ST. PETERS, Mo. --- Biola junior April Smith made school history on the final day of the 2010 NAIA Swimming and Diving Championships, winning the 200 breaststroke to become the first Biola Swimming National Champion, closing out the final day with a bang on Saturday.
Smith's incredible performance capped another impressive day for the Eagles, who added seven new school records on Saturday to bring their impressive total up to 19 for the championships, setting records in over half of the 36 swimming events this week.
In the overall standings, the women's team finished seventh, improving on their eleventh place finish from last year, while the men managed to finish ninth overall despite only having six men competing.
Smith’s day began with a strong swim in the morning session to put her in fifth place going into the evening finals. Her prelim time of 2:24.04 was a personal best and--at the time--a new school record.
In the evening, Smith’s split at the 100 was faster than her morning swim, but she was in seventh place out of eight swimmers. However, she passed three swimmers on the third 50 to put her in fourth place with just 50 yards left in the race. With an incredible last 50, Smith passed all three other swimmers ahead of her and outswam to win the race by nearly one second.
Smith’s final time was a 2:21.66, nearly three seconds faster than she swam during the morning session. At the beginning of the season, Smith was already the Biola record holder in the event, but she cut nearly six seconds off her previous record of 2:27.18 over the course of the year.
Smith also set an individual record in the leadoff leg of the 400 free relay. Smith was joined for the race by teammates Rachael Sirjord, Amber Kiel, and Emily Mosbacher. Smith’s lead off time of 53.47 broke the previous school record of 53.83. Her relay team then went on that evening to finish in sixth place and set a new school relay record of 3:36.90.
Several other Biola women had record-setting swims during the day. Kiel shattered her own 200 backstroke record with a time of 2:09.00 to earn a sixth-place finish. Brittney Rosania set a new school record in the 200 fly. Her time of 2:10.46 earned her a fifth place finish and broke the previous record of 2:12.43 by two seconds.
Other notable swims of the day were given by Bethany Turner who finished 16th in the 200 Breast, Alison Seek who finished 12th in the 1650 free, and Rachael Fredricks who finished 14th in the 1650 free.
On the men’s side there were two new records set. Zach Perkins set a school record in the 100 free with a 46.71 and finished 13th. Perkins would later anchor the relay team that also consisted of Brian Shepard, Chris Stutzman, and Nathan Roe that would set a new school record in the 400 free relay. They finished strong in sixth place and their time of 3:07.11 was a blistering three seconds faster than the previous school record of 3:10.22.
There were a couple other outstanding swims by the men on Saturday. Stutzman had a great swim in his 100 free tonight with a 15th place finish and a time of 46.91. Paul Mendoza took a half minute off of his seed time in the 1650 free to finish with a time of 16:32.82 and 10th place.
Biola also had five scholar athletes honored at tonight’s event. Scholar athletes are recognized by the NAIA for maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or greater once they achieve junior or senior status. The five scholar athletes from Biola were Samantha Oja, Rachael Sirjord, April Smith, Zach Perkins, and Paul Mendoza.
Written by Jeff Hoffman, Sports Information Director. Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, can be reached at (562) 777-4061 or through email at jenna [dot] l [dot] bartlo [at] biola [dot] edu.