Swimming: Tixier cleans up at nationals

Christine Tixier named NAIA swimmer of the year


Junior Christine Tixier glides through the water with the breaststroke during the dual meet against Azusa Pacific on November 2. | Ashleigh Fox/THE CHIMES

Katie Nelson, Writer

Junior Christine Tixier glides through the water with the breaststroke during the dual meet against Azusa Pacific on November 2. Tixier was named NAIA swimmer of the year. | Ashleigh Fox/THE CHIMES [file photo]


Junior Christine Tixier closed out Biola’s appearance at the NAIA National Swimming Championships in Oklahoma City this weekend by garnering the coveted NAIA Swimmer of the Year award.

“I was so surprised,” Tixier said. “It was a weird feeling to get the award because I’m not used to getting an award at the end of a meet.”

The five-time butterfly national champion broke the meet record with a 54.35 in the 100 fly. She also snagged first overall in the women’s 200 individual medley with a 2:04.48, shedding nearly three seconds from her prelim time.

Tixier’s winning time of 2:01.53 in the 200 fly was only 0.12 seconds shy of the meet record, set by Kaylen Hewko of Azusa Pacific University in 2011. Tixier’s upcoming season will be her last, and she has several goals.

“I’d like to get the NAIA record for the 200 fly,” she said. “I kind of want to try other [events] too and see what I can do.”

In addition to Tixier, other Eagles broke records at nationals. Freshman Chad LeJeune beat teammate and sophomore Austin Sarna’s school record in the men’s 200 breaststroke. Sarna set the record at the NAIA championships in 2012.

Biola took sixth in the women’s 200-yard medley relay, with sophomore Sarah Shepard, junior Megan Nerud, Tixier and sophomore Angela Kirschner comprising the team. The same group later placed fifth in the 400 medley relay, beating out Concordia University Irvine by two seconds.

Another all-female Eagles relay team — including Kirschner, Tixier and sophomores Victoria Andreas and Abby Blake — placed fourth in the 800 freestyle relay with a 7:44.58, slashing 15 seconds off its seed time. Blake also nabbed seventh place in the championship heat of the 200 breast, shaving less than a second off of her 2:29.71 prelim time to reach 2:29.01.

Juniors Austin Sarna and Michael Severi, along with sophomore Brandon Hughes and freshman Matthew Flodin, competed in the men’s 800 freestyle relay. The team settled into 12th place out of 16 possible.

Finishing out the meet for Biola was the women’s 400 freestyle relay, consisting of Nerud, Kirschner, Tixier and freshman Victoria Turner. The team pulled seventh place, beating out the College of Idaho by nearly four seconds. 

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