STHS alum qualifies for swimming nationals |

STHS alum qualifies for swimming nationals

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Fresno State University junior Kristi Collins was razor sharp in her third appearance in the Western Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championships last week in San Antonio, Texas.

A premeet team-mandated body shave coupled with a tapering of workouts helped Collins set three lifetime bests and qualify for nationals as part of the Bulldogs’ 400 medley relay.

“We finally got to shave and taper for this meet. Oct. 1 was the last time we could shave,” said Collins, a South Tahoe High alum. “It’s a team tradition and just mentally it makes a huge difference. It feels so good in the water to have no hair on your body.”

Collins responded by placing eighth in the 200-yard butterfly with a lifetime best of 2 minutes, 6.69 seconds. Preliminary heats determined the top eight swimmers who competed in the finals.

“That was my first final since I’ve been in college,” Collins said. “To get up there and stand on the podium was really neat. It makes me have higher goals for next year.”

Collins also swam lifetime bests in placing 11th in the 100-yard butterfly (57.82) and in finishing 16th in the 200-yard individual medley (2:09.06, prelims).

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Fresno State’s 200 and 400 medley relays, with Collins swimming the third leg in each, came in fifth and sixth, respectively. The relay teams nearly eclipsed school records with their times of 3:51.46 and 1:45.39 in the finals.

The 400 free team qualified for the April 1-5 nationals in Indianapolis, providing Collins with her first trip to the championships.

“I wanted to qualify for nationals individually but making it in the relay is almost more exciting because you get to go there with three other girls and it’s a team thing,” Collins said.

Collins scored 18 points in her three individual events and her two relay teams combined for 54 points. The Bulldogs finished fifth with 403.5 points, as Southern Methodist won its seventh straight WAC title.

The University of Nevada finished second as Douglas High graduate Charlene Rigdon placed sixth in both the 100- and 200-yard backstrokes and swam on two relay teams that placed to help the Wolf Pack score 659 points. It was the Pack’s fourth straight runner-up finish.

Konnie Seamons, another Douglas graduate, finished 17th in the 100 freestyle with a 53.82 clocking Saturday.

Devon Owen won a gold medal for Nevada on Friday with a score of 500.70 in the three-meter diving finals. Leticia Cunha was also second for the Wolf Pack the same day in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:02.22.

The SMU Mustangs earned 16 gold medals and won the team title with 1,006.5 points, the first WAC team to break the 1,000-point plateau.

For complete results on the meet, see

— The Nevada Appeal contributed to this story.