FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The UAF Swim program took to the Patty Center Pool for the final time this season for a two-day meet with the Division I Seattle Pacific Falcons. The Nanooks came up short on the scoreboard, falling in Friday's meet 116-87 and on Saturday 120-81. Despite the results, it was still a successful meet according to UAF head coach Becca Weiland, who says several athletes shaved time off of their personal bests.
Freshman Makayla Suominen took 11 seconds off her lifetime best in the 200 yard freestyle, clocking in at 1:59.78 and taking the event crown on Saturday.
Another Freshman, Caroline McCormick also produced a personal best in the 500 yard freestyle with a time of 5:16.61, defeating the next opponent in the event by 13 seconds.
"It was an outstanding weekend for Nanook swimmers." Weiland said.
Suominen, in her first year of collegiate swimming, continues to improve each race. She was part of the victorious 400 yard medley relay teams on both days, as well as the winning 200 yard medley relay squad. Suominen didn't expect her pool talents would take her to where she is now, but has the support of teammates to let her know she's not alone in this.
"There has been some rough days, but that is how it goes with any sport, you push through it and it is really good too see it pay off in some of these meets here that we are taking," Suominen said. "It is a surprise, I didn't know what my first year was going to be like coming into it, and I have been really happy with the coaching, they have supported me, especially with my fears and insecurities of what some of these races are going to look like, they're like 'no, you're going to be alright.' They have really encouraged me, as well as the team, the team has really stood by me as well."
Now at the midway point of the season, the Nanooks will take to the road for the remainder of their schedule. Coach Weiland has seen this team grow from the beginning of the season, and know there is still business to take care of.
"We are definitely a lot stronger, we are a lot quicker right now, we are all just approaching taper time, where the girls are going to start resting, we are going to start sleeping in, and feeling fast for our mid-season Invite next week."
UAF will take to the pool again next weekend for the Pepperdine Winter Invite in Malibu, California next weekend.
"During that time down there we hope to qualify a couple of our relays for the NCAA championships as well as some individuals."