BROOKINGS, S.D.-- Highlighted by three pool records by the men's team, the University of North Dakota swimming and diving teams each recorded dual wins over host South Dakota State Saturday afternoon. The UND women were victorious 158-142 while the men defeated the Jackrabbits 170.5 to 129.5.
“This meet was a great opportunity to swim in a difficult environment, we knew SDSU would be sharp and ready for us and our teams responded well to the pressure and stress of a close meet," UND head swimming and diving coach Chris Maiello said.
"Although the men’s team won going away, it was a good test for us as we are very tired at this point in our season, Maiello said. "The highlight of the meet was definitely the pool records that were set by our guys. Both relays set pool records in winning both events while Noah Lucas set a record in the 200 free and Adam Gannon in the 100 free. To set records at an away pool is always fun, the guys on the relay, Gannon and Lucas have worked extremely hard in the training pool, they definately earned those times today. Austin Smith also had a good day for us as well with three individual event wins and a relay record setting the pace for us. We can’t wait to get to our championship meet and see all of our hard work pay off."
The men's 200 medley relay etched the new pool mark with a 1:33.78 to start the meet. Later, the 200 free relay put the capper on a very successful meet with another pool record in 1:23.96.
Lucas' win in the 200 free was by more than two full seconds at 1:42.06. He later claimed an eight-second win in the 500 free event (4:37.28). Gannon's 46.47 time in the 100 free was good for a new pool mark as well while he earned another win with his 51.60 clocking in the 100 butterfly.
"On the women’s side, we had very strong performances by Morgan Lynch this afternoon," Maiello said. "Her 200 free race minutes after the 1000 was very gutsy, she is a great competitor and she proved it. Erin Grabanski was also key for us today. Three event victories set the tone for the meet, she is swimming well. When the meet goes into the last two events tied it is always a pressure filled environment, Grabanski winning the 200 IM helped relieve some of that pressure for our relays, and it help them finish the meet off with victory. I think a close meet here is going to help us next month."
Lynch notched three finishes in the top three, winning the 500 free in 5:08.29. She later took second in the 1000 free (10:29.95) and third in the 200 free (1:57.54). Grabanski won three events, going 59.43 in the 100 backstroke, 2:09.45 in the 200 back and 2:09.61 in the 200 individual medley.
"We started slow," UND diving coach Brian Strom said. " The men's three-meter finished well but too many points to make up. Rick Eberle came back on the one-meter board with a win and one of his best boards of the year. Rachael Waldbillig had a very good start on one-meter and Lexi Eissinger had a very good three-meter performance, her best of the year. We'll finish up with platform in Winnipeg Sunday."
"Overall I am happy the way the dual meet season has went for us." Maiello said. "Our main training focus is WAC Championships at the end of the month, but we have swam well during the regular season and I am proud of what we have accomplished so far. Without our diving points the meet could have gone a different way. Coach Strom has done a terrific job getting our divers in a position to be successful at all our dual meets and at our championships."
The UND men finished its dual meet season with a 7-5 record, improving from a 2-11 mark last season. The UND women improved to 9-7 after a 8-9-1 finish a season ago.
The North Dakota divers compete in the final day of the Polar Bear Challenge Sunday in Winnipeg, Man. while the entire team next competes in the Minnesota Challenge, the final tuneup before the WAC Championships beginning Feb. 26.