By Mason Nesbitt, TMU Sports Information Director
What freshman Journey Werner enjoys most about the backstroke is the view.
“I love it when I see my opponents next to me waving their arms, and I immediately tell myself to beat them,” Werner said. “The next second, I’m pulling ahead, to the point where I can’t see their arms anymore.”
Werner hit the NAIA qualifying standard in the 100-yard backstroke Friday at the Pacific Collegiate Swim and Dive Conference Finals in La Mirada.
It was Werner’s second individual NAIA cut in as many days. She did it in the 50 free on Thursday, as did teammate Caroline Barnett.
Barnett qualified for her second individual event Friday as well, posting a time of 59.57 seconds in the 100 butterfly.
“I’m excited to have the chance to compete against athletes from all over the country,” Barnett said. “I’m even more motivated moving forward these next weeks.”
Barnett and Werner will be joined in Columbus, Georgia, in two weeks by several teammates, the Mustangs having qualified three relays to date.
The latest came Friday when Barnett, Werner, Alisal Perez and Faith Cancik finished the 400-medley relay in 4 minutes, 26.78 seconds, well below the NAIA cutoff.
Master’s had already qualified in the 200-medley and 200-free relays during the program’s first-ever intercollegiate competition in late January. Gabe Woodward, TMU director of aquatics, has only seen the program’s energy grow since then.
“The team has done a tremendous job encouraging each other and watching each other make nationals,” Woodward said. “It’s been a great team effort.”