2018 WAC Championships Day 2: Nikolaev Breaks 200 IM Conference Record

2018 WAC CHAMPIONSHIP

On day 2 of the WAC, Northern Arizona jumped out to a big lead in the women’s standings, while Wyoming and UNLV are locked in a tight battle on the men’s meet, with GCU trailing by about 50 points. Mark Nikolaev broke his own WAC record in the 200 IM finals.

Nikolaev blasted a 1:43.60 to win the 200 IM by 3 seconds over runner-up Wade Nelson. Nikolaev’s splits were very good, coming in at 23.19/25.20/30.84/24.37. He beat his own WAC record of 1:44.15, which he set last year. The 200 IM will likely be one of Nikolaev’s 3 events at the NCAAs, along with the 100 back, and either the 200 back or 100 free.

UNLV freshman Brad Gonzales took the men’s 500 free with a 4:19.44, winning by 3 seconds over fellow UNLV freshman Grant Norgan. Gonzales was consistent in his race, putting up 100 splits of 49.43/52.83/52.85/53.30/51.03. While that time will not be enough to earn him an invite to the NCAAs, having a sub-4:20 and low-4:20s freshman is certainly a bright spot in UNLV’s future.

Northern Colorado freshman Petra Kis took the women’s 200 IM in 2:01.25, coming in over a second ahead of runner-up Alix Knagg. Ionna Sacha, another Northern Colorado freshman, came in 3rd with a 2:02.43.

UNLV and GCU tied for 1st in the men’s 200 free relay, coming in at 1:18.53. The GCU team of Bogdan Plavin (19.63), Youssef El Kamash (19.66), Viktor Kertesz (20.03), Mazen El Kamash (19.21) was a little slower than their season best of 1:18.2. That was largely due to Nikolaev not swimming on the relay, which was probably done on purpose because they already have the B cut in the 200 free relay, allowing them to swim it at the NCAAs. The UNLV team of Forrest Beesley (19.93), Or Sabatier (19.75), Mark Theall (19.61), and Dylan Tarazona (19.24) was more consistent with their splits than GCU, and knocked a second off their season best.

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