Nelson Takes Gold in 400 IM on Third Day

Feb. 26, 2016

HOUSTON, Texas -

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Senior Ryan Nelson won the 400 IM final to lead the University of Wyoming Cowboy swimming and diving team into second place during the third day of the WAC Championships on Friday evening. The Pokes jumped past Grand Canyon University and now have a total of 487 points, while Air Force holds the lead with 554 points.

“There were four lead changes today, so it was busy from the very beginning,” UW head coach Tom Johnson said. “Obviously, the 400 IM was a great event for us. Ryan (Nelson) deserves the title as much as anyone. I’m so proud of the guys for how they finished in the event.”

The 400 IM kicked off the finals session, as Nelson, junior Dylan Sether and sophomores Ryan Ball and Wade Nelson all competed for UW in the championship. Nelson took gold in the event with a top time of 3:47.04. Wade Nelson finished just behind in second with a 3:47.53, while Sether (3:52.36) and Ball (3:57.86) took fifth and eighth, respectively.

It became the second-career title for Nelson in the 400 IM at the WAC Championships. He joins Hans Ljungberg as the only Cowboys to win the 400 IM final twice in their careers. Ljungberg achieved the feat in 1967 and 1968.

The 100 fly championship was the second event at the University of Houston’s Campus and Recreation Wellness Natatorium. Both sophomore Jacob Porter and senior George Eglesfield took part in the event. Eglesfield set a school record to lead the tandem in the final and finished fourth (47.30), while Porter finished with a time of 48.13 to take sixth.

“George had some tough races today,” Johnson added. “And he did an excellent job of competing. He set a school record and then came back on our relay at the end of the night. We don’t tell the guys they are training for one event, we want them to know they are training for multiple events, and I believe he handled that well today. Jacob (Porter) has shown tremendous improvement. He wasn’t in the championships a year ago and he comes out today and holds his own. We expect more of the same from him tomorrow.”

After setting a school record in the 500 free last night, freshman Jack Herron placed third (1:36.39) in the 200 free championship, as sophomore Slade Sheaffer finished tenth (1:37.76).

“Jack (Herron) once again had a great day,” Johnson added. “He battled hard and for a freshman to have the times he has had is super impressive. Slade (Scheaffer) didn’t have the times he wanted in the prelim session, but he came back and redeemed himself tonight.”

Three Cowboys competed in the 100 breast championship final, as senior Gabe Rooker set a school record and took second (53.17), and senior Kyle Scalise claimed fourth (53.53) in the event. Also, freshman Liam Holt finished seventh in the final with a time of 54.51. David Murphy, Kyle White and Loren Sether took part in the 100 breast consolation final for the Brown and Gold. White finished ninth (53.93) overall, as Murphy (54.75) and Sether (58.03) took 11th and 15th, respectively.

“The 100 breast gave us another big push tonight,” Johnson said. “Gabe (Rooker) and Kyle (Scalise) both finished the final with times better than Scott Usher’s school record. We were able to score a lot of points in the event with Liam (Holt) finishing seventh as well.”

Eglesfield was the lone competitor for Wyoming to take on the 100 back championship. He finished ninth overall and set a school record as he touched in 49.64 for the Cowboys. Austin Rettinghouse was the top performer for UW in the platform final. Rettinghouse took sixth with a tally of 263.05, while Jacob Rehmeier came in seventh (241.00). Wyoming set a school record and finished fourth in the 400 medley relay. A team of Wade Nelson, Rooker, Eglesfield and Herron touched in a time of 3:11.12.

“The relay was another school record,” Johnson mentioned. “Most importantly, Wade (Nelson) almost broke the school record on the first 100 to lead the way for us. I was impressed with the relay, it was close between all four schools, but I was happy with how they competed. Tomorrow will be another big day for us. If we can have the morning we did today again for tomorrow, I think it will be in our favor.”

The championship meet concludes on Saturday with prelims set to start at 9:30 a.m. MT, and finals beginning at 5 p.m.