Cowgirl Swimmers And Divers Ready For Mountain West Championships

Feb. 20, 2012


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The Wyoming Cowgirl swimming and diving team will be traveling to Oklahoma City, Okla., on Wednesday, Feb. 22, to take part in the Mountain West Women's Swimming and Diving Championships. The competition will take place at the Oklahoma City Community College Aquatics Center, Feb. 22-25.

About The Championships:

At last season's MW Championships, the Cowgirls finished the meet in third place, behind champion San Diego State and runner-up BYU. Senior Kelsey Conci returns to defend her 2011 100-yard backstroke championship and also returns with two other members of the MW champion 200 medley relay squad. The other returning members of the champion 200 medley team are seniors Shelby Bull and Kenzie Hewson.

The Cowgirls return three All-MW performers from a season ago and three relay All-MW teams. Returning individual all-conference performers include, seniors Conci (50 and 100 freestyle; 100 backstroke), Bull (50, 100 and 200 freestyle) and junior Paige Fischer (1650 freestyle). The 200 freestyle relay squad returns all four members of the all-conference team in Conci, Morgan Hartigan, Kenzie Hewson and Bull. The 200 medley relay team returns Conci, K. Hewson and Bull from the all-conference team, while the 400 medley relay returns Conci, Jessy Badaracco and Hartigan.

The championships will begin Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. MT with the 1-meter springboard preliminaries. The first day of competition will conclude with the 200 medley relay, 1-meter finals and 800 freestyle relay beginning at 5 p.m. MT.

For a complete timeline and information about the MW Championships click here:

Quotes from the UW coaches about the championships:

Wyoming Head Coach Tom Johnson: "We are feeling confident going into this weekend's championships. They guys had a great meet last weekend and I think that gives the women confidence about how they can perform this weekend. We had a great week of practice last week, (assistant coach) Manny (Noguchi) stayed until Thursday to help with training, then came to join us in Los Angeles, and we had some volunteer assistant coaches help with practice over the weekend. We were able to see the girls practice yesterday (Sunday) and we are feeling confident after seeing them. I think the key for us this weekend is going to be winning a lot of relays and getting a lot of ladies back (to the finals) at night. I feel really good about where we stand going into the meet."

Wyoming diving coach Pat Bukowski: "We are excited to get down to Oklahoma City. We are a young team, but we are going to have to dive like upperclassmen. Everyone in this conference has great divers and we just need to go out and compete well. There is going to be a lot of good divers competing to get into the finals and we are going to have to go out and battle to get into the top eight, so we can score some big points for the team."

Notes about the Cowgirls:

Heading into the conference championships, 11 Cowgirls have top-15 times in the MW in their respective events and five relay squads have top-five MW times. Overall, the Cowgirls finished the season with a 6-3 dual record and a 3-1 record in MW duals.

Conci is ranked at the top of the MW conference and also has two top-30 times in the nation. She returns to the championships to defend her 100 backstroke conference championship with the 11th fastest time in the nation of 52.67, which is the fastest this season in the MW and an NCAA "B" provisional cut time. She also ranks nationally in the 50 freestyle with the 26th-fastest time of 22.56, which is also the fastest in the MW and an NCAA "B" cut time. Conci's other top-five MW time is in the 100 freestyle, which she ranks fourth with an NCAA "B" cut time of 49.85.Fellow senior Caroline Wells enters the meet with two top-15 times in the 100 back and 200 individual medley. Wells ranks 15th in the MW in the 100 back with a time of 57.26 and 14th in the 200 IM with a time of 2:04.86.

Junior Badaracco has two top-12 MW times in the 200 butterfly and 400 IM. Her best time is in the 200 fly where she ranks seventh with a time of 2:04.35. She enters the meet with the 11th-fastest 400 IM time of 4:26.18.

Morgan Hartigan enters her second MW Championship meet with three top-10 MW times in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and the 200 IM. She ranks fourth in the MW this season in the 200 IM with a time of 2:01.90. She has the ninth-fastest 100 breaststroke (1:03.61) time in the conference and the sixth-fastest 200 breaststroke (2:17.26).

In the distance freestyle events, Cowgirls Paige Fischer and Kasey Robinson each have two top-15 conference times. Fischer ranks in the top-15 in the 500 freestyle (15th, 5:00.16) and has the 11th fastest 1000 free time of 10:23.43. Robinson has two top-10 distance freestyle times in the 1000 and 1650 free. Her 1000 free time of 10:22.51 is good enough for the ninth-fastest in the MW this season and her 1650 free time (17:10.70) is the 10th fastest.

Six other Cowgirls rank in the top-15 in one event. Junior Jehan Atoe has the 13th-fastest 100 back time of 57.23. In the 200 breast, fellow junior Meghan Swirzcki has the 12th-fastest time of 2:19.21. Claudia Carlson has the fifth-fastest conference time in the 200 fly (2:03.48), while Nikki Finnesand has the ninth-fastest 200 fly time of 2:04.69. Sophomore Mackenzie Norlin has the 13th-fastest 200 IM time of 2:04.85. Freshman Jordan Denny has a top-15 time in the 100 back, ranking 14th with a time of 57.24.

The Cowgirls are also ranked in the top five in all five relay events. Their best conference rank so far this season is in the 200 medley relay with Conci, Hartigan, Norlin and Bull, who have the second-fastest MW time of 1:42.66. Cowgirls Conci, Hartigan, Badaracco and Wells have combined for the fourth-fastest 400 medley relay time of 3:44.63. The 400 freestyle relay squad of Conci, Hartigan, Wells and Finnesand has an NCAA "B" provisional and the fourth-fastest time in the conference of 3:23.94. In the 200 freestyle relay, Conci, Hartigan, Finnesand and Kenzie Hewson combined for the fifth-fastest MW time of 1:33.19. Finally, Finnesand, Wells, Robinson and Denny have the conference's fifth-fastest 800 freestyle of 7:34.90.