Nov. 29, 2006
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming swimming and diving team will face its toughest test of the season this weekend when they travel to Austin, Texas for the 2006 Texas Invite. The invite will run from Thursday, Nov. 30 through Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Jamail Swimming Center.
"Our divers have been going to this meet for a while and it elevated their level by seeing such great teams. I am hoping the same thing happens this season with our swimmers," said UW swimming and diving coach Tom Johnson. "This is a big step for our team. This is one of the biggest invites in the country, against the best teams in the nation, and it is going to be a real test."
The Cowgirls enter the weekend with a perfect 4-0 dual record and a 3-0 Mountain West Conference mark. The 4-0 start is the first for the Cowgirls since the 2000-01 season. The Cowboys are currently 1-1 overall and 0-1 in the MWC.
The 2006 Texas Invite features 14 top-25 swimming programs including the top ranked women's team in Stanford and the second ranked men's team in Texas. Other teams participating in the invite include Texas (2nd ranked men, 11th ranked women), USC (5th men, 9th women), Arizona (6th men, 2nd women), Arizona State (24th women), Florida (10th men, 6th women), Stanford (3rd men, 1st women), Wisconsin (18th women), UCLA (14th women), UNLV (23rd men), Washington State, Hawaii and UC Santa Barbara.
"This is one of the deepest, fastest meets of the year," added Johnson. "We have a lot of kids who are right on the cusp of the NCAA's and seeing an NCAA caliber meet like this one will only help them in accomplishing their NCAA goals. This meet is going to be a battle, but our kids are up for the challenge and we are ready to go."
Cowboys to watch for this weekend include senior Ron Fogel, sophomore Alex Larkin and senior divers John Lynch and Kevin Bretting. Fogel is the defending Mountain West Conference champion in the 200 butterfly and is the Wyoming record holder in the event. Larkin is the defending MWC Champion in the 200 breaststroke and placed 22nd in the 200 breaststroke and 26th in the 100 breaststroke at last summer's ConocoPhillips National Championships. Lynch is a four-time First Team All-MWC diver while Bretting missed qualifying for last spring's NCAA Championships by just one spot.
Seniors Erin Spadinger and Saara Haapanen, junior Brittany Wainwright and sophomore Aimee Stinson will all be Cowgirls to keep a close eye on this weekend. Spadinger was a 2006 Honorable Mention Academic All-American after provisionally qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the 200 breaststroke. Haapanen has been a First Team All-MWC diver twice in her career. Wainwright holds the UW record in both the 1 and 3-meter diving events, setting the 1-meter mark last week. She was also a 2006 First Team All-MWC selection. Stinson has had a tremendous start to her career at UW and has won 24 of 26 career dual meet races in the distance freestyle events. She was also a First Team All-MWC performer as a freshman.
Each day of the invite will feature preliminary action at 9 a.m. (Mountain Time) and finals at 5 p.m. Events scheduled for Thursday include the 200 freestyle and 400 medley relays, the 500 freestyle, 100 butterfly, 200 IM, 50 freestyle and men's 1-meter and women's 3-meter diving. Friday's events include the 200 medley and 800 freestyle relays, the 400 IM, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and the men's 3-meter and women's 1-meter diving. The meet will close on Saturday with the 1650 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly, platform diving and the 400 freestyle relay.