Swimming with All-American and Freshman of The Year

On Mar. 11, Saint Leo University Swimming concluded their season as both the men and women finished the NCAA National Championships in Birmingham, Ala. The teams’ most significant accomplishments of the season include an All-American title and the Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year Award.

For the Lions, the 2017 NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Birmingham Crossplex Natatorium began on Mar. 8. Five of the Saint Leo Swimmers participated in the event.

On the Men’s side, the only two Lions who managed to qualify for the competition were Junior Milosz Mikicin and Junior Hunter Bains. Mikicin, competed in the 100 Backstroke where he managed to reach the consolation final and finish the competition in 16th place with a time of 49.74.

Basin competed in the 100 Freestyle where he clocked the time of 44.39 during the prelims and 44.70 during the consolation final, which allowed him to conclude the competition in 16th place, as well. Basin also completed on the 200 Freestyle. However, he did not manage to qualify for the consolation final.

As Mikicin and Hunter were the only Saint Leo Men’s participants to score points in the national championships, the team was placed as number 30 with a score of two points.

On the Women’s side, the Saint Leo field was more than twice as big as on the Men’s side as five Lions qualified for the nationals either individually or as part of a relay team.

Freshman Annie Lindstrom, Freshman Matalin Shaver, Sophomore Maftuna Tuhtasinova, Junior Natalia Garriock, and Senior Nicole Weber competed in the individual as well as team events including 400 Medley Relay and 200 Medley Relay, which was a highlight of the Lions’ first day of competition at the National Championships.

In the 200 Medley Relay, the Lions managed to clock a time of 1:43.37 and score 22 points. The performance was the Lions’ best result during the opening day of the competition, as the team finished the relay in eighth place.

Individually, two women Lions, Lindstrom and Garriock, took part in the 50 Freestyle trial race. While Lindstrom finished the final race in 16th place with a time of 23.66, Garriock fell only two spots behind her teammate and earned the 18th place with a time of 23.51.

During the second day of competition, the women Lions once again had a chance to compete in a relay event as they participated in the 400 Medley Relay. Clocking a time of 3:47.78 allowed the Lions to finish the competition in 10th place and score another 14 points for the team.

The women also competed in the 200 Freestyle Relay. The event was a chance for Shaver to participate in the National Championships as she became part of the relay along with Lindstrom,

Garriock, and Weber. With a time of 1:34.71 the Lions finished the competition in 16th and scored two points.

On the Women’s side, Garriock and Lindstrom were the two Lions who competed individually during the second day of the Nationals. Both participated in the 100 Butterfly, and while Lindstrom finished the competition in the preliminary race with a time of 57.09, Garriock managed to swim time of 55.06 in the consolation final, which gave her 11th place and six points for the team.

The last day of the National Championships was highlighted by Garriock’s performance in the 100 Freestyle. Garriock’s time of 50.33 seconds and placing sixth in the final race was the Lions’ best performance during the three-day competition in Birmingham. The result allowed Garriock to claim the All-American Honors.

Once again, the Lions competed in a relay. A team consisting of Lindstrom, Garriock, Tuhtasinova, and Shaver took part in the 400 Free Relay. Nevertheless, they did not manage to advance to another session of the competition.

Individual events included Lindstrom’s 51.37 in the 100 Freestyle and Weber’s 2:17.84 in the 200 Breaststroke. For Weber, it was the last event of her collegiate career, and the time allowed her to finish the competition in 19th place.

After three days of competition, the Lions scored 58 points and concluded the NCAA National Championships in 20th place.

Even though at that point the season was concluded for both the Men and Women teams, the Sunshine State Conference did not stop to recognize those whose performance during the season was the most significant.

As a result, Lindstrom, a freshman from Sweden, has been awarded with the Sunshine State Conference Freshman of The Year title, becoming the second title to earn the honors after Weber was named the Freshman of the Year in 2014.

As the Lions have concluded their season, the fans of the Saint Leo teams will have to wait another year until the swimmers will come back to action.

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