October 13, 1998
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Every new season begins with great promise. This year, Wyomings Swimming and Diving program will start the season with new hopes and enthusiasm thanks to new Head Coach, O. Thomas Johnson.
Wyoming welcomes back swimming alumni Johnson as he heads a program with a renewed attitude towards the season. Johnson is laying the foundations of a strong and versatile program with team, discipline, dedication and success.
"I have a good feeling about every student-athlete in our pool," Johnson said. "We have a very talented and large group of incoming freshmen. We are going to set very high goals, and work diligently to achieve those goals and establish a firm foundation for excellence this competitive season."
The Pokes have no where to go but up. With twenty-one freshmen and nineteen returning letter-winners, the swimming and diving program has already begun laying a firm foundation.
Leading the Cowgirls are captains juniors Jennifer Weidert (Fly/IM) and Emily Hollon (Sprint Free). Also returning for the Cowgirls are seniors Bethany Larsen (Sprint Free) and Theresa Nakao (Breast/IM), along with record holders Jessica Schiffl (Free) and Carrie Behrens (Sprint Free).
As for diving, Dominy Thompson and Laura Tierney, both currently ranked in the Pokes top ten are expected to pick up and continue to lead. Freshmen Sadie West and Tara Walker are expected to make a huge impact for the Cowgirls.
A large recruiting class for the women is going to prove their depth as a team as they embark upon contending for a conference title. Four freshmen are expected to prove the versatility of the Cowgirls- Ashley West, Jennifer Shurz, Natalie Koop and Kathryn Piper as they swim a lot of events, predominately the butterfly and backstroke.
Johnson looks to the success the Cowgirls have had in the classroom to carry over in the pool, finishing the 97-98 season ranked 27th in the nation academically. "We are working to transform the success they have had in the classroom into the pool, and focusing on moving up seven spots to finish in the top half of the WAC."
The men have also set high goals and are poised to make significant improvements. Last spring the Cowboys finished eighth in the WAC meet. The blend of outstanding talent coming in, and experienced upperclassmen they have the potential to finish in the top four.
For the men, the captains are Mickey Aberle (Breast/IM) and Kirk Hollingsworth (Back/IM), both seniors and packed with experience, along with three time letter-winner Mike Hembree (Fly/Back). The signing of ten freshmen has given the Cowboys excellent depth.
Johnson is especially excited about some young swimmers. Freshmen Jake Rehard, a high school All-American, will swim the 50 and 100Y freestyle and Guy Fulfer will add to the depth of the 200 and 500Y freestyle, along with sophmore Tim Symser and junior Colin Wallace. Walk-on freshman Ryan Typolt has been a pleasant surprise and is expected to compete well for the Pokes this season.
Diving has returning letter-winner and record holder Christian Brienza. Freshman Oscar Delgodo, a tremendous athlete, is helping the divers reach a higher level. Delgodo is expected to make a run at most school records.
"We are laying the foundation of creating a program where both teams will be contending for a conference title every year, and competing as a NCAA top 20 team," Johnson said." We wanted to bring the schedule to another level, swimming in dual meets with seven of the top eight teams in our conference. Our main focus is the conference championship meet, we are going to point everything we have towards that meet."