2016 NAIA Men?s and Women?s Swimming & Diving National Championship Day 1 Recap
By Colbi Howser, Communications and Sports Information Intern
COLUMBUS, GA. - (Results) The 2016 NAIA Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving National Championships kicked off March 3, at Columbus Aquatic Center in Columbus, Ga. Competition led off today with the women’s 200-yard medley. Ten national championship events were awarded including a first place finish to three-time national winner Courtney Hayward of Brenau (Ga.). Hayward recorded a 4:56.34 in the 500-yard freestyle.
One record was broken tonight, Joel Ax of SCAD Savannah (Ga.) easily swam his way to a new NAIA record by finishing first in preliminaries with a 4:21.49 in the Men 500-yard freestyle, beating the four-year-old record recorded by SCAD swimmer Alex Graudins in 2012. In the finals, Ax took a 4:26.33 finish to earn his first championship of the meet.
Sophomore Genesis Veliz of Wayland Baptist (Texas) took home the first award of the championship, as she dove her way to the 1 meter dive title with a 203.80 final score. Freshman Vanessa VanOost from Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) came in three points behind for a second place finish.
SCAD Savannah women took home the first two relays of the championship, including the 200-yard medley relay (1:43.56) and the 800-yard freestyle relay (7:32.83). The Bees look to capture their third national championship.
Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) men took three wins on the night, including the 200-yard medley relay (1:25.58), 200-yard individual medley by Daniil Kuzmin (1:48.68) and Guilherme Magnoler (20.67) in the 50-yard freestyle (20.67).
Day two competition starts at 9 a.m. EST with the women’s 200-yard freestyle preliminaries. Finals start 5 p.m. EST. Watch all the action of the 2016 NAIA Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving National Championships here.