Usher and Birks Win Titles at MWC Championships

Feb. 20, 2004

LARAMIE, Wyo. - The University of Wyoming men'sand women's swimming and diving teams remain in fifth and sixthplace, respectively, after the third day of competition at the 2004Mountain West Conference Championships.

Four-time defending conference champion BYU leads the men's andwomen's field with 521 and 497 points, respectively, after daythree. UNLV trails the Cougars in men's action with 430 points,followed by Air Force (401), Utah (390) and Wyoming (306). The Ramshold the No. 2 spot in the women's events with 422.50 points,followed by UNLV (399), Utah (353), New Mexico (245), Wyoming (201),Air Force (197) and San Diego State (157.50).

The Cowboys were led by junior Scott Usher and sophomore Gene Birkswho each won events in record times. Usher set a new MWC and Wyomingrecord in the 100 breaststroke with an NCAA qualifying time of 53.79.He breaks his own mark of 54.19 from a year ago.

Birks won the 100 butterfly in a Wyoming record time of 48.04, aprovisional NCAA qualifying mark. He breaks Buddy Boysen's recordof 48.48 set in 2001.

The Cowboy 400 medley relay team had a great race and placed secondwith a provisional NCAA qualifying mark of 3:18.03. Maclean, Usher,Birks and junior Grant Kritzinger swam the event. Senior Jon McNeelyplaced sixth in the 400 IM with a time of 4:02.17. Junior GrantKritzinger placed fifth in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:40.36.

On the women's side of the meet, freshman Lauren Beard was thehighest Cowgirl finisher of the day, for the second day in a row. Sheplaced fifith in the 400 IM with a time of 4:27.59, the second fastesttime in school history. Freshman Saara Haapanen placed sixth on the3-meter diving board with a score of 427.35, the third highest scorein Wyoming history. Freshman Erin Spadinger swam the second fastest100 breaststroke in school history, a tenth place time of 1:05.24.

The final day of competition at the MWC Championships will begintomorrow morning with preliminary action beginning at 10 a.m. andfinal action getting under way at 6 p.m. (Central time).

Men's Team Scores 1.  BYU5212.  UNLV4303.  Air Force4014.  Utah3905.  Wyoming306

Women's Team Scores1. BYU4972. Colorado State4223. UNLV3994. Utah3535. New Mexico2456. Wyoming2017. Air Force1978. San Diego State157

*see complete results at*