Wyoming Swimming and Diving Outlook 2003-04

Nov. 8, 2003

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

Cowboy Swimming and Diving Outlook

The 2003-2004 season will be an exciting one for a Cowboy Swimming and Diving team that looks to combine strong leadership and a balanced lineup to compete for the Mountain West Conference title.

"Every year we hit the blocks with the goal of winning the conference title," said UW head coach Tom Johnson. "This year is no different, we want to contend for the title."

The Cowboy lineup will feature leadership from four seniors, captain Galen Gough, Brad Leopold, Jon McNeely and Morgan Wardell. Five juniors will also be looked upon for leadership this season in Guy Ferber, captain Grant Kritzinger, Adam Miller, Bryce Perica and All-American Scott Usher. Others returners that will contribute are Gene Birks, Ethan Maclean, Seth Niesent and Beau Taylor.

Here is how the Cowboys look in each event:

Sprint Freestyle:

The Cowboys have a solid core of sprinters which will be led by senior Morgan Wardell and junior Bryce Perica. Sophomore Gene Birks will add crucial depth to the sprint freestyle events.

Middle Distance Freestyle:

Junior captain Grant Kritzinger will lead the middle distance events this season. Birks will also contribute as he will be looked upon in the 200 free. Sophomore Beau Taylor also will swim these events.

Two newcomers in Brent Baker, a transfer from Clemson, and Ron Fogel, from Haifu, Israel, will be asked to step in to fill these critical roles.

Distance Freestyle:

The distance freestyle events will suffer from the loss of conference champion Damian Storz but the talent to fill his shoes is present in two very talented freshmen. Nick King, a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, as well as Emre Aydin, from Ankara, Turkey, will take on the roles of filling spots in the distance events.

Backstroke:

"Backstroke is an area of great strength for the first time in a long time," said Johnson. "We have the type of depth we haven't had since I have been here."

Sophomore standout and school record holder Ethan Maclean will be a huge contributor to the backstroke. Seniors Brad Leopold, Jon McNeely and Guy Ferber are all great assets to the team that will contribute greatly.

Breaststroke:

All-American and MWC champion Scott Usher will lead the Cowboy lineup in the breaststroke events. He returns for his junior season after placing sixth in the nation in the 200 and 15th in the 100 at the 2003 NCAA Championships.

"There isn't enough I can say about Scott," said Johnson. "He is a tremendous asset to our program, a quality kid and just a great guy."

Adding depth to the breaststroke events will be senior Jon McNeely, University of the Pacific transfer Will Selde and freshman Dan Jones.

Butterfly:

The butterfly events will be one of the best Cowboy events this season. Senior captain Galen Gough will lead the way. Sophomores Gene Birks and Ethan Maclean along with freshman Ron Fogel will be key contributors as well.

Individual Medley:

The Cowboy IM also took a hit with the loss of Storz and Jake Weidert but the losses open up opportunities for some young swimmers to step up. These IM'ers will be Jon McNeely, Galen Gough, Grant Kritzinger, Dan Jones and Scott Usher.

"We may not have the strength like we did last year with Damian and Jake but I feel as though we have more balance across the board. The depth will help us in swimming a lot of different events," said Johnson.

Diving:

The Cowboy diving team returns just one diver off of last years squad in Adam Miller. Miller was the lone diver last year and stepped up in a big way to earn team points dual after dual.

"We are looking for a good season out of Adam," said UW diving coach Russ Dekker. "I think he is going to be able to perform at a higher level, with not having to carry the burden of earning all of the diving points in a dual. Having some quality teammates will really work in his favor."

Three freshmen will step up and compete this season in John Lynch, Kevin Bretting and Michael Smith. All three will be crucial parts of the diving team and are expected to do big things with their careers at Wyoming.

Cowgirl Swimming and Diving Outlook

The 2003-2004 Cowgirl Swimming and Diving team looks to combine young talent and strong leadership to excel and improve upon their disappointing seventh place finish at last years Mountain West Conference Championships.

