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LA MIRADA, Calif.-- It’s been a long time coming, and the Azusa Pacific swimming and diving team is glad it’s finally here. The Cougars, who have trained for nearly six months in preparation for the team’s championship meet, didn’t disappoint on Thursday, posting 13 season-bests in four swimming events, to go with the best diving performance in program history to end day two of the Pacific Coast Swimming & Diving Conference championships in seventh place with 192 points.
“We had a great showing for Azusa Pacific. We had a ton of personal bests. It was really strong and I couldn’t be happier. We’ve been training since September and it’s been a long time coming,” said head coach Tim Kyle. “It’s been awesome. The girls are really enjoying the experience. They can finally see all of their hard work pay off. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Kassi Duncan, who snared eighth place on Wednesday, recorded the top-finish from a diver at the PCSC championships with a third place score in the 1-meter board. Duncan scored 197.90 points in the final to take third place in a loaded field with numerous divers from Division I and II. Bridget Rossi grabbed ninth place, just missing out on the final with a mark of 153.70.
“Kassi finishing third is amazing. I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone place that high in the conference meet. It’s a huge accomplishment, considering the competition level,” said Kyle.
In the 200 IM the Cougars got season-bests from five swimmers, and saw one of the program’s all-time bests break her own school-record. Simone Garcia paced Azusa Pacific with a 2:10.26, besting her own school-record (2:10.55) by nearly three tenths of a second to finish in 14th place. Lauren Turner shaved almost five seconds off of her season-best, touching at 2:15.89 to place 23rd, while Malerie Morgan reached at 2:17.68 to earn 37th. Madelyn Mooers recorded a mark of 2:20.41 (personal-best) to take 45th, and Karley LeQuia clocked in at 2:34.19 to tab 59th.
In the 200 free relay the team of Quinn Robertson, Erica Knudsen, Alyssa Hickman, and Ingrid Cardenas notched a season-best 1:37.55 to earn fifth place, thanks in large part to an incredible split from Robertson. The junior sprinter registered the meet’s sixth fastest 50-split, tabbing a time of 23.34. The Cougars’ ‘B’ team of Turner, Kaitlyn Lee, Hickman, and Rogers took 18th, reaching the wall at 1:42.62.
Mikaela Fuller cut her 500 free time to 5:06.06, earning fifth in the race, while Victoria Hodge finished in 18th with a time of 5:13.98, both of which were personal-bests. Anna Eckberg nabbed 38th, touching at 5:27.30.
Azusa Pacific had eight swimmers post season-bests, with Robertson leading the way with a time of 24.07, good for 12th place. Angela Kanigowski (19th) followed her at 24.63, with Cardenas (25th; 24,45), Hickman (28th; 25.04), and Knudsen (29th; 25.05) all posting sub-26 times.
The Cougars currently sit in seventh place, two points behind Simon Fraser (B.C.), while UC San Diego, the four-time defending PCSC champion, paces the 13-team field with a dominating score of 644 points. Azusa Pacific will get back in the pool tomorrow for day three, where it’ll swim in six events.