March 14, 2011
LARAMIE, Wyo. - Wyoming Cowgirl swimmer Kelsey Conci will represent the Wyoming Swimming and Diving program at the 2011 NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas beginning Thursday, March 17.
"It is nice to see Kelsey get to the dance and seeded as high as she is, she can really make some noise there," Wyoming head swimming coach Tom Johnson said. "It is really hard to get an `A' cut. Just to make the meet alone, you are considered to be top 2-percent in the world. Also I think to her credit she will be swimming three events. If she can improve a little bit in the 50 freestyle or in the 100 freestyle, she could score in at least two of them."
Conci, a native of Craig, Colo., qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 100 backstroke when she led off the 400 medley relay team, with a MWC and UW school record time of 52.54 seconds. She then went on to win the MWC Championship later in the week in the 100 back with a time of 53.27. She also helped the 200 medley relay team win the MWC Championship while breaking the MWC and UW records with a time of 1:39.62. Conci also broke the UW school record in the 100 freestyle preliminaries with a time of 49.51. Following the MWC Championships, Conci swam a long course 100 back time of 1:03.15, which was good enough for her to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials.
"She has had a tremendous go and after the MWC championships, she swam an Olympic trial qualifying time in the 100 backstroke," Johnson added.
Conci will be competing in three events during the championships. She will swim in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and the 100 back. She comes into the meet with the eighth-best time in the 100 back of 52.54. In the 50 free she has the 40th-best time of 22.69 and in the 100 free she has the 52nd-fastest time of 49.51. The 50 free will be held on Thursday, followed by and 100 backstroke on Friday and the 100 freestyle on Saturday.
"It is really exciting to have the women's sprint squad be at such a high level," said Wyoming assistant and sprint swim coach Matt Leach, after sending his second Cowgirl in two years to the NCAA Championships. "I am really excited to have Kelsey get the `A' cut time, because the last person to do that for us was Scott Usher and he represented the United States at the Olympics."
"Last season Matt and I learned a lot from Cassie (Stelow) going to the NCAAs last season," Johnson added. "We realized that we need to hit it hard for the first week, then taper it off and let her go out and rip one more time."
The NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships will begin on Thursday, March 17 in Austin, Texas.