Feb. 23, 2006
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -
Bolstered by two new school records and another strong day of diving, both University of Wyoming swimming and diving teams find themselves in fourth place after day two at the Mountain West Conference Swimming & Diving Championships at Oklahoma City Community College.
"I have never seen a closer, more competitive or faster conference meet than this one," said UW head coach Tom Johnson. "We are right in the mix and just need to keep battling and beating some of these teams. Over the next two days this will seem like a dual meet with the teams on either side of us as we keep fighting for position."
Utah leads the men's and women's field with 263 and 258 points, respectively. Defending champion UNLV trails the Utes in men's action with 252 points, followed by BYU (222), Air Force and Wyoming (212 points each) and TCU (184). The Cougars hold the second spot in the women's events with 211 points, followed by UNLV (202), Wyoming (143), Colorado State and TCU (140 points each), New Mexico (128), San Diego State (77) and Air Force (65).
The Cowgirls were led by two underclassmen on Thursday. Freshman Aimee Stinson broke her own UW mark by almost three seconds in the 500 freestyle with a fourth place swim of 4:55.84, while sophomore Lindsey Russenberger placed fifth in the 200 IM with a new Wyoming all-time record.
After swimming the third fastest time in school history in the preliminary race, Russenberger broke the UW record in the finals with her time of 2:05.37. Also earning key team points for the Cowgirls were juniors Lauren Beard (10th place, 2:06.75) and Erin Spadinger (11th place, 2:07.18) in the 200 IM, and junior Tamara Lehnertz (14th place, 5:04.04) in the 500 freestyle. The Cowgirl 200 freestyle relay notched the second fastest race in UW school history with a time of 1:34.86. Swimming that freestyle relay and placing fifth were Heidi Thorson, Angela DeWolf, Kenzie Kotby and Lehnertz.
"Our divers were awesome today and we continue to get more swims at night," continued Johnson. "I'm pleased that our women have beaten CSU in three relays. That is a good measuring stick for where we are."
The Cowboy divers continued to shine, placing three in the top eight of the 3-meter event. Led by junior John Lynch, who finished third overall (318.60), the Pokes also placed junior Kevin Bretting fourth (304.70) and freshman Tyler Miller eighth (265.95).
Off the blocks, sophomore Henry Holmberg had the race of the day for the Cowboys when he placed fourth in the 500 freestyle with an NCAA `B' cut time of 4:27.08. Not far behind in that event were freshmen Matt Urich, ninth place at 4:30.51, and teammate Eli Bell who finished 11th at 4:33.78. In the 200 IM, Cowboy junior Dan Jones came in seventh with a time of 1:51.93. Jones was followed up by UW sophomores Sam King in 10th (1:52.67) and Levi Bell in 14th (1:53.93).
Day three of the championships is set for Friday, Feb. 24, with preliminary events at 10 a.m. CST and finals competition at 6 p.m. The MWC Swimming & Diving Championships conclude Saturday, Feb. 25, following the 6 p.m. finals events and the announcement of the individual and team awards.