Cowboys and Cowgirls Each End 2009 MWC Championships in Third

Feb. 28, 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -

Complete Results

Three individual Mountain West Conference Champions, 16 total school records broken, one MWC record broken, Diving Coach of the Year, and Diver of the Year were all highlights for the Wyoming swimming and diving team this year at the 2009 MWC Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Both the Cowboys and Cowgirls achieved third place at the championships. The Cowboys matched their highest finish ever, while the Cowgirls have never been higher than fourth before this year.

UNLV won the men's championships with a final score of 886.5. Following the Rebels was Air Force (613), Wyoming (551), BYU (539.5), TCU (401), and Utah (326).

For the women, BYU took home the conference title followed by UNLV (585.5), Wyoming (483), Utah (468.5), CSU (452.5), San Diego State (375), TCU (354.5), New Mexico (211), and Air Force (128).

After the meet, Wyoming diving coach Ben Herdt was awarded with the 2009 MWC Diving Coach of the Year for both the men's and women's side. Junior Stephanie Ortiz had a phenomenal season and was named MWC Co-Diver of the Year.

"All in all I am proud of our women's team. It came close at the end but they rallied and surprised me this week," said UW head coach Tom Johnson said. "The divers were incredible, I am very proud of Ben winning coach of the year, and Stephanie winning diver of the year. The men were able to hold on to third and end a good week."

Today in the pool, the top Cowgirl swim came from sophomore Lesley Young. A day after winning the 100 breaststroke, Young took second with a time of 2:14.66 in the 200 breaststroke and set the school record with that time. Following Young was Kaella Hartigan in 14th after touching the wall in 2:24.95.

Another school record that was broken today was from Cassie Stelow. Stelow's time of 51.00 in the 100 freestyle was an 11th place finish and broke her previous record time. Teammate Shelby Bull was close behind in 13th with a time of 51.11.

Two Cowgirls finished in the top-ten in the 200 butterfly event. Kari Budd placed ninth in 2:04.04, while Stephanie Vint was close behind in tenth with a time of 2:04.83. Those times are fourth and fifth respectively in the Wyoming record book.

In the 1650 freestyle, senior Aimee Stinson placed ninth with a score of 17:09.15, Carol Jones placed 16th (17:21.57) and sister Krista Jones was 23rd (17:41.08). In other events on the day Caroline Wells took 13th in the 200 backstroke (2:01.75).

In the final race of the day the Cowgirls broke one more record as they swam a time of 3:24.88 in the 400 freestyle relay and finished fifth.

"Lesley was in the lead seven of the eight lengths, but was just out-touched at the end. She had a super swim in that event and did a great job this week. Our relay was a nice performance, and Cassie did a tremendous job breaking the school record in the 50 freestyle twice today," Johnson said.

For the Pokes, the best race of the day was the 200 breaststroke. Senior Alex Larkin won the preliminary round, but took third place with a time of 1:57.97, and teammate Brandon Fischer was fifth in 2:00.62.

Last night freshman Marshall Dilworth won the 100 backstroke, and today finished eighth in the 200 butterfly after a time of 1:50.87. In the 200 butterfly fellow freshman Tyler Kybartas took fifth place after his time of 1:46.60, while senior Matt Urich was eighth with a time of 1:49.05.

In the 1650 freestyle, Robbie Hilton had a great race and earned some much needed points by placing sixth in 15:33.85, third fastest time in school history. Kyle Wemhoff was eighth (15:34.46), fourth fastest all-time, Brett Henehan 11th (15:38.85), Sam Holmes was 12th (15:42.52), and Matt Jones 20th (16:25.58).

On the diving boards, Mark Murdock set a school record in the preliminary round with a dive total of 346.45 and was seeded first. Murdock scored 335.30 in the final round to help the team out greatly points wise with a second place finish. Kyle Bogner and Tyler Miller also contributed greatly as they were fifth and sixth respectively.

"The 400 freestyle relay was DQ'ed so for three of our divers to be in the top six on the platform was beyond huge," said Johnson. "The divers got us over the hump and were the reason we were able to hold off BYU.

"In the pool the 1650 free was a huge race for us today. I am real proud of our distance program. Robbie and Kyle picked up a ton of points. Marshall had a super swim in the morning, but didn't have the legs in the finals," Johnson continued.

"Eli had a tough swim in the 200 freestyle but still managed to do well. I am very proud of Alex who didn't swim as well in the 100 breaststroke, but swam hard in the 200. We can only hope to continue the pressure on the other teams in the conference and keep our goal at winning a title."

Next up the UW diving team will be the NCAA Zone "E" Diving Championships March 12-14 in Austin, Texas.