Wyoming Divers Excel During the First Day of the 2006 MWC Championships

Feb. 22, 2006


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Four University of Wyoming divers finished in the top-five of the 1-meter diving event and helped place the Cowboys third and the Cowgirls sixth following the opening day of the 2006 Mountain West Conference Swimming and Diving Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla.

After the first day of competition, Utah leads the women's field with 105 team points. The Utes are followed by BYU (94), TCU (77), Colorado State (74), UNLV (71), Wyoming (70), New Mexico (65), Air Force (45) and San Diego State (44).

The Cowgirl divers had an outstanding day as sophomore Brittany Wainwright finished third in the 1-meter event with a score of 256.95. Junior Emily Keefer was right behind and placed fifth with a score of 250.40. Sophomore Ginni van Katwijk and junior Saara Haapanen also scored points for the Cowgirls as van Katwijk placed ninth (246.45) and Haapanen returned from an injury to place 14th (222.95).

On the swimming side of the meet, the highlight for the Cowgirls came in the 800 freestyle relay as freshman Aimee Stinson, junior Katie Bigger, sophomore Lindsey Russenberger and junior Tamara Lehnertz set a new school record with a fifth place time of 7:32.16. The Cowgirls eclipsed the old school record by 4.6 seconds.

Utah also jumped out to an early lead on the men's side by scoring 104 teams points. BYU is currently second with 94 points and are followed by Wyoming (92), TCU (87), UNLV (80) and Air Force (78).

The Cowboy divers also had a tremendous day as all three finished in the top-ten of the 1-meter event. Leading the way for the Pokes was junior Kevin Bretting who finished third with a score of 289.40. Junior John Lynch finished a close fourth with a score of 287.95. Freshman Tyler Miller also scored points and finished tenth with a score of 255.85.

On the blocks, the Cowboy relay teams had a solid day in the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays. The 800 freestyle relay team of sophomore Henry Holmberg, freshman Matt Urich, junior Ron Fogel and freshman Eli Bell placed fifth with a time of 6:41.23, the fourth fastest in UW history. The Cowboys also swam the 10th fastest time in school history (1:32.79) in the 200 medley relay but placed sixth. Swimming the medley relay were freshmen Sam Shook and Alex Larkin, Fogel and Bell.

"Our divers were outstanding today," said UW swimming and diving coach Tom Johnson. "Every one of them scored points today which is huge. Having four of our kids finish in the top-five really shows how talented our diving is.

"On the swimming side, I thought our kids worked really hard. It was a solid day, but there is a lot of work to be done in the next three days. I am proud of how we did today but we need to keep battling."

The championships will continue tomorrow with preliminary events beginning at 10 a.m. and the finals beginning at 6 p.m. (Central time). Scheduled events include the 500 freestyle, 200 IM, 50 freestyle, men's 3-meter diving and the 200 freestyle relay.