Cowgirl Swimming and Diving Beats New Mexico in MWC Season Opener

Oct. 27, 2006

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

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The Cowgirl swimming and diving team opened the Mountain West Conference dual season with a bang as they beat New Mexico 144-99, Friday night at Corbett Pool. With the win the Cowgirls improve to 1-0 in both MWC dual action and overall while New Mexico falls to 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the MWC.

"This is a nice win for us," said UW head coach Tom Johnson. "It is always special when you can win your first conference dual meet of the season and I am very happy we did exactly that. It is a nice confidence boost to our team and will help us in our training over the next two weeks. You could tell that we were tired and broken down from our training thus far, so to win under conditions like this is great."

Tonight marked the first time in Wyoming swimming history that Corbett Pool hosted a short course meters dual meet. Prior to tonight, every meet in Corbett history had been competed on the short course yards side of the pool.

"It was a lot of fun to swim on the meters side of the pool tonight," said Johnson. "The women didn't have to worry about times and were able to just race."

Race is exactly what the Cowgirls did, winning ten of 13 events on the night. They didn't waste any time taking the lead as they won the first event of the day, the 200 medley relay. Swimming that event was junior Rachel Leyes, seniors Erin Spadinger and Heidi Thorson and freshman Cassie Stelow. The four turned in a time of 2:02.36.

Leading the Cowgirl swimmers was senior Tamara Lehnertz and sophomore Aimee Stinson, who each won two events. Lehnertz opened the meet with a first place time of 2:12.35 in the 200 freestyle and also swam a first place time of 1:00.32 in the 100 freestyle. Stinson won both distance freestyle events on the day. She turned in a time of 9:26.76 in the 800 freestyle and a time of 4:37.02 in the 400 freestyle. Both Lehnertz and Stinson swam on the fastest 400 freestyle relay team in the dual, but the Cowgirls swam the race as an exhibition.

In diving action, senior Saara Haapanen led the Cowgirls with a first place finish in both the 1 and 3-meter events. She finished with a score of 260.25 in the 1-meter event and a score of 247.80 in 3-meter.

"Aimee, Saara and Tamara all had awesome days and really led this team," added Johnson.

Other Cowgirl swimmers who turned in first place performances included freshman Olena Moher and Spadinger. Moher won the 100 backstroke in a time of 1:06.91 and Spadinger won her speciality event, the 100 breaststroke, in a time of 1:14.98.

The swimming and diving teams will return to action in two weeks to host Denver and TCU. Both the men and women will host Denver on Friday, Nov. 10 and TCU on Saturday, Nov. 11. Friday's dual is set to begin at 5 p.m. and Saturday's will get underway at 12 p.m. Both duals will be held at Corbett Pool.

"We have to get sharper," said Johnson. "We had a nice start today but we have two of our toughest dual meets of the fall in two weeks. We are about as broken down as we can be, so I look for us to really look sharp next time out."