2020 WACs Day 4: NAU Women Take 7th-Straight Title; Air Force Men Win

2020 WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

The 2020 WAC Championships concluded on Saturday morning, with all events being swum as timed finals due to continuing issues caused by the water main break near the University of Houston. The Northern Arizona women extended their winning streak to 7 in a row, while Air Force took the men’s victory. Read on for a recap of today’s events.

MEN’S HIGHLIGHTS

Air Force’s Zach Nelson swept his individual events here and picked up a breaststroke sweep. Nelson swam a best by nearly 2 seconds, winning the race in 1:54.83. He was half a second away from the WAC Record, which stands at a 1:54.28 done by Cal Baptist’s Scott Tolman last season. The Air Force men went 1-2 there, with freshman Tory Bartlett taking 2nd in 1:57.19. That was a big swim, dropping nearly 5 seconds from his former best. Grand Canyon’s Ivan Zukov followed closely to take bronze in 1:57.43.

Grand Canyon’s Mazen Shoukry used his back-half speed to win the 100 free in 43.25, out-touching Air Force’s Matthew Lattin (43.45) and Cal Baptist’s Jacob Leahy (43.46). That was a breakthrough for Shoukry, as his former best had stood since 2018. Air Force freshman Wen Zhang, the 200 free champion, was 4th in 43.82.

UNLV swept the 200 back podium. Freshman Panos Bolanos and Ogi Maric battled for the win. Maric started to close the gap oqn the back half, but Bolanos was nearly a second ahead at the halfway point. Bolanos touched in 1:41.20 to win it, while Maric followed in 1:41.87. Teammate Hayden Cornellison took bronze in 1:43.21.

Additional Event Winners

  • Air Force freshman Jaykob Williams won his first title in the mile, dropping over 15 seconds in 15:10.86. Wyoming’s Ryan Netzel repeated as silver medalist, finishing 2nd in 15:20.03.
  • Wyoming’s Brayden Love led the 200 fly from start to finish, dropping a second to win in 1:43.77.
  • Air Force closed the meet with a 2:53.83 win in the 400 free relay. Isaac Gwin had their fastest split in 43.17 on the 2nd leg. UNLV (2:54.26) was 2nd with a 43.16 anchor from Richard Szilagyi. Grand Canyon (2:56.73) had the fastest split of the field with Florent Janin‘s 43.11 anchor.

FINAL TEAM SCORES – MEN

  1. Air Force 864
  2. UNLV 692
  3. Grand Canyon 559.5
  4. Wyoming 539
  5. Cal Baptist 423.5
  6. Cal State Bakersfield 341.5
  7. Seattle 139.5

WOMEN’S HIGHLIGHTS

Grand Canyon’s Talita Te Flan battled closely with Cal Baptist’s Rebecca Oviedo, the 2019 runner-up, in the mile. They were separated by just a tenth at the 1000-mark. Te Flan had taken over the lead at that flip and pulled ahead from there, winning the race in 16:48.66. She’s had a great impact for Grand Canyon since transferring from Wyoming at the end of last season. Oviedo, a 2-time individual champion as a freshman in 2019, repeated as silver medalist in this event with a 16:54.23.

After tying for the 100 back title, NAU freshman Lainie Bell picked up a backstroke sweep. Though she trailed halfway, she outsplit New Mexico State’s Maude Boily-Dufour by nearly a second on the 3rd 50 to take over the lead, winning the race in 1:56.94. That marked a breakthrough swim as it was her first best time since 2015. That was a drop of nearly 3 seconds.

Cal State Bakersfield’s Autumn D’Arcy went 3-for-3 this year, opting for the 200 fly instead of the 100 free this time around. D’Arcy swept the butterflies here, racing to a 1:58.56 to break 1:59 for the first time. She was the only woman to break 2:00.

Additional Event Winners

  • Grand Canyon’s Alyssa Christianson made a breakthrough, lowering her best in the 200 breast for the first time since 2016. She won by nearly 3 seconds in 2:13.53.
  • NAU’s Elisa Rodriguez defended her 100 free title, securing another sprint sweep this season in 49.24, just ahead of Cal State Bakersfield’s Mikayla Popham (49.64), who broke 50 for the first time.
  • Bakersfield (3:21.02) out-touched Cal Baptist (3:21.26) to win the 400 free relay. Mikayla Popham led off for Bakersfield in a lifetime best of 49.54, beating her time from the 100 free final. D’Arcy anchored in 50.21. Cal Baptist got a 49.79 anchor split from Isabella Rhodes.

FINAL TEAM SCORES – WOMEN

  1. Northern Arizona 676.5
  2. Cal Baptist 581
  3. Grand Canyon 560
  4. New Mexico State 497
  5. Cal State Bakersfield 434
  6. Northern Colorado 370
  7. Idaho 307.5
  8. Seattle 168

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About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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