HOUSTON - The University of North Dakota men's and women's swimming and diving teams wrapped up the 2016 WAC Championships on Saturday in Houston.
With the results, the North Dakota men finished fifth with 334 points while the UND women placed sixth with 373.5 points.
"I couldn't be more proud and pleased with how we executed a complex meet," said head swimming coach Chris Maiello on the final standings. "We're in a four-day competition and we have to treat each day separately to manage the ups and downs. The team did a great job and I'm really happy for them."
After crowning its third-ever WAC champion, Aaron Chanas-LaRue, on Friday, UND was back in the pool Saturday looking to close the curtain on an impressive four-day event in Houston.
The Fighting Hawks did just that by setting three new swimming records and one new diving record on Saturday.
First, it was sophomore Gabi Liedy in the 1650-yard freestyle event, or more informally known as the mile. Liedy swam a 16:58.24, which eclipsed her previous-best by 28 seconds. Liedy also became the first-ever female UND swimmer to swim the event in under 17 minutes to become a new school record holder.
"It felt really awesome to just go out and have a really great swim this weekend," said Liedy on her performance. "It was easy at first, and then it kept getting harder and harder. I just kept telling myself to push through it and I looked up at the board and it was the time that I wanted."
"I can't really put into words what it feels like to be a record holder at UND," said Liedy. "I am extremely proud and excited to be apart of this team and it's awesome."
After the 1650-yard freestyle school record was set on the women's side, it was the men's turn to do the same as freshman Jacob Wielinski set his second school record in the last two days by finishing second in the mile swim at 15:05.71.
"This was the only event that I had today so I was able to be rested and was able to focus on this event the entire day," said Wielinski on his swim. "I knew that I could go a fast time with how this weekend has been going, so I am really happy with it."
Wielinski, who shaved 29 seconds off of his midseason time in the event, broke the school record set by Rodrigo Cintra in 2002 by 2.9 seconds. His time also was a NCAA Division I B-Cut time as the freshman continued his impressive WAC Championships debut.
Later, it was another team record being set as the team of Noah Lucas, Chanas-LaRue, Cal Mouritsen, and Colin MacQuarrie became the school record holders in the 400-yard freestyle event with a fifth-place finish at 2:58.58.
"I think the senior guys sure went out with a bang," said Lucas on senior members Chanas-LaRue and MacQuarrie. "We're also very happy to be leaving this record with the younger swimmers."
Lucas and MacQuarrie were members of the relay team who previously held the record from the 2014 WAC Championships, helped the new team etch their names into the history books.
"I just couldn't be more proud of the team," said MacQuarrie. "To put a relay together and crush the record...that was awesome. I could not be more proud, and it was a great way to go out."
The record proved to be even more impressive with the event being the final event of the weekend.
"It was really tough because we were all really tired, and it's really hard to be in a position like that," said Mouritsen on the relay being the final event. "But when you have three teammates around you, they all pump you up. That's why the relays are always the coolest event because it's not just the individual, but it's a team event."
As UND added three new swims to its record books, a total of 15 swims cracked the UND top-10 list on Saturday as the Fighting Hawks wrapped up the four-day event with a bang.
A full-recap of all the record-breaking swims and top-10 holders will be posted online at UNDsports.com later in the week.
On the diving board, it was just the UND women who took to the platform to wrap up their final day in Houston.
"It was a very good day for UND diving," said head diving coach Brian Strom.
The fourth school record of the night came when sophomore Sawyer Murray set a new platform diving record at UND with a 209.00 score, which earned her a sixth-place finish.
"Great day for Sawyer Murray today," said Strom on the sophomore. "Especially with a pretty new list of dives for her."
"It was definitely difficult coming out on the last day and having to throw my hardest dives on the platform," said Murray on her dives. "But it felt good to finally see all of the hard work that I have put into platform come into effect, and killing all of my dives this afternoon was just a bonus."
Murray becomes only the third school record holder for UND in women's diving since 2001 and the first underclassmen to set a new record since Katie Stephens in 1989.
"This is really a great honor for me and I'm really excited about it," said Murray on being a school record holder. "I think it proves that this is my place and this is where I'm meant to be and I think I really found my place on this team."
"What a great way to finish," said Maiello on Saturday's events. "We just had a great night overall and it was a great way to finish the meet."
The Fighting Hawks will now turn their attention towards the 2016-17 season, as Coach Maiello knows there is plenty to look forward to.
"We have a great future ahead of us," said Maiello.
A bright future indeed.
|TEAM SCORES – Final|
|Northern Arizona||807.5||Air Force||771|
|Grand Canyon||466.5||Grand Canyon||650|
|North Dakota||373.5||CSU Bakersfield||309|
|Northern Colorado||307.5||Seattle U||183|