By Jason Lichtenberger
BURNABY, B.C. Canada, Feb. 28. TWO days down, two to go, and the race to the championship is wide open. Thursday, the Seattle University men's and women's
swim teams both picked up ground and finished in third place through two days and 16 events completed in the 2002 NAIA Swimming and Diving Championships hosted by Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC.
On the men's side, California Baptist University set a new NAIA record in the 400-meter medley relay-the final event of the evening-with a time of 3:46.9 to pass Seattle and three-time defending champion Simon Fraser for the lead. Cal Baptist finished the day with 183 points, just ahead of Simon Fraser (180) and Seattle (175).
Two-time defending champion Simon Fraser extended it's lead on the women's side to 31 points, but both Cal Baptist and Seattle are well within reach. The Lancers are in second with 162 points and the Redhawks moved into third with 129 points. Seattle was within 10 points of Cal Baptist but was disqualified in the 400-medley relay and lost valuable ground.
Both the Redhawk men and women made up quite a bit of ground in the 400-meter freestyle, the first event of the day. The Seattle men placed three swimmers in the top six and a total of four of 12 finalists. The women
placed two in the top five and a total of five swimmers out of 12 finalists.
The Seattle men earned all-American honors in each of the five swimming events this evening (the men's one-meter diving was also held tonight). The Redhawks started the evening with a second place finish in the 200-meter freestyle relay, finishing in 1:34.4. They also earned all-American honors in the 400-medley relay, finishing with a time of 3:56.09, to go along with three individual all-American performances.
Elliott Kolbe (Sr., Gardenerville, Nev./Douglas HS) swam his way to a second place finish in the 200-meter individual medley in a time of 2:06.55, to finish as Seattle's top individual finisher thus far. Sean Seaver (Jr., Ketchikan, Alaska/Ketchikan HS, Drury University) earned his first all-American award with Seattle University, finishing third in the 400-free
Joe Laughlin (Jr., Albany, Ore./West Albany HS) powered his way to a third place finish in the exciting 50-meter freestyle in 23.69 seconds.
The Seattle men have earned one all-American honor in all six swimming events through the first two days of the meet, including a national championship in the 800-meter freestyle relay yesterday, the program's first.
The women also earned all-American honors in the 200-free relay, finishing third with a time of 1:51.86. They were also expected to finish in the top three in the 400-free relay before being disqualified in the preliminaries.
Swimmers will compete in a total of six swimming events along with the finals of the women's three-meter diving tomorrow. Look for Seattle to continue to pick up ground with a couple of the team's strongest events tomorrow. The order of tomorrow's events is 200- medley relay, 400-individual medley, 100-butterfly, 200-freestyle, 100-breaststroke, 100-backstroke and women's three-meter diving. Prelims are scheduled to
start at 10 am with the finals beginning at 6 pm.