(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
In his 31st season as head coach of the men's swimming team, Tim Powers led his team to a 10-1 record this season, widening his coaching record to 248-90 and setting three new individual BYU records. Even though the team went into the Mountain West Conference Championships in first place with a conference record of 5-0, they didn't have enough depth because of injuries and finished second overall with 618 points behind UNLV with 763.
"We were undefeated in the conference coming into championships," said Powers after the MWC Championships. "The results show we didn't have depth but we were struggling with injuries. Mark Chay went into surgery the Tuesday after the meet finished to reattach his patella ligament that had ruptured and was disconnected, thus causing his knee cap to come off when he would try to start. Jorge Azevedo had injured his shoulder and though under the doctor's care was at about 85-percent of his usual effectiveness. Even so, 34 of our swims were lifetime bests, we were just not running on all of our cylinders."
The team tied for 41st in the nation at the NCAA Division I Championships with the five points contributed by junior Brett Allen in his 12th place performance in the 50-yard freestyle. As for a final national ranking, the BYU men received votes, but not enough to be ranked; they were listed as No. 26.
Allen led his team in winning the 50 free at the MWC Championships, going on to the NCAA National Championships, finishing 12th overall and setting a new BYU record of 19.62 in his performance in the preliminary race. Allen finished 29th in the 100 free at NCAA's with a time of 44.12. Allen was also garnered with second-team All-America honors for the 50 free, the only All-America award for the Cougar men based on sport performance.
To be awarded at the end of the school year, Travis Price, Nick Tobler, Jorge Azevedo, Mark Chay, John Ferrell, Song Zhen Goh, John Kendrick and Brett Allen will qualify for Academic All-America awards. They all achieved NCAA consideration cuts while posting a 3.6 GPA or better.
Junior Jorge Azevedo set a new BYU record in the 100-yard butterfly at the Speedo Cup Invitational held in November with a time of 47.70; at that time it was the best-recorded time in the country. Allen also set a new BYU record in the 100 free with a time of 43.84, achieved during the preliminary race at MWC Championships.
First-team All-MWC honors were awarded to Allen with his winning performance in the 50 free where he broke the MWC record held by UNLV swimmer Jonathan Hugo, set in 2003 and Jeff Mason's BYU program record, also set in 2003. His record time was achieved in prelims (19.69) and in finals he finished first again with a time of 19.76.
First-team All-MWC honors were also awarded to Jorge Azevedo in the 100 fly where he placed second with a time of 48.45; John Kendrick in the 1650-yard free with a second-place time of 15:25.57; Ron Morris' second-place score in platform diving with 304.05 points; Travis Price with his third-place 500 free time of 4:26.18 and his first place finish in the 200 free with a time of 1:37.50 and Nicholas Tobler with his first-place finish in the 100 breast with a time of 55.46 and his second-place finish in the 200 breast with a time of 1:59.51.
Men's relay teams who were recognized with first-team All-MWC honors included the 200-medley relay (Mark Chay, Tobler, Azevedo, Allen), 400-medley relay (John Ferrell, Tobler, Azevedo, Allen), 200-free relay (Allen, Grant Hasselbach, David Larson, Price), 400-free relay (Azevdo, Allen, Song Goh, Price) and the 800-free relay team of Azevedo, Chay, Price and Kendrick.
Individual second-team All-MWC men recognized included Allen (100 free), Kendrick (200 free), Morris (1-meter diving), Price (1650 free) and Jeffrey Su (200 fly).
Allen was awarded the Mountain West Conference Athlete of the Week three times this season (11/15/05, 1/18/06, 2/1/06) and freshman John Kendrick was awarded once February 8, 2006.
BYU will be sad to lose their seniors, including Grant Hasselbach, David Larson, Ben McKee and Nicholas Tobler who have all made great contributions while swimming for the Brigham Young.
The Cougars look forward to next year for a whole new season of breaking records for BYU, the MWC, Nationally and personally.