Feb. 24, 2013
LOS ANGELES -
In a conference championship meet that came down to the final race the University of Wyoming men's swimming and diving team fell just short of a Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Conference Championship on Saturday, finishing second with 603.5 total team points just 9.5 points behind first-place UNLV who finished with 613 team points at East Los Angeles College in Los Angeles. With the final race, the 400-yard freestyle relay, left to swim at the championships the Cowboys trailed the Rebels by just 7.5 points needing to finish the race in first place and have the Rebels finish no better than third place. Sophomore Adam Kalms, freshman Bryce Carter and juniors Jeff Frey and Ethan Griffel swam an excellent race finishing with a school-record time of 2:56.76, but were unable to take first, and eventually fell by less than 10 points to the Rebels. Earlier in the evening, Kalms won his third conference championship of the weekend sweeping the 100 freestyle on his way to a MPSF and school record time of 43.13. Freshman Ryan Nelson broke the longest standing school record in the 1650 freestyle that was held by former Cowboy Lynn Stetson (15:23.52) since the 1982 season touching the wall in 15:16.77 and finishing third. In that race, Nelson also broke the UW record in the 1000 freestyle with a time of 9:13.60.
"We swam very solid this morning and had a chance to win the meet tonight," Wyoming associate head coach Matt Leach said. "Tonight came down to the final race and even though we broke the school record we just could not hold off UNLV. I could not be prouder of this team for fighting and clawing all the way to the end, UNLV was just a little better than us this week. This meet has been an amazing culmination of the year and we had a great team effort. I could not have asked the kids to work harder or give more effort, we just came up a little short. I am also so happy to be a part of this coaching staff we all worked so hard and it is great to see the kids perform so well."
At the Mountain West Championships in San Antonio, Texas, junior Wyoming women's swimmer Morgan Hartigan won her first conference championship of the weekend in the 100 freestyle taking first with a school-record of time 49.76. The Cowgirls finished the conference championships in third place with 509 team points.
"The ladies swam great all week and kept working hard," Wyoming head coach Tom Johnson said. "Everyone improved this week and I am so proud of this team and coaches. We have worked so hard all year and it is great to see all our hard work pay off."
Returning to the MPSF Championships, the Cowboys had an excellent evening of swims finishing nine other swimmers in the top eight of their respective events.
In the 200 backstroke, junior Jayce Calhoon earned a place in the championship final finishing fourth in the preliminaries with an NCAA "B" provisional time of 1:46.01. He returned to the final to finish fifth with a time of 1:46.30. Also in the 200 backstroke, freshman Brendan Costello finished the preliminaries in ninth place (50.36) and returned to win the consolation final and take ninth overall with a time of 1:47.23.Finishing behind Kalms in the 100 freestyle was Griffel who finished the preliminary in seventh touching the wall in 44.63. In the championship final, he moved up one place to take sixth finishing with a time of 44.63.
Sophomores Jordan Turner and Mike McCormick both swam their way into the championship final of the 200 breaststroke taking fifth (2:00.77) and sixth (2:00.85), respectively in the preliminaries. In the final, McCormick moved ahead of Turner to take sixth with a time of 2:00.85, while Turner finished seventh touching the wall in 2:01.40.
Freshman George Eglesfield had an excellent swim in the 200 butterfly preliminaries finishing fifth in 1:49.00. He came back in the championship final and moved up one place to finish fifth with an NCAA "B" provisional time of 1:47.93. Swimming in his final meet as a Cowboy, senior Tyler Kybartas finished 10th (1:49.45) in the 200 fly preliminaries, but returned to win the consolation final finishing ninth overall with a time of 1:49.63.
In the 1650 freestyle, freshman Kevin Waller broke the school record in the 1000 freestyle, but swam one heat before Nelson who eventually surpassed his time of 9:20.48. Waller finished the mile two places behind Nelson in fifth with the second-fastest time in school history of 15:26.55.
"Our guys in the mile just threw down today," Leach said. "For our 1000 freestyle time to be broken in consecutive heats is just amazing."
