UNLV Begins Title Defense Strongly, But Divers Dictate Day 1 Scores at WAC Championships

As is fairly typical on day 1 of college conference championship meets, the first day of the 2015 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Championships saw final scores driven by diving.

2015 WAC Men’s & Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships

Women’s Meet

While the divers most heavily influenced the scoring load, the Grand Canyon women started the session with a statement 1:40.50 in the 200 yard medley relay. The team of Iryna GlasnykVangelina DragsnovaRebecca Coan, and Hannah Kastigar combined for the title, beating out New Mexico State’s 1:42.34 and Northern Arizona’s 1:43.48.

That team from Grand Canyon is made entirely of underclassmen: a youth that is imperative to helping keep the program’s reputation high as they undergo a four-year transitory period where they are not eligible to compete at the NCAA Division I Championships.

As dominant as Grand Canyon was in the first sprint relay of the meet, the women of CSU-Bakersfield were equally dominant in the 800 free relay.

The team of Paola HernandezMichaela PaigeKelsey Lange, and Delise Batiza swam to a 7:18.33, beating out Grand Canyon’s runner up 7:23.83 (this time with only freshmen and sophomores on their relay).

Those are the two teams expected to contend for the lion’s share of the swimming points, but that’s only part of the story. The Northern Arizona women just need to remain competitive in swimming, because they have easily the deepest diving group in the conference. Their four scoring women’s divers went 2-3-6-8 in the women’s 1-meter event.

The second-best diving group in the conference, Northern Colorado, came away with the event title, as Savanna Meadows put in a score of 282.10 in finals. Northern Arizona, led by runner-up Chelsea Jackson (whose prelims score was the highest of the day), added 57 points – over half of their day one total – from just the A-final alone.

Team Scores After Day 1:

  1. Northern Colorado – 100
  2. Northern Arizona – 89
  3. Grand Canyon – 74
  4. Bakersfield – 73
  5. Idaho – 72
  6. Seattle – 58
  7. New Mexico State – 55
  8. North Dakota – 38

Men’s Meet

The UNLV men started their conference title defense on a high note, albeit in neither case by a huge margin.

The Rebels won the session-opening 200 medley relay in 1:26.55, with the team of Henrique Machado (21.69), Boris Kulizhnikov (24.92), Dillon Virva (20.49), and Or Sabatier (19.45) combined to just hold off Grand Canyon’s 1:26.86 second-place relay.

UNLV opened up an early lead on the backstroke, and fought back their foes, despite a 19.15 anchor from Grand Canyon’s Illya Glazunov.

Grand Canyon put up another great fight, with another come-from-behind bid on the anchor leg, but once again came up short in the 800 free relay.

UNLV, getting a 1:34.16 leadoff from Tom Paco-Pedroni, swam a 8:28.38 for the win, and UNLV was a 6:28.91 for 2nd.

Grand Canyon was more than 5 seconds behind going into the anchor leg, but sophomore Jacob Lambros just ran out of room, with his 1:35.53 making up all but half-a-second of that deficit.

Air Force took 3rd in 6:29.34.

Once again, it was diving that dictated the day, as Wyoming’s top three all placed in the A-final, including a win from sophomore Jake Rehmeier and a second place finish from freshman Austin Rettinghouse.

Freshman Ryan Russi took 7th in 266.20 for the Cowboys, as they picked up the team lead on the day.

Among the meet’s two best swimming groups, Grand Canyon does have a slight depth edge on UNLV, but the Rebels’ junior James Lucas took 4th, which is good support for his more horizontally-based teammates.

Team Scores After Day 1

  1. Wyoming – 107
  2. Air Force – 103
  3. UNLV – 95
  4. Grand Canyon – 86
  5. Bakersfield – 80
  6. North Dakota – 38
  7. Seattle – 26

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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