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Bahamians Make Splash In Ncaa Swimming Championships

Shown (l-r) are swimmers Joanna Evans, Laura Morely and Albury Higgs.

Shown (l-r) are swimmers Joanna Evans, Laura Morely and Albury Higgs.

By RENALDO DORSETT

Tribune Sports Reporter

rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

SEVERAL Bahamian student athletes participated in the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas.

They were Joanna Evans, of the host programme Texas Longhorns, Albury Higgs of the South Carolina Gamecocks and Laura Morely of the Indiana Hoosiers.

Evans, the Longhorns senior, finished eighth in the consolation finals of the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:43.42 seconds for her second honourable mention All-American performance. She was also a member of the 800m free relay team alongside Quinn Carrozza, Claire Adams and Evie Pfeifer that turned in the third-fastest time (6:55.80) in school history for a fifth-place finish.

Evans, a 2016 Olympian, is the Longhorns record holder in the 500 and 1,650 free. She won four Big 12 titles earlier this month, including three individual championships (200, 500 and 1,650 free). She also holds the top three times in school history in the 500 freestyle and has dropped three out of the four fastest swims in programme history in the 1,650 free. Texas finished fifth overall. It was their best result when they have hosted the NCAA Championships since 1995 when they recorded a third-place finish.

Laura Morely of the Indiana Hoosiers scored for the first time in her collegiate career. The senior finished in sixth place to finish 14th overall with a time of 2:09.00. The Honorable-Mention All-America accolade is the first of her career. She qualified for her first final in her career at the NCAA Championships, when she was 12th in the prelims to earn a spot in the Consolation Final.

Morely also tied for 39th with a mark of 1:00.35 in the 100m Breast. She improved three spots from her seed in the event. She was also 46th with a mark of 1:58.85 in the 200m Individual Medley.

This season, she was also a Big Ten Sportsmanship Award Honouree.

Albury Higgs also had impressive performances for the South Carolina Gamecocks. In the 200m Individual Medley, she fell less than one tenth of a second shy of qualifying for the A-final, finishing the prelims in ninth at 2:08.44.

Higgs finished 17th in the 100 breaststroke after breaking the 1:00.00 minute for the first time in her career at 59.69. Higgs, with her Carolina school record, just missed qualification for the B-final by less than two-tenths of a second.

South Carolina finished the meet 21st in the team standings, fewer than 10 points outside of back-to-back top-20 finishes.

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