The MPSF diving concluded in Colorado Springs, Colo., on the platform with junior Derek Campbell and freshman Eric McMillin earning places in the scoring finals. Campbell finished the preliminaries in sixth place with a mark of 265.55 and moved up one place in the finals to take fifth with a final tally of 262.00. McMillin finished the preliminaries in 15th place with a score of 221.00 and returned to finish fourth in the consolation final and 12th overall with a final score of 244.25. McMillin's final round score broke his personal best set earlier in the preliminaries.
"The guys did a phenomenal job today," Wyoming diving coach Yahya Radman said. "Derek was very close to a personal best mark and Eric hit his career best twice today. I am very proud of how hard both guys competed this weekend scoring much needed team points."
On the women's side at the MW Championships the Cowgirls placed eight other individuals in the top eight of their respective events, including breaking three other school records.
In the 200 butterfly, senior Jessy Badaracco and sophomore Claudia Carlson both swam excellent races finishing second (1:58.77) and third (2:01.39), respectively. Badaracco's swim in the preliminaries was a school record and she became the first Cowgirl to break the two-minute barrier in the 200 fly. She returned in the final finishing second with another NCAA "B" provisional time and school record of 1:58.45. Carlson also broke the two-minute barrier in the final finishing third also with an NCAA "B" provisional time of 1:59.32. Also swimming in the 200 butterfly championship final was junior Leah Roesler who finished sixth with a time of 2:02.40.
"Jessy and Claudia's swims in the 200 fly today were unbelievable," Johnson said. "It is great that our ladies are working so hard that they broke through the two-minute barrier."
Freshman Nicole Hlavacek continued her strong performance in the distance freestyle events finishing the 1650 freestyle in fourth place with a school-record time of 16:37.16. During her 1650 freestyle swim, Hlavacek also broke the UW school record in the 1000 freestyle becoming the first Cowgirl to break the 10-minute mark with a time of 9:59.40.
One year after winning a MW Championship in the 200 backstroke, sophomore Jordan Denny finished that event in fourth with an NCAA "B" provisional time of 1:56.67.
Sophomore Halie Lacey and freshman Molly Coonce finished the 200 breaststroke preliminaries with NCAA "B" provisional times taking seventh (2:15.65) and eighth (2:16.82), respectively to earn places in the championship final. Coonce moved up two places in the final to finish sixth dropping one second off her time to finish in 2:15.21. Lacey finished the final in seventh with a time of 2:15.22.
The MW diving competition was the platform with junior Amanda Fay finishing the preliminaries with a personal-best mark of 206.55. Fay retuned to the championship final finishing seventh with a final tally of 225.21. Fay's final mark was good enough to earn her a place at the NCAA Zone "E" Diving Championships on the platform.
"I am grinning ear to ear for Amanda," Radman said. "She had a stellar performance today and she was just two points shy of the school record on tower. She is really buying into what this program is about and her hard work is really starting to pay off."
The final race of the MW Championships was the 400 freestyle relay with Hartigan, freshmen Emily Stuck and Emily Ridout as well as Denny taking fourth with a time of 3:22.60.After a weekend of conference competition the Cowboys and Cowgirls combined to break 15 school records. The Cowgirls also set 50 of the top-10 times in school history during the weekend's racing.
"In my 15 years here I cannot believe how fast this sport has become," Johnson said.
For Cowboys and Cowgirls with NCAA "B" provisional times they will now wait for the NCAA Psych Sheets to come out to see if they will earn spots in next month's NCAA Championship meets. Wyoming divers Fay, Campbell, McMillin and Sasha Andrie are all qualified for next month's NCAA Zone "E" Diving Championships on at least one board and will continue training before traveling back to Colorado Springs on March 14.
"The times that Adam has swam so far this season in the 100 freestyle and 200 freestyle should get him into the NCAA Championships," Leach said. "His 200 freestyle time has made it in the last few years and should get him there this season."
"Ryan's time in the 400 IM is also very fast and depending on what happens at the rest of the conference championships over the next week, he has very good chance of making NCAA's also," Wyoming assistant coach Manny Noguchi said.