team.
"The distance girls did well and Rachel Palmer had two wins against Oregon State," said head coach Andy Johns. "We weren't as sharp as we were the last time out but all in all it was a great week here (in Tucson) and today was the best day we had. It's a good start to the end of the season and we're looking forward to getting back to Flagstaff where we have one more week before the semester starts."
The double dual, which also included New Mexico State whom NAU did not score against, will be shown on the Pac-12 Network tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 4, at 6 p.m. MST/5 p.m. PST.
The Lumberjacks will not compete again until Jan. 25 when they will compete against Grand Canyon in Phoenix.