Usher Wins 200 Breaststroke At 2004 MWC Championships

Feb. 21, 2004

Laramie, Wyo. - The University of Wyoming men'sand women's swimming and diving teams closed out the 2004 MountainWest Conference Championships, in Oklahoma City, Okla., with fifth andsixth place finishes.

BYU captured its fifth straight MWC Championship on both the men'sand women's side of the meet. The men's team finished with 775.50points, followed by Air Force (612.50), UNLV (606), Utah (583) andWyoming (505). The women tallied 725 points, besting second-placeColorado State (607.50). UNLV finished third in women's action with578 points, followed by Utah (499), New Mexico (376), Wyoming (326),Air Force (295) and San Diego State (231.50).

The Cowboys were led by junior Scott Usher for the second day in arow as he cruised to a MWC Championship in the 200 breaststroke. Hewon the event in a time of 1:56.69, a new MWC Championship record,breaking his own mark from last year. Senior Jon McNeely closed outhis Wyoming career with a fifth place time of 2:02.20 in the event,the third fastest time in school history.

Freshman Ron Fogel set a new Wyoming record in the 200 butterfly witha second place time of 1:47.62. His time preliminarily qualifies himfor the NCAA Championships. Sophomore Gene Birks placed fifth in theevent with a time of 1:49.95.

Birks finished fourth and junior Grant Kritzinger placed sixth in the100 freestyle with respective times of 45.49 and 45.66. Freshman EmreAydin finished fifth in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 16:01.13.

The 400 freestyle relay team of Kritzinger, Birks, junior BrycePerica and sophomore Brent Baker finished fourth with a time of3:03.72.

In platform diving action, freshman John Lynch finished third with ascore of 360.75. Junior Adam Miller finished fifth with a score of324.25 and Kevin Bretting placed eighth with a score 283.10.

On the women's side of the meet, sixth place finishes by freshmanLauren Beard and senior Ashley Mallett were the top Cowgirl finishesof the day. Beard placed sixth in the 200 backstroke with a time of2:05.76. Mallett finished her career at Wyoming with a sixth placetime of 2:06.43 in the 200 butterfly.

The 400 freestyle relay team of senior Katie Haywood, freshman KattieBigger, sophomore Sam Michelena and freshman Tamara Lehnertz swam aseventh place time of 3:30.49, the second fastest time in Wyominghistory.

Freshman Saara Haapanen placed eighth on the platform diving boardwith a score of 284.35.

"Overall I'm disappointed with the fifth place finish on themen's side but we did some very impressive things," said UW headcoach Tom Johnson. "We just need to continue to get better as ateam.

"On the women's side we did much better than we did last year andI am happy about that. We just need to continue getting better andgood things will come to us."

Usher was selected as the 2004 MWC Men's Swimmer of the Year afterwinning both the 100 and 200 breaststrokes in record times. TomJohnson was also recognized by the conference, as he was selected asthe 2004 MWC Men's Co-Coach of the Year with BYU head coach TimPowers .

Six Wyoming divers, Adam Miller, John Lynch, Kevin Bretting, SaaraHaapanen, Emily Keefer and Shea Boyle will return to action at theNCAA Zone "E" Diving Championships Mar. 11-13 in Oklahoma City,Okla. Scott Usher and possibly a few other swimmers will compete atthe 2004 NCAA Championships Mar. 25-27 in East Meadows, N.Y.

Women's Team Scores1.  BYU7252.  Colorado State607.503.  UNLV5784.  Utah4995.  New Mexico3766.  Wyoming3267.  Air Force2958.  San Diego State231.50

Men's Team Scores1. BYU775.502. Air Force612.503. UNLV6064. Utah5835. Wyoming505

*see complete results at*