Columbus, Ga. – The second-ranked UC women's swimming & diving team won a pair of NAIA national titles and set three program records as the Patriots remain in second place midway through the NAIA Swimming & Diving Championships taking place at the Columbus Aquatic Center. Mendy De Rooi won the 500 free, while De Rooi, Christina Klouda, Yuliia Hnidenko and Katy Smeltzer took top honors in the 400 medley relay.
After notching the top-seed in the prelims, De Rooi touched the wall in a career-best time of 4:58.82 to capture the Patriots first individual NAIA National title since 2013. That time also set a new school record, which was set by Grace Van Ryckeghem in 2015, by almost two seconds.
UC continued to make program history in the final event of the night, the 400 medley relay, as Klouda, Hnidenko, De Rooi, and Smeltzer recorded UC's first NAIA Relay National Champion. Klouda led off with a 57.33 backstroke split, while Hnidenko swam 1:05.56 for the breast stroke. De Rooi split a 53.71 before Smeltzer swam 51.98 to anchor the Patriots to victory.
The Patriots started the morning by touching the wall in 1:36.66 to set a new school record in the 200 free. De Rooi, Smeltzer, Rebecca Loftus, and Houston Burgoon lowered the record to 1:36.54 in finals to notch a fourth place finish.
Klouda earned national runner-up honors in the 200 IM after swimming 2:06.76. Hnidenko went 2:10.61 to place 12th in the event.
Smeltzer led a trio of Patriots in the consolation final of the 50 free finishing tenth with a time of 24.54. Loftus touched the wall in 24.78 to place 12th, while Burgoon went 24.72. Nicole Ceausu went 24.84 in the prelims to finish 18th.
Cumberlands has record 160.5 points to remain in second place in the team standings. SCAD leads the way with 239 points, while Olivet Nazarene is in third with 148.5 points and Keiser in fourth with 135 points.
The NAIA Championship will continue Friday, March 1, with the third day of competition. Prelims are slated to begin at 9 a.m. EST, while finals will start at 5 p.m. EST.