UW Swimming and Diving Opens Second Half of Season in Style

Jan. 6, 2007

IRVINE, Calif. -

The Wyoming swimming and diving team opened the second half of its season by competing in two meets Saturday as a part of the 28th annual UC Irvine/Ayres Hotel and Suites Invitationals at the Anteater Aquatics Complex in Irvine, Calif. The two meets included a sprints invite and a distance invite.

Both the Cowboy and Cowgirl swimming and diving teams placed second in the sprints invitational while the men placed second and the women third in the distance portion of the invite.

The Cowboys finished behind UC Irvine in both invites while the Cowgirls finished behind Washington in the sprints invite and Washington and UC Irvine in the distance invite. Altogether there were 12 women's teams and seven men's teams competing in the sprints invite and nine women's and six men's teams in the distance invite.

"This was a huge meet with a ton of teams and a lot of swimming. We were in the water from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. which was a great way to open the second half of our season," said UW swimming and diving coach Tom Johnson. "We were a little rusty after over a month of strictly training but this was a good way to knock that rust off before the biggest portion of our dual schedule begins later this month."

In the sprints invite, the Cowboys were led by sophomore Alex Larkin who won an event and placed second in two others. Larkin won the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:08.12 and placed second in both the 50 (26.61) and 100 (57.81) breaststroke events. Sophomore Eli Bell had a very busy day and placed fifth in the 200 backstroke (1:58.75), sixth in the 200 freestyle (1:44.89), seventh in the 100 freestyle (48.05) and 12th in the 50 freestyle (22.47). Other Cowboys who led the Pokes in an event included sophomore Sam Shook who placed second in the 200 IM (1:57.78) and eighth in the 100 backstroke (54.87), senior Ron Fogel who placed third in the 200 butterfly (1:54.00) and junior Matt Urich who placed second in the 100 butterfly (51.96) and fifth in the 50 butterfly (24.05). Another top finish for the Cowboys came from a new face in sophomore transfer Devin Hougardy who placed fourth in the 50 backstroke in a time of 25.79.

Urich led the Pokes in the distance invite, winning the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:42.68. Other top Cowboys on the day included junior Levi Bell who placed fourth in the 400 IM (4:12.00) and freshman Robbie Hilton who placed second in the 1650 freestyle (16:22.22).

The Cowgirls relied on a team effort in the sprints invite as nine different women led the Cowgirls in an event. Leading the way with three top finishes was senior Heidi Thorson. She placed second in the 50 (26.23) and 100 butterfly (57.79) and fourth in the 50 backstroke (28.55). Sophomore Aimee Stinson and senior Erin Spadinger each led the Cowgirls in two events apiece. Stinson placed second in the 200 backstroke (2:12.70) and fifth in the 200 freestyle (1:55.02) while Spadinger placed third in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.05) and 50 breaststroke (30.70). Other Cowgirls who led the team in an event included freshman Jessica Fruhwirth who placed second in the 200 breaststroke (2:22.87), freshman Cassie Stelow who placed third in the 50 freestyle (24.87), senior Lauren Beard who placed fourth in the 200 IM (2:14.40), freshman Kari Budd who placed fifth in the 200 butterfly (2:13.04), senior Tamara Lehnertz who placed fifth in the 100 freestyle (54.17) and freshman Olena Moher who placed sixth in the 100 backstroke (1:02.26).

In the distance invite, a pair of Cowgirls swam to second place finishes in Lehnertz and sophomore Krista Jones. Lehnertz placed second in the 500 freestyle (5:10.71) and Jones placed second in the 1650 freestyle (17:40.54). Budd was also the highest Cowgirl finisher in a distance event as she placed seventh in the 400 IM (4:42.50).

The weekend will conclude for the UW swimmers with the relay portion of the invitational beginning Sunday morning at 11 a.m. (Mountain Time).