Emmanuel College Sports Information Department
OKLAHOMA CITY, Ok.---The Emmanuel College Lions are in the final day of competition at the NAIA National Swimming and Diving Championships. This morning's preliminary events have afforded the Lions three individual swims and two relay swims in tonight's final session of the meet.
Highlights from this morning's events include Diana Tobo's 10th place finish in the 200 yard backstroke. She finished in a time of 2:08.55, a personal best for Tobo and a new EC school record. Juan Rico competed in the 200 yard backstroke for the men – taking 14th place with a time of 1:53.89. Both backstrokers will return tonight to swim in consolation finals for the Lions.
Jackson Wasden was the only swimmer to compete in individual freestyle events at the NAIA National Championships for the Lions. "Fast swims are contagious," said Wasden. "The atmosphere alone at nationals keeps your mind racing and your heart pumping from the second you step foot on deck." Wasden finished 20th in the 100 yard freestyle this morning in a time of 47.08, a personal best time and new school record for EC. Wasden continues, "It's great to be here with a team that has grown to be so close."
Competing in the 200 yard butterfly for the Lions was Santiago Aguilar (picture above) and Laura Gonzalez. Aguilar finished in 6th place for the Lions, becoming the first EC swimmer to earn a spot in finals. "It has been an exciting year," said Aguilar. "It's a blessing to study in another country, and even more to be a part of a team. A national championship meet is a totally new experience, and really different than the ones back at home. With ups and downs, this has been a memorable experience, and a huge blessing." Gonzalez finished 19th for the Lady Lions in a time of 2:17.17.
The final relay swim of the meet is the 400 yard freestyle relay. Both the men and women competed in the relay – with hopes of returning tonight to the finals to score points for the Lions. The men's relay (Rico, Aguilar, Buttler, Wasden) finished in 14th place with a time of 3:15.50, a new school record for EC. The women's relay (Tobo, Gratz, Whitaker, Tamblyn) dropped six seconds off their own school record to place 16th with a time of 3:52.69. "It's been a really great time. I'm so thankful to be a part of such an awesome team. I can't wait to see where we go from here!" said Whitaker.
Tonight's sixth and final session of the NAIA National Championships begins at 6pm CT. Three individual swimmers and eight relay swimmers will be representing the Lions in their final appearance of the season.