Oct. 6, 2011
The University of Wyoming Cowboy and Cowgirl swimming and diving teams are hard at work in preparation for the 2011-12 campaign. Both teams will begin the season with the annual Brown and Gold Dual on Friday, Oct. 7, beginning at 5 p.m. in Corbett Pool.
"I know our kids are ready to get into the pool and swim competitively," Wyoming head coach Tom Johnson said. "I know the kids will be competing hard against each other because the winning team gets out of 6 a.m. Saturday workouts. This is also a meet that always helps us iron out our lineup and shows us where we need to improve."
For the Brown and Gold dual, the Cowboys and Cowgirls split into co-ed teams to compete against one another. The intrasquad dual will be free to the public.The Cowboys and Cowgirls placed third at the 2011 Mountain West Conference Championships. The Cowgirls were able to claim four MW Championships and set 11 school records. The Cowboys claimed two championships and set 29 top-10 all-time school marks.
The Cowgirls welcome back five seniors in Shelby Bull, Kelsey Conci, Lauren and Makenzie Hewson and Caroline Wells. The Cowboys return four seniors in Marshall Dilworth, Brandon Fischer, Tyler Kybartas and Valentin Schwarz.On the women's side the Cowgirls will look to their five seniors for leadership, especially Conci, who was the only Cowgirl to compete at the NCAA Championships last season. She earned Honorable Mention All-America honors in the 100 backstroke at the championships placing 10th. She was the first Cowgirl in 19 years to earn All-America honors. Bull is also a senior leader for the Cowgirls, holding the 200 freestyle record time of 1:48.45, which she set at the MW Championships. Lauren Hewson recorded a top-three finish in the 200 breaststroke at the MW Championships in 2011. Makenzie Hewson has also been a very steady performer for UW, helping the relay teams to MW Championships and top-three finishes. The Hewson sisters will look to continue their success during their senior seasons by helping the Cowgirls to another top finish at the conference championships. Fellow senior Wells has been an excellent member of the Cowgirl team for her three years and will attempt to keep her success going. Other members of the Cowgirls that Johnson has been very impressed with are sophomores Morgan Hartigan and Kasey Robinson, juniors Page Fischer and Jessy Badaracco and freshman Jordan Denny.
"Having Kelsey back as an Honorable Mention All-America is awesome," Johnson said. "With Shelby, we are going to need her to contribute for us in the way she has in the past. Lauren has some big shoes to fill with the loss of (recently graduated) Lesley Young. We have made some huge strides in the butterfly event with the return from injury of Claudia Carlson. Jessy has been an absolute stud for us and has made tremendous improvement during her time here."
With the return of their four seniors, the Cowboys will have some leadership, but 17 of their 22 athletes are sophomores or freshmen. Seniors Dilworth and Fischer lead the Cowboys after their top-10 performances at the conference championships a season ago. Individually, Dilworth placed fourth in the 100 backstroke and helped the 200 medley relay team to a fourth-place finish at the MW Championships. Fischer took home second place in the 200 breaststroke with an NCAA `B' cut time. He also placed fourth in the 100 breaststroke at the conference championships. Fischer also has qualified for the Olympic trials in June, which Johnson believes will help drive him this season. Fellow senior Tyler Kybartas was injured before the season started, but Johnson is hoping he will be able to return to full strength, because he was the MW runner-up in the 200 butterfly a season ago. On the diving board, Schwarz is a senior who has MW as well as NCAA Zone diving experience and will help along a young group of Cowboy divers. Other men Johnson thinks will contribute for the Cowboys this season are sophomores Narayan Naik, Nick Rutecki, Ethan Giffel, Jeff Frey and Jayce Calhoon, as well as freshmen Ryan O'Leary, John Dowd, Michael McCormick and Joey Ferreri.
"Brandon has had an unbelievable summer, picking up three Olympic trial cuts, and I feel that this is his year to make the NCAA Championships," Johnson added. "Also having Marshall back for his senior year is great; he has led us in backstroke since the time he was a freshman. If Tyler cannot contribute for us this season it could be a huge loss for us. In the middle-distance we are going to rely a lot more on Ethan. Narayan and Nick are going to have to do a lot of short distance on the fly if we don't get Tyler back. We have some questions in distance free, but Joey is a stud and I think he will do a great job. Our sprinters are probably as good a group as we have ever had. They are young and make mistakes, but they are correctable and we have a lot of talent there."
The Cowboy and Cowgirl divers are very young returning one senior in Schwarz, but diving coach Pat Bukowski believes they are very talented. Both teams lost key members in Honorable Mention All-American Mark Murdock and All-MW performers Kyle Bogner and Allie Smith. With the addition of Schwarz, the Cowboys return sophomore Derek Campbell, who was All-MW on the 1-meter springboard. Dalton Haas is a freshman that Bukowski expects to come in and compete early for UW as well. On the women's side the Cowgirls welcome back junior Sasha Andrie, who was the consolation champion on the 1-meter at the conference championships. Also returning are Amanda Fay and Carolyn Wallace, who will provide excellent depth on the diving boards for the Cowgirls.
"You cannot replace kids like Mark, Kyle and Allie. UW diving coach Pat Bukowski said. "The idea is to build a program and that is where we are at this season. I have some really young kids this season but they are very talented. The expectation is that those young kids need to dive beyond their ages."