The Ashland University women's 200 free relay won a national championship Thursday night (Mar. 7) at the NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships at the Crossplex in Birmingham, Ala.
This is the fourth consecutive year the women's swimming team has won a national championship. In 2010 and 2011 the women's 200 free relay made the climb to the top of the podium. A year ago, Julie Widmann (Littleton, Colo./Heritage) won a national crown in the 100 backstroke.
On Thursday, the AU relay was first in 1:32.20. Wayne State was second in 1:32.69.
Widmann and fellow senior Rachael Ausdenmoore (Southlake, Texas/Carroll) have been on all three relays that have won national championships. They were joined this year by junior Gabriela Verdugo-Arzaluz (Chihuahua, Mexico/Institute Technologico y de Estudious Superiores de) and freshman Kaylyn Murphy (West Carrollton, Ohio).
The women's 400 medley relay was also in action Thursday. That quartet finished 12th in 3:50.18. The members of that foursome were Widmman, Murphy, freshman Hannah Mattar (Lake Orion, Mich.) and junior Sara Reidler (Gahanna, Ohio/Gahanna Lincoln).
After two days of competition, the AU women are in ninth place with 95 points. Drury (237.5) is first and Wayne State (180) is second. The Ashland women have placed in the nation's top seven for three consecutive seasons.
The AU men got their first points at this meet when junior Alex Sheil (Sydney, Australia/Trinity) finished ninth in the 200 freestyle. His time was 1:37.81.
The swimming and diving championships run through Saturday (Mar. 9). National championships in wrestling and track and field are also taking place this week in Birmingham. On Thursday, AU won two national championships. In addition to the relay's victory, senior Richard Quick won a national championship in the weight throw.