DENVER – Grand Canyon’s Mark Nikolaev and UNLV’s Lucas James have been named Western Athletic Conference Swimmer and Diver of the week, respectively, for Jan. 25-31.
Nikolaev, a freshman from Seltso, Russia (Seltsovkaya) won 4 individual events and was on 3 winning relays while competing against #25 Notre Dame, Iowa, and Missouri State. Mark set two individual Notre Dame pool records in the 100 Back and 100 Fly and was on three relays that set pool records (200 Medley Relay, 400 Medley Relay, and 400 Free Relay). In addition, Mark’s 50 Back relay lead off and 100 back times were new GCU team records.
James, a senior from El Cajon, Calif. (Valhalla HS) went 1st place on both boards, 1 Meter and 3 Meter, in the meet against Wyoming. He earned NCAA Zone qualifying scores on both boards and set a Personal record on 1 meter – 333.40, which also becomes the new school record as well.
Other swimmer nominees: North Dakota’s Aaron Chanas-LaRue decided to close out his home career with a pair of event victories. First, the senior swam to a win in the 200-yard freestyle (1:40.29) by out-touching fellow teammate Noah Lucas who finished second (1:45.36). Later, Chanas-LaRue won the 500-yard freestyle (4:41.70) by nine seconds over the second-place finisher from USD. Seattle U’s Jack Baldoni helped Seattle University win its final dual meet of the season against Simon Fraser, a team to which the Redhawks had lost earlier this year. First, Baldoni posted the fastest 50 fly leg of the 200 medley relay at 21.79 seconds, playing a role in breaking one pool record as the Redhawks won that event in 1:31.34. Next, he won the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:51.38, by far the team’s best time of the season in the event. He then broke the pool record in the 100 butterfly with a time of 48.96 seconds. Wyoming’s Gabe Rooker had a solid meet in helping Wyoming defeat host team UNLV. He had the top time in the 100 and 200 breast.
Other diver nominees: Grand Canyon’s Mike Bidak helped the Lopes beat UNLV with scores of 335.20 and 300.60 on the 3M. North Dakota’s Clayton Metcalf led the UND men with a pair of wins on the 1-meter (283.15) and 3-meter (296.00) dives. Metcalf, who has already qualifed for the NCAA Zone Diving, continued his solid-performance in the second half of the season.Wyoming’s Austin Rettinghouse had a score of 320.85 on way to a second-place finish in the 3-mtr diving event and also took second place on the 1-mtr event to help UW defeat UNLV.