2016 NAIA Women’s Nationals – SCAD Leads After Dominant Day 1

2016 NAIA National Championships – Women’s Meet

  • Dates: Wednesday, March 2 – Saturday, March 5, 2016; prelims 9 am, finals 5 pm
  • Location: Columbus Aquatic Center, Columbus, Georgia (Eastern Time Zone)
  • Defending Champions: Oklahoma Baptist University (results)
  • Live Results: Available here
  • Live Video: Available here
  • Championship Central

Day One of the 2016 NAIA Women’s Swimming and Diving National Championships came to a close with SCAD Savannah firmly in the lead over Olivet Nazarene, while Biola and Brenau were in a battle for third. Wayland Baptist had the most impressive first day of action, though, gaining from psych sheet seedings to prelims and then again from prelims to finals.

200 Medley Relay – Final

  1. SCAD Savannah 1:43.56
  2. Olivet Nazarene 1:44.37
  3. Biola 1:45.80

After placing second in prelims, SCAD Savannah came roaring back to win the opening event in 1:43.56. Kandes Soapes got the Bees off to a strong start with a 25.39 backstroke. Heather Partlow followed in 29.27, and suddenly SCAD was two body lengths in front of the field. Shannon Cummings went 25.20 in the fly, then Julie Woody brought it home with 23.70. Olivet Nazarene (Deirdre Gerke, Andrea Vega, Amanda Moran, and Kelsey Weener combined for 1:44.37, 1.8 seconds faster than their morning swim, to claim the silver medal. Biola placed third in 1:45.80.

500 Freestyle – Final

  1. Courtney Hayward, Brenau 4:56.34
  2. Caroline Lepesant, SCAD Savannah 4:56.98
  3. Abigail Richey, SCAD Savannah 5:00.29

Two-time defending champion Courtney Hayward of Brenau had posted the top qualifying time in the women’s 500 free during the morning session and therefore claimed the middle lane for finals. To her right was Caroline Lepesant of SCAD, a two-time national champion in the 1650. Hayward took it out quickly as is her wont, with Lepesant in tow. ONU freshman Andrea Vega was in second place through the 200 but faded noticeably at the halfway point. Lepesant worked the back half of her race, outsplitting Hayward by about 2.5 seconds over the last 200 yards. Alas it was too little too late; the senior from SCAD needed about another 5 yards to turn her momentum into a win, so Hayward picked up her third consecutive gold medal. SCAD freshman Abigail Richey earned the bronze with 5:00.29.

Lindenwood freshman Simone de Rijcke wound up in fourth place with 5:01.95. SCAD senior Emma McKinley, ONU freshman Andrea Vega, Biola senior Abby Blake, and Brenau sophomore Ella Kleineschmidt rounded out the top eight.

200 Individual Medley – Final

  1. Tiffany Ray, ONU 2:05.84
  2. Rebecca Justus, SCAD Savannah 2:07.21
  3. McKayla Stevens, College of Idaho 2:07.53

ONU junior Tiffany Ray held on to her top seeding from prelims to win the women’s 200 IM with a slightly slower 2:05.84. SCAD’s Rebecca Justus, in eighth place at the back-to-breast wall, had a strong second half, moving to sixth after the breast, and then to second at the final touch. Justus was four seconds behind Ray at the halfway mark, and while she made up 2.5 seconds over the last 100, it wasn’t enough to cover the distance and she wound up second in 2:07.21. McKayla Stevens of College of Idaho took third with a drop of another 1.3 seconds (after the 3 she had improved in prelims) for a final time of 2:07.53.

Cumberlands freshman Christine Klouda came in fourth, followed by WVU Tech sophomore Kendra Monnin, Christina Ali of Biola, Brenau senior MK Jabbia, and Trinity Counter of St. Andrews

50 Freestyle – Final

  1. Heather Partlow, SCAD Savannah 23.77
  2. Lisa Tixier, Biola 23.92
  3. Julie Woody, SCAD Savannah and Deandre Small, Wayland Baptist 24.06

SCAD senior Heather Partlow had posted the morning’s top 50 free, and held on for a national title in the event with a flags-to-wall surge that took her past sophomore Lisa Tixier of Biola, who led for the first 40 yards. Tixier hit the wall at 23.94, coming in .15 behind Partlow.

SCAD’s Julie Woody and Wayland Baptist freshman Deandre Small tied for third with 24.06. They were followed by College of Idaho freshman Maddy Kelly, ONU senior Kelsey Weener, SCAD senior Shannon Cummings, and Ronnie Borders of Lindsey Wilson.

800 Freestyle Relay – Fastest Heat

SCAD finished the session with a resounding 7:32.83 win in the 800 free relay as Richey (1:51.58), Justus (1:53.63), McKinley (1:54.93), and Haley Thompson (1:52.69) combined for 7:32.83. ONU came in second with 7:34.96. Third place went to University of the Cumberlands in 7:40.00.

Team Scores – Day One

Rank Team Points Vs Prelims Vs Psych
1 SCAD Savannah 205 7 13
2 Olivet Nazarene University 163.5 -2.5 44.5
3 Biola University 107 -7 -3
4 Brenau University 105 -3 -15
5 University of the Cumberlands 97 4 -34
6 The College of Idaho 82 -1 18
7 Wayland Baptist University 68.5 19.5 25.5
8 Lindsey Wilson College 64 4 -11
9 West Virginia University Institute of Technology 61 -8 -26
10 Lindenwood University – Belleville 50 0 -15
11 St. Andrews University 36 -2 19
12 Columbia College 29 5 -1
13 Asbury University 24 0 2
14 Union College 16 -6 -4
15 Thomas University 14 -8 2
16 Soka University of America 8 4 4
17 College of Saint Mary 4 2 4
17 Morningside College 4 -6 -9


“The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., is a governing body of small athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics.

In 2000, the NAIA reaffirmed its purpose to enhance the character building aspects of sport. Through Champions of Character, the NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values.” 

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About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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