Women’s WAC Champs Day 2: NAU Leads Tight Team Race, Earns 4 A Finalists in 500

2021 Western Athletic Conference Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships

Team Scores (Through Day 2)

  1. Northern Arizona University 192
  2. Grand Canyon University – 185
  3. Northern Colorado, University – 182
  4. New Mexico State University – 170
  5. California Baptist University – 149
  6. Idaho, University of – 116
  7. Dixie State University – 92
  8. Seattle University – 87

Northern Arizona has taken the lead to themselves following the 2nd day of competition, though the team standings remain very tight, with just 22 points between NAU in 1st and New Mexico State in 4th.

Northern Arizona had their biggest event of the meet right off the bat, having 4 A finalists in the 500 free, including the event winner. Freshman Francesca Criscione won the event with a 4:54.09, pulling away from the field in the middle of the race to get her hand on the wall first by 1.6 seconds. Nau also picked up a 3rd-place finish in the race, with fellow freshman Maddy Rey finishing in 4:55.73. Another freshman teammate, Annie Carlton, finished 5th in 4:57.49, and junior Astrid Villeda finished 8th in 5:03.48. Criscione, Rey, and Carlton were all members of NAU’s winning 800 free relay last night.

Cal Baptist picked up a win in the 200 IM, where junior Isabella Rhodes got her hand on the wall first in a tight race with Northern Colorado’s Petra Kis and Paula Nunez. The swimmers got out to nearly identical starts, with Rhodes leading in 26.57, followed by Nunez (26.66), and Kis (26.83). Backstroke opened things up a bit, as Rhodes and Nunez split 30.32 and 30.40 respectively, but Kis fell back, splitting 32.23. Kis then made most of that ground up on the back half of the race, splitting 36.28 on breast and 28.38 on free, while Rhodes was 37.59/29.01, and Nunez was 37.46/29.25. Rhodes ultimately won the race with a 2:03.49, followed by Kis in 2:03.72, and Nunez in 2:03.77.

After narrowly missing out on the top of the podium with two swimmers in the IM, Northern Colorado picked up a win in the next event, the 50 free. Madelyn Moore took the A final of the 50 with a 22.53, touching exactly a quarter of a second ahead of runner-up Claire Banic (Grand Canyon). Moore’s time was just .23 seconds off the championship record of 22.30.

Grand Canyon picked up a win in the only relay of the day, the 200 free relay. The front half of the race helped establish GCU in great position heading into last half of the race. Emily Muteti led the squad off in 22.87, and was followed by Kaitlynn Carr in 22.98 on the 2nd 50, then Briana Rittenbach  split 23.32 on the 3rd 50, and Claire Banic anchored in 22.38, which was the fastest split in the field. Grand Canyon finished the race with a final time of 1:31.55.

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3 years ago

We see you Claire!