Birmingham, Ala. – Three All-American performances from Fresno Pacific's Maxim Shcherbakov, Daria Belova and Laura Fornshell highlighted the final day of the 2017 NCAA Division II Swimming and Diving Championships on Saturday at the CrossPlex.
The Sunbirds placed ninth in the men's meet with 156 points and 10th in the women's with 167 points. The pair of top-10 finishes each mark a program-best at the four-day championships. Both programs were also the top finishers out of all West Region schools. Queens University won both titles.
"This week was momentous for our program," said head coach Josh Christensen. "This is a very challenging meet and to be top-10 with both teams is pretty special. We're one of six programs in the nation and the only one in the West Region to do that."
Shcherbakov finished off a tremendous meet and earned a second runner-up finish at the championships, as the junior placed second in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 1:54.28. The mark lowered his own school record. Shcherbakov, who finished third in the event last season, held the second position for the entire race and finished behind two-time defending national champion Anton Lobanov. Shcherbakov was the national runner-up in the 100 breast earlier in the meet on Friday.
Belova also impressed in the 200 breast and finished sixth overall with a time of 2:14.82. She was seeded third in the finals after swimming to a time of 2:14.30 in the prelims.
Fornshell was the final Sunbird to earn All-American honors on the day, as the freshman finished fifth in the 1650 free. She touched with a time of 16:42.44, which lowered her own school record and dropped more than five seconds off her prelim time.
Aleksei Averchenko set another school record for FPU as well, as the freshman jumped to the top of the 200 backstroke list with a time of 1:46.78. He finished third in the consolation finals and 11th overall to receive All-American Honorable Mention honors.
The meet was capped off by a tremendous race from the 400 free relay team of Samantha Woo, Matlyn Morris, Olivia Hynes and Fornshell. The group touched second in the consolation finals for a 10th overall placement at 3:25.46. The time broke the school record and was highlighted by splits of 51.31 from Morris, a senior, and 50.22 from the anchor Fornshell.
"Our women finishing with a school record was a perfect ending to the week," said Christensen. "We wanted to send Matlyn out in the right way and I'm so happy we could do that."
Earlier in the day, Dmitry Belolipetskiy finished the 100 free with a time of 44.92 and placed 25th overall. The 400 free relay team of Belolipetskiy, Luka Barisic, Averchenko and Austin Hussain also finished in 23rd with a time of 3:03.37.
All told, the Sunbirds produced 27 All-Americans at the meet and 11 school records. All 13 student-athletes from FPU scored points as well.
"We had many tremendous individual swims this week, but in the end this is a team meet. All year long we've competed as a team and for each other," said Christensen. "That type of team focus fueled a pretty special season and that's what we'll look to in order to keep improving and growing as a program."
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Release courtesy Sunbird Athletics