Feb. 25, 2006
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -
Junior Ron Fogel and freshman Alex Larkin won individual Mountain West Conference Championships as the Cowboys finished fourth and the Cowgirls placed fifth at the 2006 MWC Championships at the Oklahoma City Community College.
"All around, we had a great team effort this weekend. We showed so much heart throughout the meet and I am so proud of our kids," said UW head coach Tom Johnson. "Our strong finishes are a real testament to our kids' work ethic and their drive to improve."
The Cowboys climbed into fourth place after finishing sixth during the regular season. UNLV won its second consecutive men's championship as they finished with 763 teams points. BYU finished second with 618 points and were followed by Air Force (526), Wyoming (520) Utah (513) and TCU (489).
Leading the way for the Cowboys was junior Ron Fogel and freshman Alex Larkin who each won an individual conference title. Fogel won the 200 butterfly in a time of 1:48.19, after finishing second the last two years. Larkin won the 200 breaststroke with the third fastest time in school history of 1:59.40, which is a provisional NCAA qualifying mark. Larkin's win marks the fifth consecutive year a Wyoming swimmer has won the 200 breaststroke. All-American Scott Usher won four consecutive championships in the event during his career.
The Cowboys had strong contingents behind Fogel and Larkin. Junior Dan Jones placed eighth in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:05.25 but his preliminary time of 2:03.88 is the fifth best in UW history. Sophomore Will McCallum placed ninth in the breaststroke in a time of 2:05.13. Freshman Matt Urich also placed in the 200 butterfly as he swam to a fourth place time of 1:49.82. Freshman Henry Holmberg had a solid day as he placed fourth in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 15:36.45. Junior Nick King placed ninth in the event with a time of 15:59.26.
The Cowgirls had a great final day and finished the championships in fifth place. Utah won its first ever MWC swimming and diving title as their women finished with 679.5 team points. The Utes were followed by BYU (608.5) UNLV (587), TCU (414), Wyoming (404.5), Colorado State (371.5), New Mexico (285), Air Force (206) and San Diego State (176).
Sophomore Lindsey Russenberger had another solid day as she placed third in the 200 breaststroke. Her time of 2:17.61 is a new school record and her second provisional NCAA qualifying mark. Junior Erin Spadinger finished just behind Russenberger in fifth place with a time of 2:18.10, the second fastest time in UW history and her first NCAA "B" cut.
Freshman Aimee Stinson finished a terrific conference meet on a high note as she finished third in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 17:06.29. Sophomore Katie Bigger placed sixth in the 200 butterfly with a time of 2:07.66.
Due to Wyoming's excellence in diving this season and at the conference championships, UW coach Ben Herdt was named the MWC women's diving coach of the year.
Next up for a selected group of Wyoming swimmers will be a last chance NCAA qualifying meet next weekend. The meet's location will not be determined until next week but will allow the swimmers on the cusp of the NCAA Championships one last chance at swimming a qualifying time.
As for the Wyoming divers, seven of the eight will return to action in two weeks for the 2006 NCAA Zone "E" Diving Championships. The zone meet will be held in the same pool in Oklahoma City, Okla. March 9-11.