Wyoming Swimming and Diving Opens MWC Championships With Three School Relay Records

Feb. 23, 2005

Laramie, Wyo. (February 23, 2005) -- The University of Wyoming men's and women's swimming and diving teams each had an exceptional first day at the 2005 Mountain West Conference Championships as the men finished the day in second place and the women in third, at the Oklahoma City Community College in Oklahoma City, Okla.

BYU jumped out to early leads in both men's and women's action in pursuit of their sixth consecutive MWC Championship. The BYU men earned 122 team points and are followed by Wyoming (109), Utah (107), UNLV (70) and Air Force (65). BYU's women scored 108 teams points and are followed by New Mexico (90), Wyoming (89), Utah (87), UNLV (84), Colorado State (74), San Diego State (49) and Air Force (46).

The Cowboys swam to a second and third place relay finish on the day as they placed second in the 800 freestyle relay and third in the 200 medley relay, setting new school records in each event. Junior Gene Birks, freshman Carl Marais, senior Grant Kritzinger and freshman Henry Holmberg swam to a second place time of 6:34.12 in the 800, eclipsing a 17 year old school record by four seconds. In the 200 medley relay, Marais, senior Scott Usher, Birks and Kritzinger finished in a third place, school record setting time of 1:29.13.

The Cowboy divers also had an exceptional first day in 1-meter springboard competition. Sophomore John Lynch was the highest Wyoming finisher as he placed third in the event with a score of 305.60.Senior Adam Miller had the highest preliminary score but finished fourth in the finals with a score of 390.75. Sophomore Kevin Bretting also dove in the finals, finishing seventh with a score of 269.25.

The Cowgirl 200 medley relay team of freshman Rachel Leyes, sophomores Erin Spadinger and Heidi Thorson and freshman Haley Bonin swam to a third place time of 1:44.17, setting a new school record in the process. The 800 freestyle relay finished sixth in a time of 7:36.78. Swimming that relay were sophomores Tamara Lehnertz, Katie Bigger and Lauren Beard along with freshman Lindsey Russenberger.

The Cowgirl divers picked up valuable team points as freshman Brittany Wainwright led the way in 1-meter competition. Wainwright was the lone Cowgirl represented in the finals as she finished eighth with a score of 241.45. Freshman Ginni van Katwijk placed ninth in the preliminaries (226.55) while sophomores Saara Haapanen finished 11th(219.70) and Emily Keefer finished 12th (212.75).

"Today was a very good day for both teams," said UW head coach Tom Johnson. "We set three new school records, which is awesome. I am excited that the women are in third. It is probably in the best shape we have ever been after the first night. The men also stepped up and swam very well tonight. It is big to be in second place headinginto tomorrow. I am really pleased with the divers. They wereawesome today and got some really big team points.

"It is a long four days and we need to show up tomorrow and keep rolling. The kids are excited, swimming well and we are in a goodposition right now."

The championships will continue tomorrow with preliminary action beginning at 9 a.m. (Mountain Time) and the finals beginning at 5 p.m. Tomorrow's events include the 500 freestyle, 200 IM, 50 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay and the women's 3-meter springboard.

Men's Team Scores1. BYU 1222. Wyoming 1093. Utah 1074. UNLV 705. Air Force 65

Women's Team Scores1. BYU 1082. New Mexico 903. Wyoming 894. Utah 875. UNLV 846. Colorado State 747. San Diego State 498. Air Force 46