LA VERNE, Calif. -- A change venue did not have an effect on Azusa Pacific in the third meet of the season, a 3-way competition between the Cougars, Biola and La Verne.
Originally scheduled as a home meet for Azusa Pacific, the site was changed to Las Flores Pool in La Verne because of a fire at the Cougars’ home pool late in the week. The Cougars took the schedule alteration in stride. Three more Cougars punched their tickets to the NAIA Championship Meet, 11 more events were added to Azusa Pacific national meet dockets, and more than 30 season-best times were recorded.
“We learned a lot today,” said Azusa Pacific Head Coach Robert Fleming. “We had some people do different events, and they did well, plus additional people qualified for the national meet.”
For the first time this season Azusa Pacific competed in the grueling 400 individual medley and despite it being the initial effort of the campaign, all 4 Cougars who swam qualified for the NAIAs. Sophomore Simone Garcia led the performance with a 4:53.33. Sophomore Malerie Morgan followed with a 4:57.00 while Amy Kaczmarski (5:06.57) and Malia Garcia (5:10.27) met their first NAIA qualifying mark in the race as well.
Junior Sarah Burney assured her spot for the NAIA meet with a 2:37.33 in the 200-yard breaststroke. As expected, senior Karla Hill qualified in the 1650-yard freestyle, finishing second with a (19:11.78).
Azusa Pacific won 11 of the 15 events staged, including both diving competitions in which sophomore Liz Dotson won the 1- (201.35) and 3-meter (197.10) competition.
Freshman Quinn Robertson won the freestyle sprints, taking the 50- (25.49) and 100-yard (55.53) competitions. All-American Kaylen Hewko was the master of the intermediate distances, winning the 200- (2:03.47) and 500-yard (5:28.39) freestyles while meeting the NAIA qualifying standards in both events.
The Cougars also won a pair of relays, taking the 200-yard freestyle in which Hewko anchored Azusa Pacific to an NAIA-qualifying 1:43.50. Sophomore Victoria Gibb then anchored the Cougars to an NAIA-qualifying effort of 1:56.56 in the 200-yard medley.
Azusa Pacific takes a week off before returning to the pool at the Bay Area Invitational hosted by Mills College in Oakland.