May 17, 2004
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
University of Wyoming swimming anddiving coach Tom Johnson recently announced the recipients of the2003-2004 team awards as well as next year's captains.
Junior Scott Usher and freshman Lauren Beard were selected as theteams most outstanding swimmers. Usher became an All-American for thesecond and third time in his career with a second place finish in the200 breaststroke and a third place finish in the 100 breaststroke atthe 2004 NCAA Championships. He defended his Mountain West Conferencebreaststroke titles with championships in both the 100 and 200,breaking his own conference record in the 100 and just missing it inthe 200. He closed out the season with the seventh fastest 200breaststroke time in the world and the 10th fastest 100 breaststroketime in the world.
Beard had a break out performance at the 2004 MWC Championships,earning the most team points of any Cowgirl. She was named to the MWCSecond-Team in three events by placing fifth in the 200 and 400 IM'sand seventh in the 200 backstroke. She moved into the top-tenall-time record book at Wyoming in four events.
"This award should be no surprise to anyone," said UW head coachTom Johnson. "This season, Scott not only established himself asone of the best swimmers in the country but one of the best swimmersin the world. Lauren had a great year and led our team withconsistent improvement in all of her events throughout the season."
Four athletes were selected as the team's most outstanding studentathletes in junior Kristin Lewis, sophomores Samantha Michelena andWill Selde and senior Jon McNeely. Both Cowgirls earned perfect 4.0grade point averages last fall in the College of Health Sciences.Selde also earned a perfect 4.0 in biology while McNeely hasaccumulated a 3.792 gpa in his time at Wyoming as a History major.McNeely was also named Second-Team Academic All-District VII lastyear.
Freshman Saara Haapanen was named the team's outstanding diverafter being named First Team All-MWC. She dove into the top-fiveall-time at Wyoming in the 3-meter (11dives) category and dove thebest platform score in Wyoming history.
Senior Katie Haywood and sophomore Gene Birks were chosen as theteams most inspirational athletes. "Katie has been a terrificyoung woman to have in our program and she will certainly be missed.Her smile and positive attitude has been an inspiration for all of herteammates and coaches," said Johnson. "In a short time at WyomingGene has begun to bleed Brown and Gold. At meets, whenever I saw himbehind the blocks he was always trying to motivate and fire up histeammates."
Johnson also announced team captains for next season. Scott Usher,Gene Birks, Adam Miller and Grant Kritzinger will lead the Cowboyswhile Kristin Lewis, Toni Elliott, Alex Leziy-Miller and SamanthaMichelena will lead the Cowgirls.