Juniors Yawen Li and Krysta Palmer earned honorable mention All-America accolades Friday after qualifying to B finals in their respective events at the NCAA Championships. Li placed ninth in the 400-yard IM and Palmer placed 10th in the three-meter springboard to lead the Wolf Pack in the second day of competition at the Greensboro Aquatics Center.
Three Wolf Pack student-athletes represented Nevada in the second day of competition. Li – the Mountain West Swimmer of the Year – won the 400 IM B final to place ninth overall with a program and MW record time of 4:05.56. Palmer – the MW Diver of the Year – placed second in the B final and 10th overall with a score of 359.60 in the three-meter springboard dive. Sophomore Teresa Baerens placed 26th in the 200-yard freestyle to notch her highest career NCAA finish.
Palmer and Li scored a combined 16 points for Nevada today as the Wolf Pack sits in 31st place.
“I'm so proud of how Krysta, Yawen and Teresa represented Nevada today,” said MW Coach of the Year Abby Steketee. “They competed with passion and stuck to their strategies instead of losing themselves in the pressure of NCAAs. It was great to see Nevada pop up on the scoreboard, and we're intent on earned more points tomorrow.”
Li, a two-time all-conference selection, opened the day by placing fourth in her heat and ninth overall in the preliminary heat of the 400 IM in 4:07.29. The Wuhan, China, native came within three-tenths of a second from qualifying to the A finals, but capitalized by swimming Nevada's fastest-ever time in 400 IM the B finals.
Li touched the wall in 4:05.56 to place first in the B finals, breaking her own program record by just under two seconds while setting a MW overall record. Li also placed 32nd in the 200-yard IM on Thursday.
Palmer, a native of Carson City, placed 16th in the three-meter preliminaries with 322.65 points to advance to the NCAA B finals for the first time in her collegiate career. The two-time All-MW selection improved her score by nearly 37 points to place second in the B finals and 10th overall with a score of 359.60.
Baerens achieved her best career NCAA finish after placing 26th in the 200-yard freestyle preliminary. The Ottoburn, Germany, native and two-time All-MW selection touched the wall in 1:46.13 – Nevada's second fastest time in the event in program history.
Competition at the NCAA Championships will conclude on Saturday with prelims beginning at 8 a.m. PT and finals at 4 p.m. Li will compete in the 200-yard breaststroke, Palmer will compete in the platform dive and Baerens will compete in the 100-yard freestyle.