By Paul Freelend
Ali Petersen led the UNO swim team with two individual national championships as the Mavericks finished sixth at the NCAA Division II Nationals meet in Orlando, Fla.
Petersen won UNO’s first national championship in the 100 meter backstroke, winning the event in 55.60 seconds, a time that was .11 seconds short of the national record. Petersen completed her double with a win in the 200 backstroke, setting a new Division II record with a 1:58.38 and obliterating the previous record of 2:00.54, set in 1998. Tasha Soby placed fourth for UNO in the 100 backstroke (57.56) and sixth in the 200 backstroke (2:05.90).
UNO took sixth place in the team competition with 309 points, finishing four points behind fifth-place North Dakota. Truman State won their second straight Division II women’s title with 733 points. The Mavericks finished 102 points ahead of seventh-placed Clarion University.
Jamie Haferbier, after setting a school record in the 100 freestyle preliminary round with a 51.49, finished seventh in the event finals with a 51.96. She also finished fourth in the 200 freestyle with a 1:51.03. Haferbier teamed up with sister Jodie Haferbier, as well as Soby and Petersen, to take fourth in the 400 freestyle relay in a school record time of 3:30.67 and joined Katie Liebmann, Veronica Barna and Stacy Crook to finish seventh in the 800 freestyle relay with a 7:41.74.
UNO’s 200 freestyle relay team of Sarah Clark, Trina Larson, Soby and Martina Zamecnik finished fourth with a time of 1:51.03 and the 200 medley relay team of Petersen, Jamie Haferbier, Zamecnik and Soby finished second with a 1:45.74. Aja Wurth placed eighth in the one-meter diving event and seventh in the three-meter event.
Overall, the Mavericks left the meet with 11 different swimmers who garnered All-American honors. Petersen, Clark, Zamecnik, Larson, Soby, Jamie Haferbier, Jodie Haferbier, Barna, Crook, Liebmann and Wurth all turned in performances that merited All-American mention. UNO’s sixth-place finish is the best ever at nationals in the program’s history, beating 10th-place finishes in the last two years and a 14th-place finish the year before.