Omaha Brings Home Victory at Omaha Invite

Omaha swimming and diving earned a victory in their home pool this weekend. 2 school records were broken on the final night to lead the team to victory over 2nd place Northern Colorado and 3rd place Nebraska-Kearney.


OMAHA, Neb. – The Omaha swimming & diving team made more history Saturday at the Mutual of Omaha Invite, breaking two additional school records on the way to a weekend victory with 1,398 total team points.

The 200 medley relay team of senior Natalie Renshaw, juniors Meredith Ricks, Tiril Jensen and Morgan Stepp started the evening with a bang in the first event, knocking off a two-year-old school record (1:44.23) in the event with a new time of 1:43.86

Stepp continued her exceptional weekend in the pool, adding her name to the record books for the second consecutive night. The Parker, Colo., native sprinted to a winning time of 2:04.68 in the 200 IM and broke a record set in 2006 by Ashley Renshaw, the older sister of current Maverick Natalie Renshaw. Stepp also triumphed in the 200 breast, posting a season-low time of 2:19.62.

Jensen, from Lillesand, Norway, finished as runner-up in the 200 breast, clocking in a mark of 2:24.86.

Renshaw then used a strong performance in the 100 free to notch the third-fastest time in school history in the event at 50.90. Senior Hannah Johnson swam to a second-place finish in 53.25, just behind Renshaw.

Omaha returns to the pool Friday, Jan. 15 for the I-80 rivalry when in-state foe Nebraska comes to town. The meet is slated to begin at 6 p.m. from HPER Pool.

Final Standings – Women Only
1. Omaha (1,398)
2. Northern Colorado (794)
3. Nebraska-Kearney (109)
4. Morningside College (86)
5. College of Saint Mary (77)
6. Colorado Swim Club (66)
7. Iowa Central CC (55)

Northern Colorado:

OMAHA, Neb. – The Northern Colorado Bears closed out its two-day competition at the Omaha Invite on Saturday, finishing second overall out of seven schools, with 794 points.

“We had a better night tonight [Saturday],” head coach Kelly McClanahan said. “Girls swam better than they did this morning, and we seemed to fight more for our races.  After this weekend, I am still hoping this team finds a way to dig down and find a little more grit to get through the season, though.  We are going to have to give more at conference than what we did the past two days.”

On the first day of competition, the Bears had two first place finishers, three second place finishers, and three third place finishers, and finished second overall with 301 team points.

To kick off the races, the Northern Colorado 200 yard freestyle relay team of Sydney Kovar, Valeria Mihhailova, Kim Kuni, and Karlie O’Connell would finish second overall with a combined finals time of 1:37.76, .04 seconds faster than their prelims run.

Laura Ramirez earned third place in the 400 yard IM with a time of 4:38.30. Barrett andLexi Peterson picked up season best times in the event, finishing at 4.38.62 and 4.44.35, respectively.

Courtney Chrzas also earned a third place finish, touching the wall at 1:07.06 in her finals race in the 100 breast. Chrzas also picked up a season best time in the 50 free with a prelims time of 26.03.

In the 50 free, Mihhailova landed another Bear third-placement, finishing at 24.52. Her 2:08.07 prelims time in the 200 back is also her new season-best time in the event.

Brianna Salanitro broke even at 2:06.00 in the 200 back, picking up a second place overall finish and a new season best time in the event.

“Bri has led the charge for the team on Friday.  She had an excellent morning and even better night.  The more she learns how to swim her races the better she gets.”

Ramirez earned one of the two first-place finishes for the Bears on the day, landing a time of 56.88 in her finals race in the 100 yard butterfly. This run also serves as her new season best in the event.

O’Connell’s 50 free prelims time will replace her season best, too, at 24.71. She set another season best in the 100 fly with her prelims time of 1:00.04.

“Laura, Lexi, Kimura and Carleigh redeemed themselves in the 400 IM tonight. Laura and Kim had great 100 fly races, sitting right at what they did at Houston.”

Mihhailova, Chrzas, Ramirez, and O’Connell’s 400 medley relay team notched a second place finish in the finals, besting their prelims time by five seconds even at 3:55.64.

In the 1650 free, Sydney Kovar picked up first place with a time of 17:42.26 in the finals, and Jenny Brown earned third with a finals time of 17:47.57.

Additionally, Sydney Kimura set a season best time in the event, finishing in the finals at 18:12.94.

The divers competed on the 3M on Friday, with Taylor Walsh taking first with a score of 253.40 in the finals.

“Friday was a really good day overall,” diving coach Chelsea Popplewell said. “Taylor was able to pull out a win with very close to her season best – about 7 points off. Haley is battling some adversity right now but still fought tough and ended up fifth. The girls are looking pretty good for this time of the year and I think the consistency is really starting to kick in.”

Saturday was even more successful for the swimmers with three first placers, five second placers, and three third placers. The Bears managed to tack on 483 points on the day as well.

In the 200 yard medley relay, Mihhailova, Chrzas, Ramirez, and Kuni earned a time of 1:48.75 to finish second in the event.

Ramirez would take second in the 200 IM with a time of 2:10.95, a second faster than her prelims run. Her 200 fly finals time of 2:06.29 would earn her a first place finish as well.

“I am very proud of how Laura has been swimming,” McClanahan said. “She’s really pushed past some adversity to make success happen for herself.”

Carleigh Barrett would finish her finals race of the 500 free six seconds faster than her prelims time, at 5:06.36. Barrett picked up a season best in the 200 fly as well, finishing less than a second behind Ramirez at 2:06.81.

