Andrew Fischer: 500 freestyle national champion and NAIA All-American; Samantha Elam, 3rd place 500 freestyle and NAIA All-American
Simon Pheasant on starting block of 50 freestyle.
Bradley Adamson anchoring the 800 freestyle relay.
Justin Natyzak swimming the 500 freestyle.
Aaron Buchanan swimming the 200 individual medley.
Kelsey Weener flashing a smile before the race.
Sydney Harris in the 200 medley relay.
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – The opening day of the NAIA Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving National Championship was as memorable a day as it could get for the inaugural Olivet Nazarene University swim team. Olivet saw its first national champion crowned, six NAIA All-Americans and the school record fall in all 10 events on the day. The Tigers finished the day in third place on the men’s side and in fourth place on the women’s. The National Championships are being held at Oklahoma City Community College from Feb. 28-March 2.
Freshman Andrew Fischer (Graaff-Reinet, South Africa) captured first place in the 500-yard freestyle, inking his name in the record book as Olivet’s first swimming national champion and as an NAIA All-American. Fischer finished at 4:32.93, three seconds ahead of Javier Sossa of Oklahoma Baptist University.
Junior Samantha Elam (Granada Hills, Cali.) inked her name in the records books at the programs first NAIA All-American when she finished third in the 500-yard freestyle just minutes before Fischer’s race. Elam touched in at 5:03.25. Also earning NAIA All-American honors on the day was the men’s 800 freestyle relay which ended the night with a third place finish. The relay team, consisting of Fischer, junior Simon Pheasant (Alexandria, South Africa), Sam Borgman (Zeeland, Mich.) and anchored by junior Bradley Adamson (Lakewood, Cali.) finished at 6:51.60.
“It was a good day. To walk out of our first national meet sitting in third and fourth is a really good day,” said head coach Scott Teeters. “And add a national champion and six All-Americans to that…it was a lot of fun. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.”
The Tigers opened the national championships with back-to-back fourth place finishes by the 200-yard medley relay teams. Freshmen Mary Wilson (Fort Collins, Colo.), Sydney Harris (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Kelsey Weener (Holland, Mich.) and senior Melissa Wright (Bourbonnais, Ill.) started things off with a 1:47.56. The men’s team of freshmen Jacob Anderson (Clifton, Ill.) and Calvin Price (Grahamstown, South Africa), along with Pheasant and freshman Kasey Foley (Willows, Cali.) finished at 1:32.41.
Olivet posted two top-eight finishes in the men’s 200 individual medley, with junior Aaron Buchanan (Beavercreek, Ohio) and Anderson finishing fourth and seventh, respectively. Buchanan was in a dog fight with three Oklahoma Baptist swimmers, finishing at 1:51.09. Anderson touched in at 1:54.93.
After 14 events, including diving, the Tiger men sit in third place of 16 teams with 141 points. Oklahoma Baptist, the defending national champions, is in first with 338 and Concordia University – Irvine (Cali.) is in second with 144. The Tiger women are currently in fourth place of 18 teams with 105 points, behind Oklahoma Baptist (290), Savanna College of Art and Design (153) and University of the Cumberlands (145).
Olivet will return to the pool on Friday at 10:00 a.m. for the preliminaries of the 200 free, 400 individual medleys, 100 butterfly, 200 free, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and the 400 medley relays. The finals of all 14 events will start at 6:00 p.m.