Azusa Pacific’s swim and dive nears the end of their season with the Pacific Collegiate Swim Conference Championship (PCSC) from Feb. 8-11.
The Cougars began the 2016-17 season with a slow start and two third place finishes at the PCSC Relays and PCSC Pentathlon. Afterward, they suffered two back-to-back losses against Alaska Fairbanks, but they kept their hopes high, and bounced back in their next two meets.
Despite the early losses, the Cougars took first place with double victories against Chapman and Biola at their only home meet of the season, beating Chapman 168-71 and Biola 172-60.
Sophomore diver Kianna Mourer felt that her mental performance played a big part in the wins.
“I tend to get extremely nervous under pressure. We developed a specific routine that is tailored to my psychological needs which allowed me to enter each dive in competition with a clear and confident head,” Mourer said.
Azusa Pacific closed out the regular season with three constructive wins against Concordia 181-110, Biola 204-82, and SOKA 235-32. The Cougars displayed their workmanship during these events, which played a big factor in the three victories.
The Cougars won six swim individual events and both of the relay events. Mourer exhibited six dive scores to win the one-meter (273.75) and three-meter (272.70) competitions.
Junior swimmer Rosalee Mira Santa Ana took the win for her 10:33.37 time in the 1000-yard freestyle. Junior Alyse Darnall followed suit and was the next top finisher for her 100-yard backstroke (1:03.08). Sophomore Elodie Poo Cheong earned first-place team points as she took the 100-yard breaststroke (1:09.13). Lastly, junior Angel Van Hofwegen finished strong by winning the 100-yard butterfly (1:01.15).
“Concordia has some strong girls, so seeing that we beat the team was pretty good. We weren’t too focused on times,” senior swimmer and co-captain Heidi Zuniga said.
The Cougars were not concentrating on their times, but rather the way they pulled together as a team.
“One of our big team goals this year is unity. It’s so hard in an individual sport to be unified, so this entire season we’ve been trying to implement that you can still swim fast and be a team player,” Zuniga said.
Sophomore swimmer Abigail Wiet gave the Cougars another top finish in the 200-yard backstroke in 2:11.62. The big win was rounded out by Santa Ana winning her second event of the day, the 400-yard IM (4:43.41).
“We’re an individual sport that comes together as a team. Our individual goals are to always swim our personal best times. Team-wise, I’m looking to put out the best team that I can and let the chips fall where they may,” head coach Tim Kyle said.
Since the beginning of the season, Kyle believed that this team could send three swimmers and two divers to the NCAA championships. This year, both divers on the team qualified for the NCAA Nationals, but it’s still too early to see the qualifications for the swimmers. Nonetheless, the team is keeping their minds clear and their hopes high for the results in late February.
The Cougars ended their regular season slate with an overall record of 6-3. With the PCSC less than two weeks away, APU is looking to close out the season victorious.