Sydney Kovar came in less than a second behind Barrett in the 500 free for a second place finish.

Mihhailova picked up another first place finish for UNC in the 100 back, stopping the clock in the finals at 57.84. Salanitro took third, touching the wall at 59.56 in the event.

Chrzas managed third in the 200 back after posting a time of 2:27.07 in the finals.

In the 100 free, O’Connell set a season best with a 53.42 time in the finals, also for a third place finish in the event.

Jenny Brown set a season best in the 100 free as well after finishing at 55.85 in the prelims.

To close out the Invitational, Kovar, Mihhailova, O’Connell, and Kuni picked up second place in the 400 yard freestyle relay, finishing the finals seven seconds faster than they did in the prelims, touching the wall at 3:34.18. The time is this team-of-four’s best on the season so far.

“Laura, Karlie and Bri had a great meet and put up some season best times this weekend; Karlie in all her events.  Our 400 free was also a season best time and we had some great splits.”

The second day proved successful for the Bear divers as well, competing on the 1M and taking both first and second place (Schneider and Walsh, respectively). Schneider set a season best of 229.15, while Walsh earned a score of 223.95.

“A two-day meet is always tiring,” Popplewell added, “but the girls really rallied and pulled out some really good dives. Haley earned her first collegiate win today along with the highest scoring dive of the meet. I think that will really be a confidence boost for her going forward. Taylor had four dives that were very consistent and were very good dives. Overall this weekend went really, really well. I’m really proud of how they competed both days and it showed. Winter training will be a time to rest up a little and get healthy and then get right back to work.”

The Invitational concludes the 2015 portion of the team’s schedule, but they’ll return to the pool on Jan. 15-16 when they travel to Air Force for a two-day quad-dual against Air Force, South Dakota, and Seattle.

For more information on the Bears this season, check out, visit their official Facebook page, and follow them on Twitter at @UNCOSwim_Dive.


Kearney, Neb. – The Nebraska-Kearney Aqualopers scored 109 points to place third at the annual Mutual of Omaha Invitational this weekend at Nebraska-Omaha.

The host and Division I Mavericks tallied 1,398 points to easily win with Northern Colorado (794) second in a seven-team race. UNK beat, among others, Morningside College and the College of St. Mary.

In individual events, UNK tallied 34 points in the 1,000 free as Wyoming freshman Brianda Johnson was fourth (11:53.09) and Kansas freshman Stephanie Slayden fifth (12:10.10). Slayden also was 10th in the 1,650 free (20:13.13), scoring seven more team points.

Next, Omaha freshman Katy Anielak was 14th in the 200 butterfly (3:07.07) with Kansas senior Zhu Zhu Lundin Daniels scoring in both the 50 free (12th/26.32) and 100 fly (16th/1:04.42).
Daniels also swam anchor on the 400 free relay team that came in third (3:49.68) and was the third leg for the fifth place 200 free foursome (1:44.67).

Finally, junior diver Nicki DeVries (Long Beach, Calif.) scored 23 team points, finishing sixth at three meters (160.80).

UNK is at CSM next Saturday.

Morningside College:

Michael Andrlik, a senior from Ralston, Neb., had Morningside College’s top individual finish during Saturday’s action at the Mutual of Omaha Invitational swimming meet in Omaha, Neb.

Andrilik placed third in the men’s 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:28.05. The Mustangs also had a fifth place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:31.93 by George Weiss, a freshman from Council Bluffs, Iowa.

The Mustangs had fourth place finishes from Tyler Halligan, a junior from North Platte, Neb., with a time of 56.04 seconds in the men’s 100-yard backstroke; Evan Persson, a junior from Blair, Neb., with a time of 49.38 in the men’s 100-yard freestyle; and Shigeru Tamura, a sophomore from Kobe City, Japan, with a time of 2:16.74 in the men’s 200-yard butterfly.


College of Saint Mary:

OMAHA, Neb. – Swimmer Sage Porter (FR/Omaha, NE) broke the College of Saint Mary school record in the 1,000-yard freestyle Saturday with a time of 11:53.04 to earn second place in the event at the Mutual of Omaha Invite. The Flames took fifth place out of seven teams in the invitation hosted by University of Nebraska Omaha.

UNO won the meet with 1,398 points. Northern Colorado was second with 794. University of Nebraska-Kearney placed third with 109 points, Morningside College was fourth with 86, CSM had 77 points for fifth, University of Colorado Boulder came in sixth place with 66 points and Iowa Central Community College finished seventh with 55 team points.

“The highlight was Sage in the 1,000 freestyle,” CSM Coach Ben Porter said. “Her second place was the team’s highest finish of the meet and the time broke the school record. It was definitely the swim of the day.”

Porter also mentioned a strong swim by Regina LeMense (FR/Ralston, NE) in the 200 breaststroke where she lowered her own school record with a time of 2:40.66 to finish 12th place.

The other solid finish for the Flames came from 200 medley relay team of Sidney Drew(SO/Lee’s Summit, MO), LeMense, Colleen Bernal (JR/Omaha, NE) and Hannah Pauley(JR/Columbus, NE) in 1:56.59 for third place.

“At several points in the meet we were as high as third place overall,” Porter said. “It was a great weekend.”

CSM returns to action Dec. 12 in its only home meet of the season – a 6 p.m. contest vs. University of Nebraska-Kearney.

Swimming news courtesy of Omaha, Northern Colorado, Nebreask-Kearney, Morningside, and College of Saint Mary Swimming & Diving.

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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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