ST. PETERS, Mo.--- Missouri is known throughout the country as, ‘the show me state.’ The California Baptist swimming and diving team may have taken that as a challenge as the Lancers showed that they aim to take the NAIA crown back to Riverside one last time.
CBU won four NAIA championships on the night, breaking two school records and another NAIA record. The team has a stronghold for first place in the women’s standings, and the men are within striking distance at second place.
“We had four NAIA championships on the day and a ton of All-Americans,” said Head Coach Rick Rowland. “I’m really proud of some of the swims, and for Kevin Sellars to repeat in the 400 IM is pretty exciting."
Sellars defended his crown in the 400 IM with a mark of 3:55.75, while Brian Haney placed fifth with a swim of 4:05.50. The win was Sellars third individual NAIA championship. The junior won two titles in the 2010 finals on his way to breaking two NAIA records (200 IM: 1:49.44; 400 IM: 3:53.86); each of his marks still stand.
Freshman Mary Hanson broke the NAIA record in 100 back (54.66), winning the first NAIA national championship in her young, but illustrious career. She now has two of the top swims at the nationals and four CBU records in just her first collegiate season.
Jamie Flynn gave the Lancers their third diving title of the meet with a score of 276.80. CBU had five divers compete at nationals (three women, two men). Miranda King got fourth place (2:01.50), as Michelle Black finished in sixth (196.15).
Sergio Molina won the 100 breast title (55.28), as Jeff Babcock and Matthew Chong placed seventh and eighth respectively.
Afterwards Molina was blunt about his race. “I didn’t do well with the time, but I guess it’s fine. I just won. We need it,” said Molina.
Hannah Braun (fourth; 4:35.25) and Norra Stroh (sixth; 4:39.08) placed in the top-eight for the women’s 400 IM, while Stefanie Olson finished in twelfth (4:42.71).
Hazel Castillo nabbed a fourth place finish in the 100 fly (57.47), while Adriana Quezada landed in third in the 200 free (1:52.81).
Gina Rhue (1:06.71) had a seventh place swim in the 100 breast, and Molly Larson posted a time of 1:08.81 to finish in fifteenth.
Vicente Andrade grabbed sixth place (50.64) and Robert Nichols got eighth (51.10) in the 100 back. Tai Nuntapramote got eighth in the 200 free (1:42.61), as Ronan Garrec (fifth; 49.59) and Chris Toy (seventh; 50.35) swam in the top eight for the 100 fly.
In the most controversial decision of the meet, the Lancers benefited from a Fresno Pacific DQ. The would-be NAIA record breaking men’s 200 free relay team finished in first, but was penalized for not turning in their swimmer card prior to the race. The women’s relay team suffered the same fate, bumping the Lancer women to second (1:36.43) and the men to fourth (1:23.84).
The women’s 400 medley relay team of Hanson, Rhue, Castillo, and Braun broke the CBU record with a swim of 3:50.44, just one one-hundredth of a second off Fresno Pacific’s third place time (3:50.43). Four teams (including CBU) broke the previous NAIA record of 3:50.75; Savannah College of Art and Design finished in first with a record-time of 3:48.78.
The men’s 400 medley team (Andrade, Sellars, Toy, Molina) closed the night with a third place finish with a time of 3:19.68.
The Lancers will close their final NAIA competition with 12 events on Saturday, and Rowland expects a tight finish on the men’s side.
“It’s going to be tough to catch Fresno Pacific,” said Rowland. “They’re awfully deep in the freestyle, we’re deep in the strokes. It could go down to the last relay.”
The women lead Fresno Pacific with 465 compared to the Sunbirds 310. The men are in second with 415 points while Fresno Pacific has 446.5