OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Junior Mackenzie Anderson (Clifton, Ill.) sophomore Sydney Harris (Fort Wayne, Ind.), freshman Kara DeLong (Geneva, Ind.) and sophomore Kelsey Weener (Holland, Mich.) teamed up in the 200-yard medley relay to get things started for the Olivet Nazarene University women’s swim team at the NAIA National Championships. The foursome set the tone early to show everyone that the Tigers were here to complete, finishing second in the opening event at 2:08.95. Olivet sits in third place overall after day one of swimming.
Senior Becky Walker (Pine River, Minn.) inked her name the Tiger record book on Wednesday when she became the first member of the Olivet swim team to compete at the national championships in diving. She finished seventh overall in the 1-meter competition with 158.90.
Defending national champion Oklahoma Baptist University sits in first place overall with 267 points. Savanna College of Art and Design (SCAD) is just eight points ahead of the Tigers with 158 points. Rounding out the top five are Concordia University – Irvine (Cal.) with 128 points and Brenau University (Ky.) with 90.
The Tigers were well represented in the 500-yard freestyle with senior Samantha Elam (Granada Hills, Cal.) placing third at 5:04.81. Teammate Hayley Ronci (Goshen, Ind.) made a huge push late in the race to touch at 5:06.89 and finish fourth. Laura Bryant (Escondido, Cal.) finished ninth overall at 5:07.09 with Meredith Lee (Hudsonville, Mich.) coming in 15th at 5:16.29.
Harris posted a 2:07.83 in the 200 Individual Medley, finishing in fourth place. Freshman Tiffany Ray (Grandville, Mich.) finished sixth at 2:08.95.
The 800-freestyle relay team of Ronci, Bryant, Ray and Elam finished up the day for the Tigers, touching the pads at 7:46.20 in fifth place.
In all, Olivet had five swimmers earn All-American status with today’s performances: Anderson, Elam, DeLong, Harris and Weener.
Olivet returns to the pool tomorrow with prelims starting at 10:00 a.m. and finals starting at 6:00 p.m.