LAS VEGAS, Nev.-- Competing in only two of the three days, the NAIA’s No. 4 ranked Azusa Pacific women’s swimming and diving team did just what it set out to do at the UNLV Winter Invitational. The Cougars qualified in multiple NAIA Championship events and posted several personal bests while swimming against a strong field of 13 schools (four NCAA Div. I) over the weekend.
“We weren’t up here to win the meet, but we were up here to do what we did,” said head coach Tim Kyle. “[We] qualified a lot of women…being at a D1 school and swimming against D1 programs really raised the level and the girls really stepped up. From a coaching standpoint it was all good.”
With the second day of the 3-day meet falling on a Sunday, the Cougars, as per program regulations, opted not to compete, all but eliminating them from contention going in.
Sophomore Cameron Hagen shaved almost eight seconds off her season best time in the 200 breast (2:36.18) to post a 15th place finish with a mark of 2:28.91.
In the 50 free, Azusa Pacific came into the weekend with two sprinters qualified for the NAIA championships (Quinn Robertson, and Tink Gibb), but the Cougars added another on the first day.
Allysa Hickman swam a time of 25.98 in the 50 free to qualify, while Gibb and Robertson each improved on their times.
Robertson won the ‘C’ final as she reached the wall at 24.05 and Gibb touched second (24.43). Gibb and Robertson, along with Hickman and Sarah Burney placed 9th in the 200 free relay, clocking in at 1:40.62.
Robertson also won the ‘B’ final in the 100 free with a time of 52.88; well over a second faster than her previous season best of 54.45 at the Cal Poly Invite earlier this year.
Lauren Turner gave Azusa Pacific another qualifier when she swam the first leg of the 400 free in 56.58 seconds for her personal best.
On the boards April Fautsch scored a 139.45 (18th place) in the 3-meter event and a 149.55 in the 1-meter (18th place), while Kassandra Duncan posted a dive of 166.40 (17th) in the 3-meter.
The Cougars next swim is a dual at Biola on January 14th, before the team travels to Orange for a meet against Chapman, Soka, and Cal State East Bay.