The Cowgirls have the experience to succeed now and the young talent to build toward the future.

The Cowgirls will struggle in filling the shoes of three top swimmers from last years team in Jody Riskowski, Allison Schmid and Lindsay Springer. All three were key to the meet to meet lineup and they will be missed. However, "we did a super job recruiting," said UW head coach Tom Johnson.

"It is going to hurt losing some great girls to graduation but I feel as though we have the young talent to fill those holes and I am very excited about getting these young kids into the pool."

Three seniors, Katie Haywood, Channing Kimball and Janelyn Lilly, will led the team as captains in 2003-04. Kimball is back for her second round after being a captain last season.

Here is how the Cowgirls look in each event:

Sprint Freestyle:

The Cowgirls took a big hit in these events with the loss of Riskowski and Springer and will have to depend on Katie Haywood's leadership. Haywood, who had a very strong junior season, will be relied upon greatly this year.

A strong group of sophomores will carry a lot of the load in these events as well. Sam Michelana, Ganae Stallings and Kenzie Kotby all gained experience and improved vastly during last season and will need to continue their improvement.

Freshmen Heidi Thorson will also look to make the transition to college swimming in a hurry and contribute to the sprint freestyle events.

Middle Distance Freestyle:

These events may be the biggest area of concern this season. Cowgirls who have been looked upon in the sprint and distance events may have to make a transition to these middle events for the team.

Captain Janelyn Lilly, who excels in the backstroke will be looked upon in the 200 free while freshmen Holly Hansen, Tamara Lehnertz and Katie Bigger will be looked upon to step up in the middle distance freestyle events.

Distance Freestyle:

The Cowgirls are solid in the distance events especially with returning junior Kristin Lewis. Lewis had a great season last year, improved tremendously and will be relied upon greatly.

Sophomore Adrianne Gers is a great talent who will look to improve on her freshmen season to contribute this year.

Freshmen Laura Glaab and Megan Boggs are two very talented freshmen who will have to step up this season in these events.

Backstroke:

The Cowgirls were thin in the backstroke last year and went out and bulked up their lineup in the off-season.

Captain Janelyn Lilly will be the leader in these events as she returns for her senior season after earning second team All-MWC honors last season. She finished eighth in the 200 backstroke with a time of 2:06.33. Freshmen Holly Hansen and Lauren Beard will be relied upon to step up and fill the two and three holes in the lineup. Fellow freshman Heidi Thorson also looks to challenge for time in the pool in the backstroke.

Breaststroke:

The Cowgirl breaststroke will miss Allison Schmid who was a tremendous asset to the Wyoming Program. However, these events will be in good hands.

Sophomore Alex Leziy-Miller had a great freshmen season, improved vastly, and will be a big part of this seasons breaststroke events.

High school standout Erin Spadinger, a Midland, Texas native, will be looked upon to transition quickly to college swimming to be a vital part of these events. Freshman Natalie Luscomb will also add depth to the breaststroke events.

Butterfly:

The butterfly expects to be one of the Cowgirl's strongest events this season. Ashley Mallett will return for her senior season after garnering second team All-MWC honors in 2003. Se swam the fifth fastest 200 fly in school history while placing eighth in the MWC Championships with a time of 2:05.84.

A very strong freshman class will be look upon to win the butterfly points this season. Heidi Thorson, Katie Bigger and Stacey Zenker are all very talented and will excel for the Cowgirls this season.

Individual Medley:

Junior Kristin Lewis and senior Ashley Mallett will be depended on to lead the IM events this season. Freshmen Lindsey Taylor, Erin Spadinger and Lauren Beard will be looked to add depth to the IM.

Diving:

The Divers will be led by seniors Channing Kimball and Shea Boyle. Kimball placed seventh at the 2003 MWC Championships on the 3-meter board scoring 383.40 points and earning second team All-MWC honors.

Freshmen Saara Haapanaen, Emily Keefer and Magie Stapp will be looked upon to step up at the college level and add depth to the team.