Cowgirl Swimming and Diving Wraps Up Dual Season with Win over Air Force

Feb. 4, 2006

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

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The University of Wyoming women's swimming and diving team used the diving boards to jump out to an early lead on Air Force, then cruised past the Falcons in the swimming portion of their Mountain West Conference dual meet, to beat Air Force 142-91 Saturday afternoon at Corbett Pool.

Altogether, the Cowgirls won 12 of 13 events to close out their dual season with an overall record of 6-7 and a MWC mark of 3-5.

The Cowgirls dominated the diving boards and swept both events. Leading the way in 1-meter was junior Emily Keefer who qualified for the NCAA Zone "E" Diving Championships with the third highest score in school history of 272.33. Brittany Wainwright placed second, with the fourth highest score in school history (271.05) and Ginni van Katwijk placed third (251.70). In 3-meter, Wainwright led the Cowgirls with a first place score of 285.75. Keefer placed second (262.88) and van Katwijk placed third (245.03).

The Cowgirls won the first relay of the day as they swam to a time of 3:59.27 in the 400 medley relay. Competing for the Cowgirls were sophomores Rachel Leyes and Lindsey Russenberger and juniors Heidi Thorson and Katie Bigger. Freshman Aimee Stinson had another solid day as she won both distance freestyle events, and did so in over a combined 28 seconds. She won the 1000 in a time of 10:41.10 and then swam a 5:12.43 in the 500. Junior Katie Bigger had a great meet for the Cowgirls, as she swam to a pair of first place finishes. Her first win came in the 200 freestyle where she swam to a time of 1:59.18. She then won the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:15.40. Another solid event for the Cowgirls was the 50 freestyle where Thorson placed first in a time of 24.50 and senior Kenzie Kotby placed second, on her senior day, with a time of 25.08. Other first place finishes for the Cowgirls came from junior Lauren Beard in the 200 IM (2:11.90) and sophomore Rachel Leyes in the 200 backstroke (2:12.49). They also swam the fastest time in the 200 breaststroke as junior Erin Spadinger swam a time of 2:27.09, but swam the event as an exhibition. The also swam an exhibition in the 400 freestyle relay, but their time of 3:40.19 was the fastest of the day.

"I am really happy about how the women swam," said UW head coach Tom Johnson. "We were missing a couple of kids who are sick, but everyone pulled together and really stepped up. Katie Bigger really stepped up, despite not feeling 100 percent herself, and had a gutsy meet. The whole team really had a good day."

The Cowboys had a chance to win their dual with Air Force as they trailed by just 12 points heading into the final relay, but were unable to take the lead and lost the dual by a final score of 132-111. With the loss the Cowboys wrap up the season with an overall record of 1-6 and an 0-5 MWC dual record.

The Cowboys also had a dominating day on the diving boards, which was capped with a sweep in the 3-meter event. Junior Kevin Bretting had the event of the day as he earned his zone qualification in 3-meter diving. His score of 317.85 was good for a first place finish. Junior John Lynch placed second (309.45) and freshman Tyler Miller placed third (277.05). In the 1-meter event, Lynch placed first with a score of 312.53.

The swim of the day for the Cowboys came in the 500 freestyle as sophomore Henry Holmberg beat the 2005 MWC Men's Swimmer of the Year, Chris Knaute, by over two seconds. Holmberg finished with a time of 4:37.03. Junior Ron Fogel and freshman Alex Larkin also each won an event on the day. Fogel swam to a first place time of 1:54.93 in the 200 butterfly while Larkin won the 200 breaststroke in a time of 2:08.83.

"The guys had an opportunity to win the meet, but we didn't quite have the fire power down the stretch," added Johnson. "However, I thought we had a pretty good day. Henry had a huge 500 freestyle and beat a guy who doesn't lose very often.

"I thought both diving teams had another spectacular day. I am so proud of both Emily and Kevin for getting the zone qualification and for how well the whole team did today."

The swimming and diving team will now begin their final preparations for the 2006 Mountain West Conference Swimming and Diving Championships. The championships will begin on Wednesday, February 22 and run through Saturday, February 25. They will be held in Oklahoma City Oklahoma on the campus of the Oklahoma City Community College.