Travis Price hopes to lead the Cougars to another successfull season. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
In this 2007-08 season, the BYU men hope to build upon their successful 2006-07 campaign when they won the Mountain West Conference regular-season title and took second at the MWC Championships. The Cougars will be led by their four seniors -- Zach Anderson, Neal Hamilton, Travis Price and Jeffrey Su.
"This will be yet another year of a very high level of competition," BYU head coach Tim Powers said. "Our expectation is to win the Conference every year. Our work will definitely be cut out for us, but our overall depth will be stronger than last season."
The Cougars have five returning swimmers that competed in freestyle events last season. Senior Travis Price, who swam in every freestyle distance last year, leads this group of swimmers. Price placed three times in last season's MWC Championships. He placed second in the 200 and 500 free, while finishing fourth in the 1650 free. Price improved his best regular-season 500 free time by over seven seconds in conference championship event with a time of 4:25.93. Senior Zach Anderson will make his presence known in the individual freestyle events. Anderson placed in both the 200 (1:39.55) and 500 (4:28.57) free at the MWC Championship. The men's team also hopes to get bolster their freestyle events with recently returned LDS missionaries Gregor Greiner and David Mason, both sophomores.
The BYU men had very strong relay teams last season that they hope to have filled again this year. The 200 free relay won the MWC title, while the 400 free relay team took second and the 800 free team placed third. The 800 free team has three of its four members back on the squad this year in Anderson, Price and Neal Hamilton. They swam a time of 6:35.46. Price not only was the anchor for the Cougar men in the individual freestyle events, but was also a part of every freestyle relay team last season.
As for the backstroke event, the Cougar men will look to seniors Hamilton and John Ferrell to lead the way for the team. In the 200 back, Hamilton recorded the top time of the 2006-07 season for the Cougars as he placed seventh at the MWC Championships with a time of 1:51.27. Ferrell swam a season-best time in the 100 back during the team's dual meet versus Wyoming with a time of 49.20, which is over a tenth of a second faster than any other Cougar all year. Junior Jacoby Jacobsen also made an impact in the backstroke events last season as he finished in sixth place at the MWC Championships in the 100 back and will be looked to help the team again in the backstroke.
The top man for the team last season in the breaststroke was a sophomore Kenny Clark. Clark recorded both of his season-best times during the last dual meet of the season against Utah. In that dual meet, Clark finished the 100 breast with a time of 58.56 and swam a 2:10.39 in the 200 breast. His 100 breast time against the Utes also helped him earn his highest finish of the season as he came in second place. BYU will also look to returning swimmer Hamilton to help out in this event as he did last year.
Senior Jeffrey Su will be the leader for the Cougar's when it comes to the butterfly after a strong showing last year. Su finished in third place at the MWC Championship with a time of 1:51.17 in the 200 fly. His best time in the 100 fly from last season was 50.13, which he recorded at the Speedo Cup in November 2006. Junior Blake Henderson will also be looked to by the Cougars to help the team in the butterfly events this season.
Clark led the Cougars last season in the individual medley with the help of Hamilton. Clark placed in both the 200 and 400 IM at the MWC Championship. In the 200 IM he swam a time of 1:51.81 to take fifth in the conference. Then in the 400 IM he placed eighth as he recorded his best time of the season with a 4:04.52. Hamilton also participates in both events but found more success in the 400 IM. At the MWC Championship he placed third with his season's-best time of 3:56.86. BYU will also look to freshman Andrew Rutherfurd to perform well in the 200 IM as he received All-America honors in that event in high school.
Although the Cougars do not return any divers who competed in a meet last season, they do have Bryce Engstrom who just returned from his LDS mission. Engstrom, who is from Broomfield, Colo. He competed in every meet during the 2004-05 season, his freshman year. He was a finalist on the 3-meter board in the MWC Championship during that one year of eligibility.
"We will do well in the conference this year," BYU diving coach Keith Russell said. "We just need to make sure that we are always contributing to the team this year, and success will follow us."