2023 WAC Championships Fan Guide: NAU Women Hunting For 10th Straight Title

2023 Western Athletic Conference Championships

  • Wednesday February 22 – Saturday, February 25, 2023
  • Pharr, TX
  • Defending Champions:
    • Women: Northern Arizona (9x)
    • Men: UNLV (2x)
  • Live Results
  • Live Video
  • Championship Central

Event Schedule


  • Women’s 3-meter diving
  • Men’s 1-meter diving
  • 200 medley relay
  • 800 freestyle relay


  • 200 free relay
  • Women’s 1-meter diving
  • 500 freestyle
  • 200 IM
  • 50 freestyle
  • Men’s 3-meter diving


  • 100 butterfly
  • 400 IM
  • 200 freestyle
  • 100 breaststroke
  • 100 backstroke
  • Women’s platform diving
  • 400 medley relay


  • 1650 freestyle
  • 200 backstroke
  • 100 freestyle
  • 200 breaststroke
  • 200 butterfly
  • Men’s platform diving
  • 400 freestyle relay

Returning NCAA Qualifiers


  • Wen Zhang (Air Force): Zhang was the only WAC athlete to individually qualify for NCAAs last season. He qualified for the meet in the 100, 200, and 500 freestyle. His highest finish was 17th in the 200 free (1:32.65), while he earned 48th in the 100 free (43.52) and 45th in the 500 (4:20.90). Zhang returns this year, now a senior, with the top times in the conference in the 100 and 200 freestyle. 

Women: N/A

Showdowns and Stars


100 Butterfly: Northern Arizona’s Elsa Musselman narrowly leads a tight field in the 100 fly this season, with the top seven swimmers all within less than a second of each other. Emily Muteti from Grand Canyon is the 2nd-fastest performer so far this season, and will look to win her third consecutive WAC title in the event. 

100 Freestyle: Northern Colorado’s Ali Jackson and Grand Canyon’s Maria Brunlehner have separated themselves from the rest of the field by about half a second in this event, and are the only ones to have broken the 50.0 barrier this season. Brunlehner was runner-up in this event last season as a freshman, while Jackson earned 9th overall. 

100 & 200 Backstroke: The backstroke events look to be solidly in Utah Tech’s favor, with junior Pia Murray leading both by a solid margin. She is followed by her teammates Eleonore Rembert, who trails by half a second in the 100, and Ally Boynton, who is 2nd in the 200 back by a similar amount. Northern Arizona’s Sophie Velitchkov was runner-up in the 100 last year, but heads into the conference meet at 6th. 

Distance Freestyle: The distance freestyle events are Northern Arizona’s Casey Craffrey’s to lose. Craffey, now a sophomore, owns the quickest time in the conference so far this year in the 1650 by nearly 28 seconds. She also is seeded first in the 500 by almost 4 seconds. Craffey is the defending champion in the 1650, but was runner-up last year in the 500 to her teammate Madison Rey, who is 2nd behind Craffey this season. 


50 Freestyle: UNLV is poised to dominate this event with or without a winner, as they have four athletes currently in the top 5 spots in the conference. They are led by George Ratiu, who was runner-up in 2022. Remi Fabiani from Cal Baptist will look to win his 2nd consecutive title, but will have to fend off the UNLV sprint squad to defend it. 

100 Butterfly: Similar to the women’s event, the 100 fly is a race to keep on eye this year due its depth. Wyoming’s Gavin Smith leads the conference so far at 47.25, while six other athletes follow within 0.67 hundredths of each other. The defending champion George Ratiu from UNLV is in the mix, currently sitting at 3rd. 

200 IM: Another event that truly could be anyone’s race is the 200 IM. Cal Baptist’s Robby Moseley is currently the fastest, but is trailed by three UNLV athletes who are not even half a second behind. Panos Bolanos rounds out the UNLV group at 4th overall, but is the defending champion in the event and could be one to keep an eye on. 

200 Freestyle: All eyes in this event are on Air Force senior Wen Zhang. Zhang clocked a 1:31.99 at the Art Adamson Invitational in November, making him the 5th-fastest in the country so far this year. He leads the conference by about three seconds, meaning his biggest competition is the clock and what time he can put up heading into March.

SwimSwam Picks


  1. Northern Arizona
  2. Grand Canyon
  3. Northern Colorado

Northern Arizona is poised to win their 10th straight title, largely led by Casey Craffey and Elsa Musselman, who are projected to be double-event winners for the Lumberjacks. NAU also boasts a strong dive squad that will likely put multiple athletes in the A-finals. 

Grand Canyon is the most likely to challenge NAU for the team title. Emily Muteti and Maria Brunlehner are potential multiple-event winners, but the depth doesn’t look like it’s there to overtake NAU. 


  1. UNLV
  2. Grand Canyon
  3. Air Force

UNLV is in good position to claim their third-straight WAC title after a dominating performance last year. They currently have at least two athletes seeded to make the A-final in almost every event. Panos Bolanos is positioned to sweep the backstroke races, and are projected to win 4 of the 5 relays contested.

Leave a Reply

Notify of

1 Comment
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
be fr
9 months ago

petition for nau to switch to the mountain west?