Wyoming Swimming and Diving Opens MWC Championships this Wednesday

Feb. 26, 2008

Watch a Free Video Feature with Wyoming Swimmers/Divers:
senior Levi Bell, senior Angela DeWolf, head coach Tom Johnson, senior Sam King, senior Rachel Leyes, senior Will McCallum, junior Sam Shook and senior Brittany Wainwright.

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Since the beginning of the 2007-08 swimming and diving season back in September, the Wyoming Cowboys and Cowgirls have been preparing for the 2008 Mountain West Conference Championships which will begin on Wednesday in Oklahoma City, Okla. Both the Cowboys and Cowgirls enter the meet, which will be held at the Oklahoma City Community College, as the third seeded team in the conference.

    "Everyone is very excited to get this meet started on Wednesday. This is the week we have been preparing for all season and it is always great to see that hard work and dedication pay off," said veteran UW head coach Tom Johnson. "We have the potential to have a very good meet, win a couple of conference titles and get some NCAA qualifiers."

    During the regular season, the Cowgirls posted an MWC dual record of 6-2 and an overall mark of 8-3. The Cowboys closed out the season with an MWC dual record of 3-2 and an overall mark of 4-4.

    BYU enters this week's meet as the top-seed of both the men's and women's meets after posting two undefeated dual seasons. The Cougar men closed out the season ranked 25th by the College Swim Coaches Association of America. UNLV follows the Cougars in the MWC rankings on both the men's and women's sides with just one MWC dual loss a piece.

    The Cowgirls enter the championship meet ranked second in the conference in five events and third in two more. The 400 medley and 800 freestyle relay teams have each posted the second fastest time in the MWC this season. Individually, sophomore Megan Evans ranks second in the MWC in both the 200 breaststroke and 400 IM while freshman Lesley Young ranks second in the 100 breaststroke. Junior Aimee Stinson will enter the championship meet with the third fastest 200 freestyle time and sophomore Cassie Stelow ranks third in the 50 freestyle. Stinson, the UW record holder in five events, has earned First Team All-MWC honors four times during her two-year career while Stelow earned First Team honors in the 200 medley relay last season.

    The Cowboys enter the championship meet with the best regular season performance in the conference in four different events and numerous other high seeds. Junior Alex Larkin, the MWC 200 breaststroke champion in 2006 and the 100 breaststroke champion in 2007, enters this week with the fastest time in the 200 breaststroke and a tie for the fastest time in the 100 breaststroke. Senior Sam King is the top-seed in the 200 IM and ranks second in the 400 IM. Freshman Kyle Bogner ranks first in the one-meter diving event. Senior Levi Bell, a First Team All-MWC swimmer in 2007, ranks second in the 200 breaststroke and fourth in the 100 breaststroke. Junior Matt Urich, the runner-up in both butterfly events at the 2007 MWC Championships, ranks third in the 100 and fifth in the 200.

    The Cowboy divers will look to score major points for the Pokes this week. All four UW divers rank in the top-five of the MWC this season. Besides Bogner's top seed in the one-meter event, freshman Mark Murdock ranks second, junior Tyler Miller is fourth and freshman Colter Yancey is fifth. In three-meter, Murdock ranks second, Miller is third, Yancey ranks fourth and Bogner is fifth.

    "The relays are going to be key to both teams' success because of how many points are out there in those events," added Johnson. "We feel good about being the third seed on both sides. The divers are going to be key for us to be successful and I look for them to score a ton of points on both sides and really dominate this meet. Overall, we need to do well in the events we are supposed to and then have a few kids sneak up the standings and get into each night's finals in some other events."

    Scheduled events on Wednesday's opening day include women's one-meter diving, men's three-meter diving, the 200 medley relay and the 800 freestyle relay.