Cougars fall short at Utah
SALT LAKE CITY -- The BYU men and women swimming teams dropped both of the meets with the University of Utah and by so doing the men shared the regular season title with the Utes and the Utah women won the regular season championship outright. The Cougars fell behind early, losing both relays to begin the meet and eventually fell 155-88 for the women and 135-108 for the men.
The Utah teams both began the meet in skin suits which surprised both Cougar coaches but neither used the faster suits for the reason of the losses.
"We should have been better prepared, and that's my fault," men's head coach Tim Powers said. "We didn't expect them to be wearing the fast suits, but that is still no excuse."
"Those are the kinds of results you can have when you show up in skin suits and are well rested," women's head coach Stan Crump said. "We'll get another chance at them again in three weeks; today they just wanted it worse than we did."
The women were beaten to the wall in all but one event of the evening. BYU went one-two-three in the 200 breast led by freshman Jamie Bloom's 2:20.23. She was followed by senior Melanie Grant and sophomore Kiersten Braithwaite finishing with times of 2:22.78 and 2:23.70.
The most noteworthy performance of the evening for the Cougar women was freshman diver Angela Nelson. Despite finding out earlier in the day that a friend from back home in Texas had been killed in an automobile accident, Nelson managed to place first on the 1-meter with a score of 289.13 and second on the 3-meter with a score of 271.87.
"Our women really overcame a lot to dive, and overall I think they did well," diving coach Keith Russell said.
The men were also only able to capture two first place finishes on the evening. Senior Kenny Carpenter closed in the last 10 yards to overtake Utah's Matan Ratz in the 200 free, finishing the event with a time of 1:41.56. The men's final relay team also took the top spot scoring of time of 3:04.85 in the 400 free relay.
Sophomore Mark Chay showed why he is one of the toughest competitors in the Mountain West Conference and reigning two-time MWC swimmer of the week when he re-aggravated a sprained ankle suffered a week and a half ago. Chay turned his ankle when pushing off the blocks in the men's 200 IM, the fifth event for the men on the evening. After icing the ankle on the bench for a while, Chay returned to the pool to compete in the tenth event for the men, the 500 free. The native of Singapore led the event until the last few lengths of the pool, but still managed to place second with a time of 4:47.50
The swimmers will now spend the next few weeks in preparation for the Mountain West Conference Championships being held in Oklahoma City, Feb. 23-26. The divers will have one more meet in preparation of the championships; a match up with the divers of Stanford University on Friday, in Provo.
State bragging rights and regular season title is on the line
PROVO -- BYU will face the University of Utah on Friday with more than just state bragging rights on the line - the final meet of the regular season for both squads will determine the regular season Mountain West Conference title. The meet will begin at 6 p.m. with the Cougars traveling up to Salt Lake to face the Utes.
"I expect this meet to be tough," men's head coach Tim Powers said. "They have some outstanding swimmers and are always tough at home."
The Cougar men have been on a roll all season and have remained at a perfect 6-0 record. BYU is the highest ranked team in the MWC, currently standing at no. 19 in the country. The men could wrap up their flawless regular season with a win over the Utes for the out right title of regular season conference champion. The men are led by senior Kenny Carpenter, and sophomores Mark Chay and Brett Allen.
Since joining the team in January, Allen has captured first place finishes in both the 50 and 100 free. Chay, a member of the 2004 Singapore Olympic team and reigning MWC swimmer of the week, has already swam an NCAA provisional qualifying time in the 200 free and is second in the MWC in the 200 IM. Carpenter is second on the team in individual wins behind Chay with many of the wins coming in the 100 and 200 fly.
The Cougars will also look to garner points from their divers. Senior Scott Randall is coming off one of his best showings of the year with three first place finishes and a second place finish against the University of Wyoming and Air Force Academy. The performance earned Randall the title of MWC diver of the week.
The women's chances of a regular season conference title teeter on the outcome of the meet with the Utes. A win for the Cougars would mean a share of the regular season title, whereas a loss would mean Utah's first out right regular season conference title in 10 years. Although the stakes are high, women's swimming head coach Stan Crump is looking more at the conference championships at the end of the month in Oklahoma City.
"Our team is focused on winning a Mountain West Conference championship," Crump said. "Although we may be looking ahead I still expect our girls to get in and compete, this is our last meet and our last chance to prepare for the championships."
The women are coming off of the two biggest wins of the season with a 151.5-91.5 over Wyoming and a 154-74 score over the Falcons of the Air Force Academy. Freshman athletes shined for the Cougars in the meets with individual victories from U-Nice Chan, Jamie Bloom and Angela Nelson.
Nelson had a particularly dominant weekend with first place finishes on both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboards against Wyoming and Air Force. Bloom had wins in both the 100 and 200 breast events while Chan was tops in the 200, 500 and 1000 free.
Both the men and the women came away from the meet last year with wins and will look to repeat the success of last year when the red-blue rivalry game commences Friday night at 6 p.m. in Salt Lake.