The Northern Arizona swimming and diving team will close the first half of the season on Saturday with a dual meet versus San Diego at 11 a.m. The dual will be the Lumberjacks' first as a full squad in over a month, and it will also feature Cal State East Bay.
"It's a great way to end the semester and keep the girls focused as we get through this time of year," said Lumberjacks head coach Andy Johns. "San Diego has some good sprinters who will pose some challenges for us and they're strong in the breaststroke as well. We're going to have some great races there."
The Lumberjacks are 3-1 this season in dual meets, logging victories against New Mexico, Air Force and Idaho. NAU's loss was to WAC rival New Mexico State a month ago, but the team did not have the luxury of its divers, who were competing separately at the Lumberjack Diving Invitational.
Outside of NAU's 10 swimmers who traveled to the Texas Invitational two weeks ago, the rest of the Lumberjacks squad has not competed since the week prior to Thanksgiving. Coupled with the team participating in their annual training camp next week following Saturday's dual meet, the Lumberjacks' trip to San Diego will be beneficial on several fronts.
"This is the biggest week of training for the year," Johns said. "It's good to get the team back together because we've been separated with the swimmers and divers in different places. We need to get together and it's a great place and opportunity to get some hard work in before sending them home for the holidays to get refreshed."
Redshirt junior Monique King led the NAU contingent in Austin, Texas, earning herself WAC Swimmer of the Week following the Texas Invitational. King posted the conference's top 500 and 1,650 freestyle times and leads the WAC in both events along with the 1,000 freestyle. King's 500 freestyle time moved her into the top five in program history, as did freshman Niamh McDonagh in the 400 individual medley. Senior Alina Staffeldt and junior Andrea Schmidt both posted NCAA B cuts in the 200 butterfly in Texas.
As of this week, NAU has at least one swimmer in the top eight of the WAC in every swimming event.
Meanwhile, the divers will get back into action since performing well at their Lumberjack Diving Invite. Junior Tatiana Kurach garnered WAC Diver of the Week honors after placing in the top seven in all three events, highlighted by a fifth-place finish on 1-meter. In her first action of the season, freshman Jenny Cheetham qualified for the finals on both springboards while junior Christina Torrente (1-meter) and junior Raquel Gonzales (1-meter) also dove in the finals.
San Diego is 1-4 in dual meets this season with its lone win coming against Loyola Marymount. Most recently, the Toreros placed second at the Husky Invite in the nine-team field, trailing only Nevada.
NAU has won the last nine straight meetings with San Diego and is 22-3 all-time against the Toreros. The Lumberjacks posted a 151-108 victory in their most recent head-to-head dual in 2014.