The Idaho Swim and Dive team finished out conference play with a lot of positives last week.
Over the course of four days, Idaho (6-5, WAC 2-3) battled it out with the rest of the conference in what was the final meet of the season for the athletes.
The Vandals held out in second place for the first two days of the meet, but settled into third on the final day behind New Mexico State and Northern Arizona. It was Northern Arizona’s fifth consecutive WAC title.
“These girls were awesome all week,” Idaho Head Coach Mark Sowa said in a news release. “It was a great battle, as always, with the Aggies. I couldn’t be prouder or happier.”
Coach Sowa had plenty to be proud of in junior diver Janelle Lucas. Lucas won her third consecutive WAC title in platform diving and she won the event by nearly 40 points. She is now the first diver in conference history to win the title in three consecutive years. In each year’s title winning performance, she blew away the competition by at least 30 points. Senior Emi Smith followed her up in eighth place and fellow seniors Maren Seljevold and Hailey Kessler added ninth and 11th place finishes.
For his efforts, Idaho diving coach Jim Southerland was honored as the WAC Co-Diving Coach of the Year. All six divers on the team contributed points to the team’s final tally and four went on to championship finals.
At the other end of the pool, Idaho was led by junior Leah Fisk. Fisk turned in a personal best of 50.41 in the 100-yard freestyle, which was good for third place. She also secured three different top eight finishes and anchored four of Idaho’s relay teams, highlighted by a 49.93 leg in the 400-yard freestyle relay that was the best split in the field. She scored 49 of Idaho’s 585 points by herself, which is the fifth most by any Vandal in a conference championship in program history.
Three Vandals also made history in the 1650-yard freestyle. Junior Sarah Hall finished with a 17:00.41, which is second best in program history. Sophomore Brianna Lucien and freshman Emma Schlyter finished behind her with times of 17:05.74 and 17:18.43, respectively Lucien’s time is fourth best in program history and Schlyter’s is 11th.
Senior Cara Jernigan led a contingent of Vandals that dominated the 200-yard breaststroke. Jernigan’s fifth place finish makes her the second Vandal in this iteration of the program to have finished in at least the top eight of each of her four conference championship appearances. Sophomore Aimee Iwamoto, senior Delaney Boulo, sophomore Cassie Dallas and junior Lauren Votava each finished in the top 16 to add points for Idaho.
Seljevold, Smith, Lucas and Kessler will be joined by junior Indiya Williams and sophomore Heather Carbon in the NCAA Zone Diving Championships. Idaho will travel to Flagstaff, Arizona for the competition Mar. 5-6.
Jonah Baker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jonahpbaker