Suzanna Gonzalez, a senior from Trabuco Canyon, Calif., became the Mustangs’ first-ever NAIA National Champion swimmer when she won Thursday evening’s women’s 500-yard freestyle final at the 2018 NAIA Swimming & Diving National Championships in Columbus, Ga.
Gonzalez, last year’s national runner-up, swam a school-record time of 4:56.15 for a six-second victory margin over Karla Islas of Olivet Nazarene University, who finished as the runner-up in 5:02.86.
Gonzalez broke her previous Morningside record of 4:59.70 that she set with the fastest time in the field in Thursday morning’s prelims. Gonzalez was the Morningside record holder with a time of 5:00.00 going into the NAIA National Championships.
Gonzalez earned NAIA All-America honors for the third time in her Morningside career with her 500-yard freestyle national championship effort.
Gonzalez helped lead the Mustangs to a 14th place finish in the women’s 400-yard medley relay, where Veronica Mullen, a junior from Omaha, Neb.; Jessyca Huff, a sophomore from Castle Rock, Colo.; and Tessa Renze, a freshman from Omaha, swam the first three legs for a team that finished with a time of 4:10.44. They set a school record in the prelims with a time of 4:09.23 to break the former Morningside standard of 4:10.25 set in 2012.
Morningside placed 12th in the men’s 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:26.88 from the quartet of Jake Kohorst, a sophomore from Elk River, Minn.; Billy Salber, a sophomore from Omaha, Neb.; Brenndan Gorski, a freshman from Sioux City, and John Dieter, a senior from Carroll, Iowa.
The Mustangs placed 13th in the men’s 400-yard medley relay, where Kohorst, George Weiss, a junior from Council Bluffs, Iowa, Salber and Dieter combined for a school-record time of 3:32.48. They broke the former Morningside record of 3:33.48 set in 2015.
Morningside had several swimmers compete in Thursday morning’s prelims.
Salber finished 34th in the men’s 200-yard individual medley prelims with a time of 2:03.22.
Dieter and Kohorst finished 36th and 38th in the men’s 50-yard freestyle prelims with times of 21.94 and 22.07 seconds, respectively.
Emma Hansen, a freshman from Fort Collins, Colo., finished 38th in the women’s 50-yard freestyle prelims with a time of 25.78 seconds.
Morningside was disqualified in the women’s 200-yard freestyle prelims.
The NAIA Swimming & Diving National Championships will continue through Saturday.