2000-2001 Men's Swimming and Diving Season Summary

After losing only two seniors the previous season, the 2000-2001 men's swimming and diving team won the Mountain West Conference Championship for the second year in a row. The team finished the season undefeated in dual meets for the first time in school history, helping coach Tim Powers surpass the 200-victory plateau.

BYU kicked off its season against rival Utah on Oct. 27, winning all 13 events to beat the Utes 157-78. Sophomore Gary Tan dominated in winning both the 200 individual medley and the 200 backstroke, as well as swimming on the winning 400-medley relay team. Senior All-American Arunas Savickas won the 200 freestyle event and led the 400-medley and 400-free relay teams to victory. Freshman Terrence Lim, swimming in his first-ever collegiate meet, won both the 500 and 1000 free. Diving All-American Aaron Russell won the one-meter springboard event. Tan and Russell were named the MWC Swimmer and Diver of the Week for their respective performances.

The following weekend at the Big West Shootout, the Cougars beat five different teams en route to six dual meet wins to improve to 7-0 on the year. Competing against teams such as Washington, Pacific, Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge, Savickas won the 100 free, 500 free and the 200 free twice, while also swimming on the first-place 200-medley and 400-free relay teams. Tan won the 200 IM, the 100 back and the 200 back twice during the two-day competition. Freshman Nick Tobler won the 200 breast while teammate Mike Mullen swam to a first-place finish in the 50 free. Viraj Patil, Justin Wilcock and Russell finished 1-2-3 on the one- and three-meter boards. Savickas was named MWC Swimmer of the Week for his performance at the Shootout.

At the USC Diving Invitational, Wilcock finished in second place, Russell fifth and Patil seventh in the three-meter event. On the one-meter board, Russell finished second and Patil fourth while Wilcock came in eighth place. Diving on the platform the final day of the meet, Wilcock finished in third place, Patil in fifth and Russell ninth.

Boasting a No. 17 national ranking, the Cougars dominated conference foe UNLV, winning 143-98 on Nov. 25. Savickas and Tan once again led the team. Savickas won the 200 and 500 free while also swimming on the winning 400-medley relay team. Tan finished first in the 200 IM, the 200 back and swam on the victorious 400-medley relay team. Tobler won the 200 breast and was a member of the winning 400-medley relay team.

Competing in the annual Speedo Cup, BYU finished second overall behind sixth-ranked USC, finishing ahead of teams such as Santa Barbara and Hawaii. Savickas won the 100, 200 and 500 free events, while also leading the 200-medley and the 400-free relay teams to first-place finishes. He broke his own school record in the 500 free with a time of 4:21.39. Tan finished second in the 100 back and third in the 200 IM while Mullen finished third in the 50 free. For his performance, Savickas earned his second MWC Swimmer of the Week award.

At the BYU Diving Invitational, Russell won the one-meter, three-meter and platform events and was subsequently named the MWC Diver of the Week for the second time.

The Cougars overcame a slow start to beat Washington, a team that beat BYU twice during the 1999-2000 season, 142-95 on Jan. 6. Savickas dominated the 500 free, beating the second-place finisher by 16 seconds while setting a new pool record with his time of 4:27.13. Savickas also won the 200 free. Other first-place finishers included Mullen in the 50 free, Tan in the 200 back and sophomore Jeff Mason in the 100 free. In the diving competition, Russell won the three-meter event while Wilcock won the one-meter board and took second in the three-meter event. Wilcock was named MWC Diver of the Week for his performance against the Huskies.

After winning all 13 events in the first meet of the season against Utah, the No. 17 Cougars won 12-of-13 events, beating the Utes 150-66 to improve to 9-0 on the season. Mason won the 50 and 100 free while also swimming on the first-place 200-free relay team. Savickas won the 100 fly, Tan the 200 free, Alexander Denke the 500 free, Ryan Ayres the 1650 free and Tobler the 100 breast. On the other end of the pool, Russell won the one-meter springboard event while Wilcock finished first on the three-meter board.

Russell was the runner-up on the three-meter board and finished sixth on the one-meter board the first day of the Arizona Diving Invitational. Wilcock finished in eighth place on both the one- and three-meter board. On the second day, Wilcock finished fourth and Russell ninth in the three-meter event. BYU won 11-of-13 events and defeated Air Force 140-99 to improve to 11-0 on the season. The men's team was led by multiple-event winners Savickas, Tan and Mason. Savickas finished first in the 200 and 500 free while Tan won the 200 IM and the 200 back. Mason won the 50 free and swam a season-best time of 45.50 in winning the 100 free while Ayres took first-place in the 1000 free. Both the 400-free and 400-medley relay teams took first. Patil won both the one-meter and the three-meter springboard events.

In the final dual meet of the season against Wyoming, BYU dominated, winning 138-99 to finish the season with a perfect 12-0 dual meet record for the first time in school history. Savickas and Mason led the team effort that saw the Cougars win 11-of-13 events. Savickas finished first in the 1000 free, setting a new pool record with a time of 9:26.52, while also winning the 100 back. Mason took first place in both the 100 and 200 free while Tan won the 100 fly. Other first-place finishers included Mullen in the 50 free and Tobler in the 100 breast. Patil won both the one-meter and three-meter events for the second day in a row. Mason and Patil were named the MWC Swimmer and Diver of the Week for their respective performances.

Fifteenth-ranked BYU went to the MWC Championships as the defending champions but had to overcome an 8.5-point deficit on the final day of competition to defeat UNLV, winning by 11.5 points and repeating as conference champions. The divers sprung the Cougars into first place after the opening day of competition. Wilcock won the one-meter springboard event followed by Russell who finished second, while Patil finished in fourth place to earn a combined 52 points. BYU fell behind UNLV after the second day of events that saw Tan win the gold medal for his first-place finish in the 200 IM, setting a new conference and meet record with a time of 1:49.42. The 400-medley relay team of Savickas, Tobler, Tan and Mason won the final event of the day, setting a pool and meet record with a time of 3:16.29. The Cougars made up ground on the Rebels in the 200 free and 100 back, placing three in the top five in each event. Mason, Rob Morris and Denke finished second, third and fourth in the 200 free while Savickas, Tan and Chris Johnson finished 1-2-3 in the 100 back with Savickas setting a new meet record. In the three-meter springboard event, Russell took first with a new conference record while Wilcock finished second and Patil fourth. The lead changed three times on the final day of competition before BYU emerged victorious. The Cougars sealed the win with Wilcock, Patil and Russell finishing 1-2-3 in the platform diving event. Savickas, Tan and Johnson again swept the top three spots in the 200 back. The 400-free relay team also had an important second-place finish, assuring BYU of its second consecutive MWC Championship. Wilcock was named the MWC Diver of the Year and Tobler the MWC Freshman of the Year.

Five weeks later, the Cougars were represented by Savickas and Russell at the 2001 NCAA Championships and led BYU to a 30th-place tie. Savickas earned a second team All-America citation for his 14th-place finish in the 200 freestyle, making him the only male swimmer in BYU history to be named All-American each of his four years at BYU. Russell earned his second All-America honor with a 13th-place finish on the one-meter springboard.

All in all, the BYU men's swimming and diving team finished the season with over 80 regular season event wins, seven conference championships, eight MWC Swimmer/Diver of the Week honors and two All-America citations.