Virva Wins 4th 50 Free; Exciting Team Races on Day 2 at WAC Champs

Western Athletic Conference (WAC) – Men and Women

  • Wednesday, February 24 – Saturday, February 27, 2016
  • CRWC Natatorium, Houston, TX (Central Time Zone)
  • Defending Champion: UNLV men (2x) & Northern Arizona women (2x) (results)
  • Live results:
  • Live video: Available here
  • Championship Central

Day One results │ Day Two results

The second day of competition at the Western Athletic Conference Championships in Houston, Texas was full of intrigue and excitement, as big hits and big misses put the ladder positions in play. While Northern Arizona pulled further ahead on the women’s side, New Mexico State blew past Bakersfield and Idaho moved up to challenge for third. The men’s standings didn’t change much, although the battle among Air Force, Grand Canyon, Wyoming and Las Vegas intensified, and North Dakota overtook Bakersfield.

500 Yard Freestyle

  1. Kendall Brown, NAU, 4:50.88
  2. Claire Hammond, NAU, 4:51.33
  3. Picabo Bender, NMSU, 4:53.56

The excitement began with the first championship final, as the middle four lanes were together for much of the race before Northern Arizona teammates Kendall Brown and Claire Hammond broke away from the field over the last 200 yards. Hammond led at the 300, the 400, and even at the 450, before Brown outsplit her over the last 50 to win 4:50.88 to 4:51.33. New Mexico’s Picabo Bender prevented a Northern Arizona sweep of the podium, finishing third in 4:53.56 ahead of NAU’s Madi Lydig.

  1. Kevin Jackson, AFA, 4:18.84
  2. Jack Herron, Wyoming, 4:22.28
  3. Andrew Faciszewski, AFA, 4:22.30

Air Force senior Kevin Jackson won the men’s 500 free with a commanding 4:18.84, three body lengths ahead of the field and 2.5 seconds faster than his runner-up performance from 2015. Wyoming freshman Jack Herron and Air Force junior Andrew Faciszewski gave the crowd a thrill as they traded leads several times and in their battle for second. Faciszewski led through the 300, when Herron took over. Herron had put some distance between them at the 450 but Faciszewski never gave up; he sprinted to the end and just missed the silver medal by 2/100, getting out-touched by Herron, 4:22.28 to 4:22.30.

200 Yard Individual Medley

  1. Dorottya Lennert, NMSU, 2:01.66
  2. Iryna Glavnyk, GCU, 2:01.76
  3. Paola Hernandez, CSUB, 2:02.19

New Mexico State senior Dorottya Lennert, who finished sixth in this race a year ago, won a very close 200 IM with 2:01.66. Lennert split the race almost identically with 2015 runner-up Iryna Glavnyk of Grand Canyon: Lennert led after the fly, Glavnyk after the back, and Lennert after the breast. The two sprinted for home and Lennert got the touch by 10/100 with 2:01.66 to Glavnyk’s 2:01.76. Bakersfield’s Paola Hernandez came in at 2:02.19 for third.

  1. Iegor Lytvenok, GCU, 1:44.91
  2. Mark Nikolaev, GCU, 1:45.47
  3. Michael Barnosky, AFA, 1:46.54

Defending champion Iegor Kytvenok of Grand Canyon repeated his 2015 title in the 200 IM with a 1:44.91, just off the meet and conference record of 1:44.29 he set last year. This time around he had a bit more competition, though, as freshman teammate Mark Nikolaev challenged him over the first 100 before Lytvenok broke away to win over the second half. Nikolaev finished second in 1:45.47, while Air Force senior Michael Barnosky took third in 1:46.54.

50 Yard Freestyle

  1. Jovanna Koens, GCU, 22.92
  2. Ila Hughes, NAU, 23.14
  3. Roni Houck, NAU, 23.20

Grand Canyon junior Jovanna Koens improved on her prelims time of 23.02 and was the only sub-23 in the field when she won the women’s 50 free in 22.92. Northern Arizona freshman Ila Hughes took second in 23.14, just ahead of teammate Roni Houck (23.20). Houck, a sophomore, finished third last year, as well.

  1. Dillon Virva, UNLV, 19.26
  2. Mazen El Kamash, GCU, 19.71
  3. Noah Lucas, UND, 19.93

University of Nevada, Las Vegas senior Dillon Virva successfully completed his sweep of the 50 free with his fourth consecutive WAC title in the event. He won this year in 19.26, just off his 2014 meet and conference record of 19.11 but still a half body length in front of Grand Canyon junior Mazen El Kamash (19.71) and North Dakota junior Noah Lucas (19.93).


  1. Alexa Geiger, NAU, 322.05
  2. Savanna Meadows, UNC, 315.00
  3. Taylor Walsh, UNC, 276.05

In women’s 3-meter diving, Northern Arizona junior Alexa Geiger avenged her 2015 third-place finish with a narrow win with 322.05 points. University of Northern Colorado junior Savanna Meadows placed second with 315 points, an improvement over her fifth from 2015. Her teammate Taylor Walsh rounded out the podium with a score of 276.05.

  1. Nathanael Zillweger, AFA, 357.05
  2. Austin Rettinghouse, Wyoming, 316.75
  3. Michael Bidak, Grand Canyon, 312.85

Air Force senior Nathanael Zillweger improved on his own WAC Championship record, set last year with 338.40 points, winning the 1-meter boards with a score of 357.05. Wyoming sophomore Austin Rettinghouse was runner-up with 316.75, coming in just ahead of Grand Canyon’s Michael Bidak (312.85).

200 Yard Freestyle Relay

  1. NAU, 1:31.58
  2. CSUB, 1:33.02
  3. UND, 1:33.60

In the women’s 200 free relay, Northern Arizona (1:31.58) dominated from state to finish with Alina Staffeldt (23.27), Houck (22.97), Hayley Edmond (22.87), and Hughes (22.47). Bakersfield picked up the silver with 1:33.02, ahead of University of North Dakota’s 1:33.60.

  1. UNLV, 1:18.25
  2. GCU, 1:18.34,
  3. AFA, 1:20.06

University of Nevada, Las Vegas won the men’s 200 free relay by 9/100, thanks in part to a Virva lead-off of 19.37. He was followed by Kasey Foley (19.64), Dylan Tarazona (19.87), and Samuel Lameynardie (19.37). UNLV touched in 1:18.25, just ahead of Grand Canyon’s 1:18.34 (from El Kamash, Illya Glazunov, Lytvenok, and Jacob Lambros). Air Force went 1:20.06 for third.

Women’s Standings

  1. Northern Arizona University 379.5
  2. New Mexico State University 196
  3. C S U Bakersfield 189
  4. Idaho, University of 175
  5. Northern Colorado 149
  6. The University of North Dakota 138
  7. Grand Canyon University 126
  8. Seattle University 108.5

Men’s Standings

  1. U.S. Air Force Academy 282
  2. Grand Canyon University 276
  3. Wyoming, University of 250
  4. University of Nevada, Las Vegas 223
  5. The University of North Dakota 161
  6. C S U Bakersfield 151
  7. Seattle University 74








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Bob Roe

FYI. Your picture is not of Dillon Virva.

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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