BYU Women Secure MWC Regular Season Title
PROVO -- Even with back-to-back competition, the BYU women’s (16-1, 7-0) swimming team secured the regular season Mountain West Conference title with a 188-111 win over the Wyoming Cowgirls. The Cougar men (5-4, 3-3) fell to Wyoming 117-183, the first loss to the Cowboys in 21 years.
Sophomore Aleesha Miller broke the BYU pool record in the 50 free with a time of 23.07. The previous record was held by Amber Walter of Utah, set in 2006 (23.19).
“We had some excellent swims,” said BYU head coach Tim Powers. “Both teams swam very well. The men beat us in depth and in many events and came well prepared to face us. Our women always do well and I am very proud of them securing the regular season title.”
The men were led by Stott Bushnell, the freshman sensation, who not only won both of his events on Friday, but also won the 200 free on Saturday with a time of 1:41.38.
“Stott is an excellent swimmer,” said Powers. “He got the fans on their feet in every race he swam.”
Sophomore John Kendrick came from behind in both the 500 and 1000 free events to win both of them with respective times of 4:43.55 and 9:47.50.
BYU’s fastest sprinter, Gregor Greiner, won the 50 and 100 freestyle events with respective times of 20.90 and 45.86.
Sam Hatch battled on the boards, taking first in the 3-meter event with a score of 335.12. Hatch would be the only diver from BYU to win on the afternoon.
The 200 medley relay team of Candice Smith, Sara Jayne Christiansen, Rachel Grant and Miller started off the women’s events with a win in a time of 1:44.87.
Senior Leilani Roberts took the 200 free with a time of 1:52.07. Freshman Candice Smith won both the 100 and 200 backstroke events with respective times of 56.66 and 2:02.05.
Do-all Rachel Grant won all three of her events including the 200 fly (2:02.74), 200 IM (2:05.28) and the 100 fly (56.06). Sara Jayne Christiansen won the 200 breaststroke for the first time this season with a time of 2:23.67.
After breaking the BYU pool record in the 50 free, Miller also won the 100 free with a time of 50.87, only a tenth of a second off of the 100 free BYU pool record.
Defending MWC champion in the 500 free, Natasha Menezes won the 500 free with a time of 5:00.73.
To finish off the meet, the 400 free relay team of N. Menezes, Kirsty Ferrell, Roberts and Miller won with a time of 3:25.75.
The Cougar divers will next travel to Colorado Springs on Jan. 30-31 for the Air Force Diving Invitational, while the swimmers will take on Utah in Salt Lake City at 6:00 p.m. on Feb. 6.
Home Sweet Home
PROVO -- After being on the road for three months straight, the BYU men’s (4-3, 2-2) and women’s (14-1, 5-0) swim and dive teams will be back in Provo Friday and Saturday to respectively take on Air Force and Wyoming.
“It is going to be a challenging weekend of meets,” said BYU head coach Tim Powers. “Air Force will be a tough team to beat and Wyoming is a very good team all around.”
The Air Force women are 6-11 overall this season and 0-5 in the Mountain West Conference. The Air Force men are 7-9 overall this season and 1-1 in the MWC. At the Nike Cup in Nov. the Cougar men fell to UNLV (1249.5) as well as Air Force (1096.5), scoring 852.5 points to put them in third place in the competition.
The Wyoming Cowgirls are 8-1 overall and 2-1 in the conference, while the Cowboys are 9-1 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
The meets will be shortened to 13 events instead of 16 to leave the swimmers enough energy to compete two days in a row.
“Wyoming is a very good team, they are very strong in diving,” said Powers.
“It’s going to be our toughest week of competition for diving,” said BYU diving coach Keith Russell. “These are the best all-around teams we will face this season, making this meet a good barometer for how we’ll do in the conference.”
Their last time out, the BYU women came home with 11 out of 13 event wins against Colorado State. Natasha Menezes won the 1000 free (10:29.10) and the 500 free (5:05.88), Leilani Roberts won the 100 free (52.05) and 200 free (1:52.42).
The Cougar’s fastest female swimmer, Aleesha Miller, finished first in the 50 free with a time of 23.77. While MWC 400 IM record holder, Rachel Grant, placed first in the 200 IM with a time of 2:05.92. She also won the 100 fly with a time of 2:04.16.
Both of the diving events against the Rams were taken by Ava Jackman with a score of 288.30 on the 3-meter board and 280.80 on the 1-meter.
The last time the men were out was at the Nike Cup in November where Gregor Greiner went his fastest 50 free time ever, touching the wall at 20.91 in the finals.
Sophomore John Kendrick finished fifth in the 500 free at the Nike Cup with a time of 4:28.49. Kendrick also placed third in the 200 free with a time of 1:40.48.
Vytenis Slenys finished third in the 100 breast at the Nike Cup, touching the wall at 57.19, a season-high. Jacoby Jacobsen finished fourth in the 100 back with a time of 50.65. Jacobsen also finished fourth in the 200 back with a time of 1:50.17.
The 400 free relay of Greiner, Stott Bushnell, Kendrick and David Mason finished first at the Nike Cup with a time of 3:02.99.
After this weekend’s competition the divers will head to Colorado Springs for the Air Force Diving Invitational Jan. 30-31. The swimmers will next take on the Utes of Utah in Salt Lake City on Feb. 6 at 6:00 p.m. For updates and scores check www.byucougars.com.