ST. PETERS, Mo. -- Azusa Pacific took a strong second-place position after the opening event of this week’s NAIA Women’s Swimming & Diving National Championships, placing its 2 divers in the top 4 finalists of the 1-meter diving event for 31 points on the opening day of the national championship event.
Sophomore Elizabeth Dotson posted her second straight All-American performance in the event, edging out fellow sophomore teammate Kassandra Duncan for third place in the finals. Dotson scored 211.40 points, just 4 points ahead of Duncan’s 207.30 score that netted a fourth-place finish out of 8 finalists.
The Golden State Athletic Conference produced the top 7 in the event, with Concordia’s Christine Runkle scoring 259.70 to defend her individual title and California Baptist’s Jamie Flynn placing second with a score of 247.05.
Last year, Dotson took second place in the championship meet’s opening event, edging Duncan, the third-place finisher, by less than 2 points in the event. The 33 points that finish was worth in the team standings helped boost Azusa Pacific to sixth place overall, just 7 points away from a top-5 finish.
The 31st Annual NAIA Women’s Swimming & Diving National Championships resumes with 5 swimming events on Thursday, March 3, with another 14 events taking place over the final 2 days of the meet that concludes Saturday, March 5. The top 3 finishers in each finals event earn NAIA All-American status, and the top 16 earn points towards the team standings.
Azusa Pacific has qualifiers in every event of the meet, and Thursday’s action is highlighted by senior Kaylen Hewko, who will try to defend her NAIA title in the 500-yard freestyle, 1 of 3 individual NAIA championships she claimed at last year’s meet.
The Cougars finished sixth a year ago in both of Thursday’s relay events, the 200-yard medley relay and the 800-yard freestyle relay, and they have posted top-10 qualifying times for both events this year. In addition to the 2 relays and Hewko’s 500 free title defense, the finals for the 200-yard individual medley and 50-yard freestyle events will also take place Thursday evening.
Preliminary heats begin at 10 a.m. Central time, with finals set to start at 6 p.m. Central. Live event results can be found at http://naia.cstv.com/livestats/m-swim/index.htm, and full championship information is available at naia.org.