Nail-Biting 400 Relay Hands LMU PCH Cup Point
With a Wells Fargo PCH Cup decision on the line in the final race, LMU edged Pepperdine.
With a Wells Fargo PCH Cup point and a head-to-head victory on the line entering the final race of the Lions Cup on Saturday afternoon, LMU finished in front of Pepperdine in the 400 freestyle relay to defeat the Waves in the Division I scoring, 286-280.5.
LMU trailed by 2.5 points entering the final relay, and needed to place the A and B relay in front of Pepperdine’s coinciding foursomes. LMU ran away with the first decision, capturing first place and 18 points by way of a 3:36.55 mark. Now with all eyes set on the B relays, the two teams were neck-and-neck throughout, but it was a standout final 100 from senior Lia Porcelli Jorgensen that decided the race, as she anchored the Lions to a 3:43.85 to capture fourth place narrowly in front of Pepperdine’s B relay at 3:43.96.
Also competing in the two-day invitational, University of Alaska topped Dixie State, 155-143.5 in the Division II scoring.
Senior Hannah Calton, who swam the lead leg of the A relay in the 400 freestyle, also led off in LMU’s winning 200 freestyle relay to start the day on Saturday. The team of Calton, Stacy Maier, Alyce-Faye Eichelberger and Taylor Anderson won the event with a time of 1:38.52.
Individually, Calton captured a pair of victories, helping LMU to a 1-3 finish in the 100 butterfly by earning first place in 56.91. Olivia Nielsen ensured LMU took two of the top-three spots in that race, claiming third in 1:00.54 to edge Martha Hood of Alaska at 1:00.77. Calton would return to the water in the 200 backstroke, cruising to top honors with a time of 2:07.71. Gabby Carufel also snuck into the top-four, hitting the wall at 2:15.24 to earn five points.
In addition to her efforts on the relay, Maier also captured a crucial 16 points on Saturday, outracing the field in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:57.09 before placing second in the 100 freestyle with a time of 54.36.
LMU proved deep in the 100 backstroke, as Eichelberger led a trio of Lion swimmers who finished 2-3-4 in the race. The talented freshman stopped the clock at 59.29, followed by Anderson (1:00.44) and Carufel (1:01.31).
Entering a pair of swimmers in the mile, LMU placed fourth and fifth, as Keara Reilly (18:14.17) and Lanna Kozlowski (18:20.69) finished in those spots, respectively, to begin the third and final session.
Racing in a field seemingly full of Waves, Mary Schell placed well in the 200 breaststroke late in the competition, stealing second with a time of 2:33.20 to finish between a pair of Pepperdine swimmers.
The Waves managed to capture a late lead in the standings after scoring three in top-four of the 200 butterfly, including earning the top-two spots. Julia Sneden and Brooke Gautreau placed in the top-two positions, while Nielsen broke up a potential 1-2-3 Wave finish with a time of 2:19.86 to take third.
Eichelberger (1:01.32) and Tori Yee (1:02.47) kept the Lions right in the thick of the race with 2-3 finishes in the 100 individual medley, but Pepperdine’s Megan Henley matched the time of Jorgensen to split nine points in the fourth and fifth spots to leave the Waves 2.5 points up in the standings headed into the 400 freestyle relay.
Though both teams held minimal advantages over the course of the tightly-contested race, Jorgensen closed in on the wall strong to edge the anchor swimmer from Pepperdine, Laura Graziano.
With the win over Pepperdine, LMU captured one point in the annual Wells Fargo PCH Cup standings.
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