Cowboys and Cowgirls in Second after Day One of MWC Championships

Feb. 24, 2010

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -

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The Wyoming swimming and diving teams opened the 2010 Mountain West Conference Championships with a bang Wednesday evening, as the Cowgirls broke two school records and had three divers reach the final round, while the Cowboys had two divers qualify for finals and swam both relays to NCAA provisional times. With the solid first day performances at the Oklahoma City Community College Aquatics Center, both Wyoming teams sit in second place.

After three events on each side, the BYU men and women are both in first. The BYU men scored a total of 125 points today with the Cowboys close behind in second with 94 points followed by UNLV (80), TCU (79), Air Force (71) and Utah (60).The Cougar women tallied 133 points with the Cowgirls right on their heels at 109 points. San Diego State with 81 points is third followed by Utah (74), New Mexico (63), Colorado State (61), TCU (54), UNLV (30), and Air Force (18).

"We had a solid first day and I am pleased with our efforts," said UW head coach Tom Johnson. "Breaking two records on the women's side by nearly a second each was exciting to see. I was also happy with the way our men's relays performed tonight. Our divers were against very tough competition today and dove very well."

In their first race of the championships, Cowgirls Kelsey Conci, Lesley Young, Shelby Bull, and Cassie Stelow swam the fastest time in school history in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:41.45. The Cowgirl relay placed third with the school record breaking performance.

Later in the night, the 800 freestyle relay team of Stephanie Vint, Caroline Wells, Kristen Flachbarth, and Bull broke the second UW record of the night with a time of 7:23.02. Both Cowgirl relays are NCAA provisional times.

The Cowgirls had three divers reach the final round on one-meter springboard. Senior Stephanie Ortiz finished the highest with a fourth place finish after a final score of 302.15. Behind Ortiz was fellow senior Emily Huth in sixth with 283.20, while Allie Smith was eighth with 271.90. Junior Virginia Marcon scored needed points for UW with an 11th place finish as well.

"Shelby (Bull) had outstanding splits today and came from behind in the freestyle relay. Our medley relay had a few slow exchanges, but that is always better than being too fast and being disqualified," Johnson added. "The divers had a lot of tough competition today, but they have been so good all season and they continued that today."

The Pokes opened the night with a fourth place finish in the 200 medley relay. Marshall Dilworth, Brandon Fischer, Tyler Kybartas, and Jamie Comrie swam a 1:29.82 for a fourth place finish in the 200 medley relay, an NCAA provisional time.The UW men also swam the 800 freestyle relay tonight and just touched out regular-season champion TCU for a third place finish. Kybartas, Christian Johnson, Brett Henehan, and Tommy Gregory swam a 6:39.28 for the fourth Wyoming NCAA provisional time of the night.

A pair of juniors led the way for the Cowboys on the diving boards. Mark Murdock and Kyle Bogner both made the finals on three-meter springboard. Murdock earned a personal best score with a total of 371.80 and finished third. Bogner added his own personal best at 357.80 and placed sixth. Sophomore Valentin Schwarz placed 14th and provided his team with quality points.

"I was pleased with the relays especially the 800 freestyle from the men tonight," stated Johnson. "Kyle (Bogner) and Mark (Murdock) were against great competition, probably the best I've ever seen at a conference meet and did a fantastic job. Valentin (Schwarz) also dove well and got us some valuable points.

"We have a lot left to do on both sides, but I like what I saw today. We had solid efforts from everyone and have given ourselves a chance to swim fast and dive well for the rest of the week," Johnson said.

Day two of the MWC Swimming and Diving Championships gets underway Thursday at 10 a.m. Central in Oklahoma City, Okla.