LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Cowgirl swimming and diving team enters the 2005-06 season poised to succeed in the Mountain West Conference as they return 17 swimmers and divers from last year's squad.
This year's team features three school record holders and ten others that have recorded top-five all-time marks. As a whole, the current Cowgirls are responsible for 20 top-five performances in the UW record book.
To add to its already impressive lineup, the Cowgirls added a group of five freshman that has combined to receive All-American honors while winning numerous state and regional championships in high school.
"We are very excited about this season," said UW head coach Tom Johnson. "We return a ton of great girls who have all improved since last year. We also added some special freshman who will make huge contributions. It will be an exciting season for Cowgirl swimming and diving."
Following is a look at the 2005-06 Cowgirl lineup:
The Cowgirls will use a combination of veteran experience and young talent to complete the sprint freestyle lineup this season. Senior Kenzie Kotby will be the senior leader, as she is the only senior on the entire women's team. Junior's Heidi Thorson and Tamara Lehnertz, sophomore Angela DeWolf and freshman C.J. Bray will all compete in sprint freestyle this season.
"We might not look great on paper in the sprints, but we are going to surprise a lot of teams and score a lot of points with these sprinters," said Johnson.
Middle Distance Freestyle
One of the biggest strengths in this season's lineup will be the middle distance freestyle swimmers. They are led by junior captain Tamara Lehnertz and sophomore Katie Bigger. Freshmen Aimee Stinson and Krista Jones will also make strides in the water this season.
"We are as strong as anyone in middle distance freestyle," said Johnson. "Tamara is a champ and a leader and Katie has done some great things. Aimee and Krista are two of the most talented freshmen we have ever had and should have a great season."
The distance events will be swam with a versatile group of Cowgirls this season. Juniors Holly Hansen and Megan Boggs will provide experience while red-shirt sophomore Laura Glaab, who missed last season with an injury, and Stinson will provide young talent.
"Aimee will lead the charge as a freshman and her times from high school are faster than three of our school records," said Johnson. "Laura looks great back in the water and is as strong and as healthy as ever. I am very proud of Holly and what she has done in her two years here and Megan is a super young lady who is always there working hard."
"We haven't had the strongest backstroke in the past but this season looks to be different," said Johnson. "We have experience in Lauren and Rachel and raw backstroke talent in C.J., Krista and Aimee."
The Cowgirls welcome back the school record holder in both the 100 and 200 in Lindsey Russenberger, who is just a sophomore. Captain Erin Spadinger is in the top-five all-time in both events as well. Between the two of them, they earned 60 points at last years conference championships in the breaststroke events alone.
"We are not as deep in breaststroke as we have been in the past be we are more loaded than we have ever been," said Johnson. "We are very, very good from top to bottom."
Thorson will lead the charge in the 100 after turning in the fifth fastest time in school history last season. DeWolf, Bigger and Russenberger will all compete in the 100 while junior Lindsey Taylor and Bigger will mostly swim the 200.
Beard, the fastest 200 IM'er and the second fastest 400 IM'er in UW history will lead the charge in the IM events this season. Russenberger, Taylor and Spadinger will also see the water in these events.
The four Cowgirl divers hold seven of 20 top-five records in school history. Sophomore Ginni van Katwijk leads the way with the all-time mark in both the 3-meter (11 dives) and the platform. Juniors Saara Haapanen and Emily Keefer and sophomore Brittany Wainwright have all dove at NCAA Zone's and each have dove to top-five performances as well.
"We are very good and very deep on the diving boards this season," said Johnson. "Ben is a tremendous coach and has a great relationship with the divers. Our diving is at a level that rivals where it was in its heydays of the 1980's