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Swimming and Diving

Strong performances highlight loss at AFA

29 Th11 2021 | 08:02

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The Grand Canyon women’s swimming and diving team competed in a two-day dual meet against Air Force at Cadet Natatorium, where the Lopes fell 216-155 to the Falcons. GCU won races and achieved goals despite the altitude change.

Day 1

After Day 1 at Cadet Natatorium, the Lopes women were down 111-75 against the Falcons.

GCU seniors Claire Banic and Emily Muteti, junior Briana Rittenbach and sophomore Raphaela Nakashima captured a Friday win in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of one minute, 44.16 seconds. Banic pushed the team to victory with a fiery finish, beating her opponent to the wall by six seconds. The team dropped .29 seconds off its season-best time. All meet times were adjusted to the appropriate times due to the site’s altitude level.

Lopes sophomore diver Lizzy Mcknight took second place with 245.63 points in the 3-meter springboard. Freshman teammate Shiori Bak had a great evening, as she finished second in the 1-meter event with 219.68 points and fourth in the 3-meter (231.30).

“The women had some good diving, but Bak stepped up and did some of her best diving of the season so far,” GCU diving head coach Hunter Shafer said. “She had great energy off the board and finished her 1-meter in a strong second place.”

Individually, the Lopes picked up two wins for the women. Nakashima won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:04.79 while senior Robyn Edwards finished the 100 backstroke in a season-best time (57.76).

GCU freshman Maria Brunlehner had a great performance in 200 individual medley, where she finished second with a time of 2:06.90, dropping 1.16 seconds off her season best. She also earned a top-three finish in the 100 breaststroke (1:06.22).

Banic also earned a second-place finish in the women’s 50 freestyle with a season-best time of 23.84 seconds.

Lopes freshman Aleksandra Wegrzynowska finished second in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:55.20. She earned fourth in the 200 butterfly (2:10.01) and contributed to fourth in 400 freestyle relay.

Muteti, Carr, Banic and Brunlehner tasted sweet victory once again in the 400 freestyle relay with a season-best time of 3:29.87. Brunlehner pushed the team to victory in the last leg of the race, as she came from behind to hit the wall before the Falcons’ Abby Turner.

Day 2

On Saturday, the Lopes had outstanding finishes in its loss to the Falcons.

GCU started out strong once again after winning the 400 medley relay with Muteti, Edwards, Nakashima and Brunlehner. Brunlehner was a speed boat in the water as she guided the team to a cushioned win with a time of 3:50.15.

Bak had herself a day in the platform event, winning with 235.73 points for a NCAA zone qualifying score.

Edwards won the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:04.30. Brunlehner was also victorious in the 100 freestyle with a time of 51.81.

Two Lopes earned top-three finishes. Wegrzynowska swam the 400 IM in a time of 4:33.80 for a second-place finish. Nakashima ended her weekend with a third-place finish in the 200 breaststroke.

Brunlehner, Banic, Carr and Muteti closed out the afternoon with another relay win in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:34.76.

Up next, the Lopes will head to Pullman, Washington, on Friday, and to Moscow, Idaho, on Saturday for a pair of dual meets.