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Laning's Win in 500 Free Highlights Day 2 of Pac-12 Championships

Feb 24, 2022

SEATTLE -- For the first time in her Sun Devil career, and at the last conference championships of her collegiate career, Erica Laning is a Pac-12 Champion.

The redshirt senior took the 500 free by storm, clinching a win at 4:38.80 on Day 2 of the Pac-12 Women's Swimming Championships for her season-best time that is currently the 10th fastest mark in the nation.

"I have a really great team behind me, honestly," an emotional Laning told the Pac-12 Network afterwards, "Emma [Nordin] obviously won it two years ago and she's been my training partner since I came to ASU, so just getting to train with her everyday has really been a phenomenal thing for me and has pushed me more than I really expected."

Laning becomes the fourth Women's swimmer in the Bob Bowman era to win an individual Pac-12 title, joining Nordin (500 free in 2020), Silja Kansakoski (100 breast in 2017 & 2019) and Mara Aiacoboae (platform diving 2017 & 2018).

After two nights of competition and eight events, the Sun Devils remain at No. 7 in the team standings with 236 points.

1. Stanford University                     648.5   
2. University of Southern Calif        549.5
3. University of California- Berk      486.5   
4. UC Los Angeles                          354
5. University of Arizona                   342.5   
6. Utah, University of                       250
7. Arizona State University              236   
8. Washington State University        158

Alongside Laning in the 500 free was Nordin, who finished eighth overall at 4:44.63. It's the third time in Nordin's prolific Sun Devil career that she's placed top-10 in the 500 free at the conference championships, including the title victory in 2020 and a fifth-place finish in 2019. Lindsay Looney touched the wall at 4:50.23 in the same event (No. 15 overall). At the two conference championships Looney has competed in, she's now added three top-15 finishes between the 100 & 200 fly and the 500 free.

The Sun Devils had additional representation in the nightcap, as Jade Foelske captured the C-Cut final in the 200 IM at a personal-best time of 1:58.97. Foelske finished 17th and Nora Deleske was 19th, sporting a season-best time of 1:59.40.

The Sun Devils, who didn't have any participants in the 50 free finals, ended the night with a seventh-place finish in the 200 free relay, with Natalia Fryckowska, Erin Milligan, Marte Lovberg and Elli Straume teaming up for a time of 1:31.19.

Back in Tucson, Zachory Lundgren and Thomas Wesche competed in the 1m preliminaries at the Men's Pac-12 Diving Championships. Lundgren finished 10th with a score of 253.05. and Wesche finished 15th at 225.75.

The two didn't qualify for the afternoon finals event, but head diving coach Marc Briggs is thrilled with the progression of his divers since their arrival to the program in early January.

"It was great to have ASU Diving compete at the Pac-12 Championships once again," he said. "With very limited training time this season they battled on Day 1 of competition, placing 10th and 15th on the 1-meter springboard."

Both will compete in the 3m prelims Friday afternoon at 1:55 p.m. MST, with finals scheduled for 4:15.

In the morning preliminary sessions, the Sun Devils had their best showing in the 500 yard free, in which redshirt seniors Laning and Nordin posted two of the top three times. Laning, who came in second behind Stanford's Morgan Tankersley, touched the wall at 4:41.11. Nordin, the former 2020 Pac-12 Champion in the 500 free, finished in third at 4:41.16.

Lindsay Looney qualified for the B-cut final in the 500 free at 4:49.28. Three Sun Devils qualified for the C-cut final of the 200 IM in Nora Deleske, Jade Foelske and Charli Brown, all who finished in the top-24.

No Sun Devils qualified for the finals in the 50 free.

Day 3 of the Women's Pac-12 Swimming Championships will begin at 11:30 a.m. MST with preliminaries in the 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast and 100 back. Finals for the events will begin at 7 p.m. plus the 400 medley relay immediately following.

To stay up to date with the Sun Devils all week in both Seattle and Tucson, follow the team's Twitter account, @ASUSwimDive.