After losing six seniors the previous season, including four-time All-American Arunas Savikas, the 2001-2002 men's swimming and diving team won the Mountain West Conference Championship for the third year in a row. The team finished the season 7-1 in dual meets with only one senior, diver Viraj Patil on board.
BYU kicked off its season against rival Utah on Nov. 2, winning 10 of 13 events to beat the Utes 152-91. Olympian Gary Tan won the 200 individual medley, as well as swimming on the both winning relay team. Junior Jeffrey Mason won the 200 free and was also a part of both winning relay teams. Michael Mullen won the 100 free and was followed in second by younger brother Kurt. Freshman Saul Stephens from New Zealand won the 200 back in his first-ever collegiate meet. Diving All-American teammates Aaron Russell and Justin Wilcock won the one-meter and three-meter event, respectively.
The Cougars hosted their first home meet of the season the following weekend against UNLV. The men won eight of 13 events against the highly competitive Rebels to win 143-98. Riding their undefeated season of 2000-01, BYU extended their dual-meet win streak to 18 meets. Tan won the 200 IM by a margin of five seconds and was also a part of the 400 free relay team. Sophomore Brian Sorensen won the 50 free. Jeffrey Mason won the 100 free and was also on the winning 400 free relay team. Freshman Saul Stephens won the 200 back for the second consecutive meet.
The top divers went to USC to compete in the annual Trojan Invite and dominated the competition. Freshman Andy Bradley made his presence known early in his career with a win in the one-meter event against Stanford and other top universities. He was named Mountain West Conference Diver of the Week for his performance. Juniors Aaron Russell won the three-meter and Justin Wilcock won the three-meter and platform events, respectively. All three divers placed in the top five in the finals of each event showing why coach Keith Russell labeled them "the best diving team ever assembled in school history."
Hosting for the second straight week, the Cougars dominated Pacific 135-62 in winning eight of 13 events on Nov. 17. Tan and Mason once again dominated the competition. Tan won the 100 fly and the 200 IM and was part of the 200-medley relay team. Mason won the 100 and 200 free and was a part of the winning 200 free relay team. Brian Sorensen won the 50 free for the third consecutive time of the young season. Sophomore Randy Belliston won the 500 free for his first win of the season.
The divers hosted the BYU Diving Invite and were not friendly to the guests and they dominated the competition. Justin Wilcock won the one-meter and three-meter events. Aaron Russell won the platform event and the Cougar diving team had five of the top six spots in each event. Wilcock was named MWC Diver of the Week.
Competing in the annual Speedo Cup, BYU finished second overall behind No. 1 Stanford, Tan finished first in the 200 back and third in the 200 IM Junior Christopher Johnson finished second in the 100 back. Mason won the 100 free, finished third in the 50 free and fifth in the 200 free. The 400 free relay team swam victories representing the strength of the Cougar sprinters.
The Cougars spent the holidays in Hawaii in a highly anticipated trip promised by coach Powers. While in the islands, they defeated Iowa in a dual meet and competed in the Duke Kahanamoku Sprint and Distance meets.
After returning home with a lot of wear and jet lag, the men's 19 dual meet winning streak was snapped by the University of Washington. The team lost valuable diving points as the divers were at the Arizona Invite. Tan won the 200 free and junior Billy Betz won the 50 free. Mason won the 100 free. In Arizona, Wilcock finished second on the three-meter and platform events while Russell finished second place on the one-meter event. Russell and Tan were named MWC Diver and Swimmer of the Week.
BYU dominated Air Force Academy by winning 12-of-13 events for a final score of 144-94. Mason won the 100 and 200 free and was on the first-place 400 free relay team. Tan won the 200 IM and the 200 back. He was a part of the 400-medley relay team that took first. John Malfatt won the 200 fly and Michael Mullen won the 500 free. Adam Ware won the 200 breast and Freshman Nick Parker won the 50 free. Wilcock and Russell won the one-meter and three-meter diving events.
In the final road dual meet of the season against Wyoming, BYU dominated, winning 161-82 to beat a previously unbeaten home team. Betz won the 50 and 100 free. Johnson won the 100 back and 200 free. Russell won the one-meter and three-meter events.
After winning at Utah, the Cougars defended their home pool and won 10-of-13 events, beating the Utes 1124-77 to finish the regular season 7-1. Betz won the 50 and 100 free and was a part of the winning 200-medley relay team showing his late season surge. Tan won 400 free in a pool record time of 3:59.82. He also won the 500 free while Mason and Johnson won the 200 free and 100 back. On the other end of the pool, Bradley won the one-meter springboard event while Wilcock finished first on the three-meter board.
BYU went to the MWC Championships as the two-time defending champions in Oklahoma City, Okla. The Cougars took the lead from UNLV placing the top four positions in the men's 1-meter diving competition. The men placed five out of the top six spots. All-American Justin Wilcock totaled 342.15 to lead the field. Wilcock won his second straight MWC men's 1-meter diving crown. The BYU men's 800 free relay came in first with a time of 6:44.07. The men scored a total of 430.5 points in day-two and led second place UNLV by 125.5 points going into the final day of competition. Tan posted an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:49.95 to win the finals of the 200-yard individual medley. The BYU men's diving team, once again placed five out of the top six in the 1-meter event, placed six out of the top eight in the 3-meter event, includes the top five spots. Wilcock racked up 607.90 points in the 3-meter event, shattering the MWC record (580) set by teammate Russell, in 2001. In the last two years, Wilcock has won the 1-meter, platform and 3-meter diving events, setting record in two of the three categories (3-meter, platform).
In the third and final day of competition at conference championships, the divers placed six of the top eight finalists in the platform dive. Wilcock won the event followed by Patil in second and Russell in third. Wilcock completed his hat trick by winning the 1- and 3-meter, and platform finals in this year's championship. The swimmers sealed their third straight crown by placing five of the eight
finishers in the men's 100 freestyle finals. Jeff Mason placed second with his NCAA provisional qualifying time of 44.81. The 100 back also placed five of the eight finals slots led by second place Johnson's time of 49.35. Johnson also placed second in the 200 back with a time of 1:49.09, followed by teammate Gary Tan in third. Sophomore Adam Ware placed second in the 200 breast with a time of 2:02.95.
Five weeks later, Wilcock represented the Cougars and Bradley at the 2002 NCAA Championships held in Athens, Ga. and led BYU to 23rd in the country for the final national rankings. Wilcock earned first-team All-America status in the 3-meter event placing seventh in the country with a score of 569.35. The native of Smithfield, Utah, also earned second-team All-America citations in the 1-meter and platform events with scores of 288.90 and 481.10, respectively. Bradley, a freshman, earned second-team All-America honors for his 16th-place finish in the 1-meter event with a score of 285.50. Bradley is the sixth diver in school history to earn All-America accolades.
All in all, the BYU men's swimming and diving team finished the season with over 60 regular season event wins, four conference championships, five MWC Swimmer/Diver of the Week honors and three All-America citations. Academically, BYU placed fifth in the nation for their academics. The Cougars came in first place the previous season.