WAC Conference Fan Guide: GCU Women Projected to Overthrow 8x Champs NAU 

2022 WAC Swimming and Diving Championships

Schedule

Wednesday

  • Women’s one-meter diving
  • Men’s three-meter diving
  • 200 medley relay
  • 800 free relay

Thursday

  • 200 free relay
  • Men’s one-meter diving
  • 500 free
  • 200 IM
  • 50 free
  • Women’s three-meter diving

Friday

  • 400 IM
  • 100 fly
  • 200 free
  • 100 breast
  • 100 back
  • Men’s platform diving
  • 400 medley relay

Saturday

  • Women’s platform diving
  • 1650 free
  • 200 back
  • 100 free
  • 200 breast
  • 200 fly
  • Men’s platform diving
  • 400 free relay

On the Lookout (Stars and Showdown Races)

Women

The sprint freestyle events were dominated by Northern Colorado, NMSU, and GCU in 2021 and they look to be going that way again. UNC senior Madelyn Moore will defend both her championship titles in the 50 and 100 free.

NMSU and GCU each had three swimmers in the 100 free ‘A’ final, racking up a serious amount of points. GCU redshirt senior Emily Muteti was the only other finalist to break 50.00 and could threaten Moore’s title this season alongside her freshman teammate Maria Brunlehner.

Muteti has her own title to defend; she was untouchable in the 100 fly, winning by .98 in 2021. 

The 100 breast is anyone’s game this season – NAU’s Hope Williams, the defending champion in the 100 breast and 200 breast, graduated last year and is leaving the door open for a new champion. DSU took 2nd through 4th place in the 100, led by Haley Altman (who is not on the roster this year.) 

With defending 200 fly champion Maddie Seidl of NAU graduated, we can look forward to a rematch of UNC sophomore Payton Irwin and NAU’s Rey who tied for 2nd. GCU freshman Aleksandra Wegrzynowska has the fastest season-best time with a 2:01.14.

The 400 IM will be one to watch – it took a 4:21 to win in 2021 but CBU graduate student Patricia Van Law has already posted a 4:17.71 this season as the only swimmer to crack the 4:20 mark. UNC junior Paula Núñez won 400 IM after close race with Rey and Criscione (2nd and 3rd)

NAU is looking to follow up their commanding lead in diving last season where sophomore diver Victoria Knapp dominated one-meter and three-meter as a freshman in 2021. Her junior teammate Emily Luberto won the platform event with a lead of 10 points over the field.

Men

UNLV men are a powerhouse in distance races. They swept the 500 free (1st through 5th place) last season in a move spearheaded by the now-graduated Vuk Celic. Now junior Chris Mykkannen leads the charge. In the 1650, UNLV claimed 1st through 4th place last season, also led by Celic, followed by junior Cameron Castro and Mykkanen.

Air Force’s Isaac Gwin (who won gold in the 200 IM, 100 free, and 100 back last season) is not on their roster this year,  leaving an opening for UNLV junior Panos Bolanos who took 2nd in the 100 back and won the 200 back with a 2 second lead over the field.

Bolanos’ season-best 200 fly time (1:45.74) is the fastest in the conference this season alongside his season-best 100 and 200 back times. 

Air Force junior Wen Zhang might battle UNLV’s Mykkanen in the 200 free (they went 1-2 in 2021). Zhang also has a shot to score points in the 100 free; he placed 2nd last season.

UNLV senior Sam Willstrop’s biggest competition in defending his 100 breast title is his freshman teammate Adnan Beji who posted a 52.98 to rival his season-best of 52.74. They’re the fastest in the conference by more than one-third of a second.

In diving, CBU’s Evan Honer is the defending champion in the men’s three-meter, one-meter, and platform events. He dominated the one-meter, winning by 45 points, while he narrowly won platform by 6 points. His closest competition was current Air Force senior Cole Armagost.

Swimulator Results – Women

  1. Grand Canyon – 600.5
  2. Northern Arizona – 587.5
  3. New Mexico St – 513.5
  4. Northern Colorado – 511.5
  5. Cal Baptist – 348.5
  6. Idaho – 255.5
  7. Dixie State – 221
  8. Seattle U (W) – 111

SwimSwam Picks – Women

  1. Grand Canyon 
  2. Northern Arizona 
  3. New Mexico St 
  4. Northern Colorado 
  5. Cal Baptist 
  6. Idaho 
  7. Dixie State 
  8. Seattle U (W)

Sophomore Raphaela Nakashima and freshman Maria Brunlehner are projected to score the most points (54 each) for Grand Canyon. Brunlehner swims sprint freestyle and her season-best time projects to place 2nd in the 100 free, win the 200 IM while Nakashima looks to win the 100 and 200 breaststroke.

Freshman Helena Robla-Alvarez is projected to score the most points for NAU (56). Season-best is projected to win the 500, place 3rd in the 1650,

It’s set up to be a tight race for third in team points with NMSU and UNC separated by 2 points on Swimulator.

Swimulator Results – Men

  1. UNLV – 878.5
  2. Grand Canyon – 612
  3. Air Force – 513.5
  4. Cal Baptist – 467
  5. Wyoming – 334
  6. Seattle U (W) – 134

SwimSwam Picks – Men

  1. UNLV 
  2. Grand Canyon 
  3. Air Force 
  4. Cal Baptist 
  5. Wyoming 
  6. Seattle U (W)

Panos Bolanos is projected to score the most points for UNLV (57). His season-best times predict he will place 2nd in the 200 fly, and win the 100 and 200 back.

Jack Armstrong’s season-best times rank him first in the 50 and 100 free and third in the 100 fly, projecting him to score the most points for Grand Canyon (56). 

On paper, the men’s team scores seem to be more decided than the women’s with Cal Baptist in 4th place and trailing Air Force by less than 50 points.

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thezwimmer
7 months ago

What conference does CSU bakersfield compete in these days? I think they used to be in the WAC for all sports but left recently for (non-swimming) Big West

Coach
Reply to  thezwimmer
7 months ago

MPSF

About Annika Johnson

Annika Johnson

Annika came into the sport competitively at age eight, following in the footsteps of her twin sister and older brother. The sibling rivalry was further fueled when all three began focusing on distance freestyle, forcing the family to buy two lap counters. Annika is a three-time Futures finalist in the 200 …

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