2019 NAIA National Championships – Women’s Meet
- Dates: Wednesday, February 27 – Saturday, March 2; prelims 9 am, finals 5 pm
- Location: Columbus Aquatic Center, Columbus, Georgia (Eastern Time Zone)
- Defending Champions: SCAD (results)
- Psych Sheet
- Live Results: Available here
- Live Video: Available here
- Championship Central
The 2019 NAIA Swimming and Diving National Championships will get underway tomorrow in Columbus, Georgia. The women’s meet features swimmers and divers from 30 teams with 196 individual entries.
The NAIA, which governs the athletic programs of smaller colleges and universities, has sponsored men’s swimming and diving since 1957 and women’s swimming and diving since 1981. 29 NAIA institutions sponsor men’s swimming and diving and 36 NAIA institutions sponsor women’s swimming and diving. The championships will consist of a four-day with 20 events for each gender.
Defending champion SCAD Savannah enters the championship with the highest total individual qualifiers with 18. The Bees return national champions Sarah Lacusky (200 IM) and Lydia Reinhardt (200 fly) and are seeded #1 in 4 of the 5 relays. Olivet Nazarene University, who won the national title in 2017, brings back Andrea Vega (100/200 breast champion) and Karla Islas (400 IM champion). In addition, the Tigers will get a minimum of 45 points from diving. From the psych sheet, though, it’s Keiser University who poses the biggest threat to a SCAD repeat. The Seahawks have several fast freshman and a lot of depth to back them up.
While defending champion SCAD Savannah leads the psych sheet, it’s difficult to seed the meet since many teams haven’t yet had the chance to swim fully tapered (unlike NCAA swimmers going into their championships). We have tried to predict outcomes based on last year’s results in conjunction with this year’s top times.
Only a handful of teams in the NAIA have the capability to support divers. Last year’s newcomer St. Ambrose University returns two-time national champion Andrea Adam and two-time runner-up Taylor Madison. Olivet and University of the Cumberlands also field divers.
Union College sophomore Jessica Axford is top seed in the event she won at 2018 NAIA Nationals, the 200 free. She comes in with a seed time of 1:51.26, which is 2 seconds faster than her winning time last year. She is also #1 seed in the 50 free (23.73) and #3 in the 100 free (51.76). Again, those are significant time drops from last year, when she placed 9th in the 50 (24.34) and 9th in the 100 (52.22). Indiana Wesleyan’s Emma Travis and University of the Cumberlands’ Mendy De Rooi, both finalists in the 50 free and 100 free last year, are sprinters to keep an eye on, although De Rooi is seeded #1 in the 500 free so it’s unlikely she will swim the 50 this year. ONU’s Leanne Latocha, runner-up in the 50 free last year, can’t be overlooked. And SCAD has a pair of freshmen, Anna Kate McGinty and Spencer Sheridan, seeded in the top-5 and comes in seeded of the 50, while Sheridan is #1 in the 500 free (51.22).
After De Rooi’s 5:06.49 seed time in the 500 free, Keiser freshman Stefania Sofouli has the next-fastest entry time (5:07.45). She is also the number 1 seed in the 1650 with 17:20.15. Lindenwood-Belleville freshman Marie Geck, SCAD senior Shayna Salzman, Asbury sophomore Hope Clark, and Milligan sophomore Maggie Halloran are the next-fastest qualifiers in the 500. Salzman, Clark, Halloran were all A-finalists in 2018. O’Gorman is second seed in the mile, just ahead of Geck.
Lindsay Dowling of Brenau tops the qualifiers in the 100 back and is seeded 4th in the 200. Dowling’s seed time of 56.83 is more than 7/10 faster than her silver-medal performance last year. Keiser freshman Anna Herbst and juniors Kamryn Gallowich and Meagan Abad are all seeded with 57s, while SCAD freshman Allie Rassenfoss and senior Julie Henninger (3rd-place finisher in 2018) are also seeded in the top 6. 2018 runner-up Christina Klouda from University of the Cumberlands is the #1 seed in the 200 back with 2:03.25, ahead of Gallowich and Rassenfoss.
ONU’s Vega and SCAD’s Lacusky are both seniors this year, and have each been double-event winners in the breaststrokes. Vega earned the double crowns in 2018 while Lacusky pulled off the same feat in 2017. Vega boasts the #1 qualifying time in the 100 this year (1:04.18) and the #2 time in the 200 (2:19.89). Arizona Christian’s Vikte Labanauskaite has the fastest seed time in the 200 breast (2:19.78) and is 2nd in the 100 (1:04.46). Cumberlands sophomore Julia Hnidenko, who finished 3rd in both distances at 2018 NAIA Nationals, comes in with the 3rd-fastest times in the 100 and the 200.
Cumberlands sophomore De Rooi (54.67) is top seed in the 100 with a time that is 1.8 seconds better than her seed time a year ago and 1.6 seconds faster than her time in finals, where she finished 2nd. Indiana Wesleyan freshman Sydney Darnell (56.43), Keiser freshman Herbst (56.56), and SCAD junior Reinhardt (56.92) are the next-fastest seeds in the 100 fly. Reinhardt leads the qualifiers in the 200 fly (2:04.07) followed by Herbst and Keiser sophomore Anna Lofton.
Cumberlands’ Klouda has the top qualifying time in the 200 IM (2:07.41) ahead of Labanauskaite of Arizona Christian and Keiser junior Annamaria Zombai. Defending champion Lacusky of SCAD is seeded 9th. Klouda is also seeded 1st in the 400 IM (4:29.98). She finished 3rd in both events last year. Keiser freshman Gaja Kristan (4:31.73) is 2nd in the 400, followed by teammate Zombai (4:33.76). Defending champion Islas of ONU is seeded 8th.
The top teams, scored more-or-less from the psych sheet, are as follows:
- SCAD Savannah – 636
- Keiser University – 544
- University of the Cumberlands – 390
- Olivet Nazarene University – 346
- Brenau University – 225
- Lindsey Wilson College – 190
- Indiana Wesleyan University – 189
- Lindenwood University-Belleville – 169
- The College of Idaho – 149
- Loyola University New Orleans – 140
- Arizona Christian University – 136
800 Freestyle Relay
200 Free Relay
200 Individual Medley
400 Medley Relay
1 Meter Diving (Women)
200 Medley Relay
3-Meter Diving (Women & Men)
1 Meter Diving (Men)
400 Freestyle Relay
“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.”