Feb. 22, 2010
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The 2010 Mountain West Conference Championships have finally arrived for the Wyoming swimming and diving team. The Cowboys and Cowgirls will travel to Oklahoma City, Okla., for the four-day event at the Oklahoma City Community College Aquatics Center that will begin this Wednesday, Feb. 24 and will run through Saturday, Feb. 27.
The Cowgirls finished the 2009-10 regular-season campaign with their highest MWC finish ever in second place with a 14-1 overall record and 7-1 conference dual record. The Cowboys placed third at 7-3 overall and 3-2 in the MWC.
"We are looking forward to the week ahead and are ready to swim fast and dive well," said UW head coach Tom Johnson. "We have done all we can to prepare for this week and hopefully we will reap the rewards for our hard work. We are all looking forward to a super week."
The Cowgirls will look to take down BYU who won the regular-season championship, and was the only team to defeat the Cowgirls this season. The Cougars finished with an 11-0 regular-season record and 8-0 were in the conference.
On the men's side, TCU finished undefeated at 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the MWC for first place in the dual meet standings.
Two Cowgirls will look to repeat as conference champions from a year ago. Senior diver Stephanie Ortiz won the three-meter springboard championship and was also named MWC Co-Diver of the Year. Lesley Young was also crowned a champion a year ago as she swam the fastest time in conference history in the 100 breaststroke.
Senior Cassie Stelow will also lead the Cowgirls in the pool. Stelow ranks first in the MWC in the 50 freestyle, while fellow sprinter Shelby Bull ranks in the top-five in the 100 freestyle. Stephanie Vint, Kelsey Conci, Lauren Hewson, Kenzie Hewson, and Paige Fischer also own performances in the top-15 in their respective events.
"On the women's side, they understand the special opportunity they have to possibly win a conference championship, but they have done a great job at keeping things in perspective," Johnson said. "We are hoping for great results and a few NCAA times as well. Most of all they will enjoy competing with their teammates and hopefully being on top come Saturday."
The Cowboys will also be looking to bring back a conference title. The Pokes have a number of performances that rank in the top-ten in the MWC, including last year's 100 backstroke champion Marshall Dilworth. Sophomore Brandon Fischer will look to keep the breaststroke tradition going at UW this week. Fischer currently ranks third in both the 100 and 200 breaststrokes for the Cowboys.
On the diving boards, junior Mark Murdock will try and win his first conference title. Murdock broke the school record on one-meter springboard earlier this year and ranks second in the conference in that event and first on platform. Fellow junior Kyle Bogner won the one-meter championship as a freshman and will look to continue his success at the conference meet.
"The men have a great chance of making a run and making noise if we can do what we know we can as a team," Johnson added. "Our relays have been solid all year and we have opportunities to swim times that are NCAA cuts. We are focused and looking forward to having a terrific week."
The first day of action will be Wednesday at the OCCC Aquatics Center with diving preliminary and final rounds for women's one-meter and men's three-meter. Relays will also kick-off Wednesday with men's and women's 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays.