Idaho Vandals Outswim Bears on Senior Night



  • Idaho: 174
  • Northern Colorado: 126


MOSCOW, Idaho Idaho women’s swimming and diving shook off the rust Friday, earning a 174-126 victory over Northern Colorado in the Vandals’ first competition since November.  Idaho honored its eight seniors prior to the meet.

“Senior day and the range of motions stood out the most,” said head coach Mark Sowa. “Honoring the seniors tonight might have hyped up the girls a little too much, but it was okay it was great to do that for them.”

The Vandal divers were strong, taking the top four spots on three-meter, and top three on one-meter, staking the Vandals to a big advantage. Senior Hailey Kessler won both springboard events, setting career bests in each.

“The senior divers were awesome,” said Sowa. “We don’t get to train the swimmers and divers together much, but they are tremendous. Our strength coach always says that they are some of the hardest-working athletes on campus”

Senior Cara Jernigan set the tone for the swimmers in the first race. Jernigan’s 28.81 breaststroke leg on the 200-yard medley relay propelled the Vandals to victory. Jernigan carried the momentum into her individual races, claiming titles in both the 100- and 200-yard breastroke events. She won the 100 by more than a second and a half, and the 200 by nearly three seconds.

“Cara was very excited to swim today,” said Sowa. “And she was really good, especially her underwaters. I was excited about the breaststrokers as a whole. Cara really took those girls under her wings.”

Sophomore Leah Fisk was victorious in the 100- and 200-yard freestyle races, while taking runner-up honors in the 500. However, Fisk saved her best performance for last. With the Vandals looking to secure the team victory, Fisk dove in as the anchor leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay with her squad trailing by 1.48 seconds. She tore through the water for a 52.37 finishing leg and a decisive victory for the Vandals.

“Leah is a good swimmer and on that relay she really was the hammer,” said Sowa. “I also know she has room to grow in the 500 and the potential to make that a great race for her.”

Northern Colorado stayed on the Vandals’ heels with six event wins, including three from Ioanna Sacha. Sacha was victorious in the 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke and 200 individual medley.

Idaho will be back in action Saturday against Oregon State. Diving will begin at 8:30 a.m., while swimming events are set to start at 11 a.m. at the U of I Swim Center. The Vandals will close the regular season February 10, against College of Idaho, before taking off for the WAC Championships at the end of the month.

“I was telling the team that I think they will be much better tomorrow,” said Sowa. “Some of them were second guessing what they were doing in the middle of some of the races today. But they’re an experienced group, and they will be really good in about a month.”


MOSCOW, Idaho Northern Colorado took first place in seven individual events, but it wasn’t quite enough to top WAC rival Idaho on Friday night as the Bears fell 174-126.

Leading the way for Northern Colorado was freshman Ioanna Sacha who was a triple-winner as she turned in first place performances in the 100 back by touching in 56.74, 200 back finishing in 2:01.23 and the 200 IM with a time of 2:05.61. Fellow freshman Holli Johnson dominated the distance events scoring first place finishes in the 1000 free in 10:28.90 and 500 free in 5:07.56.

Freshman Petra Kis turned in a strong performance with a first place in the 200 fly (2:06.45), added a second place in the 200 IM (2:10.12) and a third place in the 200 breast (2:23.45). Sophomore Emily Hamel earned the top spot in the 50 free as she sprinted ahead of the field in a time of 24.29.

Northern Colorado suffered a pair of narrow second place finishes in the relays. The Bears finished just .59 seconds from the top spot in the 200 medley relay and .36 seconds shy of first in the 400 free relay.

In the 3-meter diving competition Allyson Wood was fifth and Sarah Parshall sixth, but both put forth season best performances. Wood scored a 258.22 and Parshall a 227.32. Wood and Parshall would again turn in their top performances of the season in the 1-meter competition. Wood would finish fourth by scoring 247.80 and Parshall was seventh with a score of 216.70.

In Their Words
Lisa EbelingHead Coach
“I’m extremely happy with the way our team raced tonight. We took our swims out with confidence and fought hard for every point. Last year we lost to Idaho by over 100 points, so this was a big step forward for us. We look better every time we step up on the blocks, so I’m excited to see what we will do at the WAC Championship in a few short weeks!”

What’s Ahead?
The Bears have a quick turn around as they will be back in the pool Saturday afternoon at CSU-Pueblo at 3 p.m. It will be their final tune up before the WAC championships in Houston which begin on February 21.

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About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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