BYU sophomore Natasha Menezes won the 200 and 500-yard freestyle races at this year's MWCC. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The BYU men's and women's swim and dive teams continued the tradition of winning that has been established for these programs in the past with another successful season in 2007-08.
The Cougar women pulled off the difficult task of winning both the Mountain West Conference regular-season and conference championships in the same season. This is the first time that the BYU women have accomplished that feat since joining the MWC nine years ago.
"Winning both the regular-season and conference championship titles is a very tough thing to do and it does not happen very often," BYU women's swim coach Stan Crump said. "Our team being able to pull off this accomplishment can largely be attributed to our team's strong work ethic."
With the MWC Championships win for the BYU women they have now won that title seven seasons out of the nine years since the MWC was formed. The Cougar men have won the MWCC title five years in the near-decade long existence of the conference.
Led by a strong group of seniors, the BYU men's swim and dive team was flawless in the MWC regular season winning that title and only had one duel-meet loss total on the season. The Cougar men were crowned with the MWC regular-season title and placed second in the MWC Championships for a second consecutive year behind UNLV.
"We had some ups and downs this year as a team," BYU men's swim coach Tim Powers said. "I was always proud of our guys for how hard they fought in every meet even down to the last race."
One individual from each team qualified for the 2008 NCAA Championships. For the women, sophomore diver Tawni Jones competed in both the 1- and 3-meter dives at the national championships. Jones was named second-team All-American from the 3-meter board as she finished in 14th place in that event with a score of 307.35. This was the first time that Jones has been named an All-American in her young collegiate career.
Senior Jorge Azevedo was the lone male individual to race fast enough to be invited to the NCAA Championships. Azevedo qualified for the national meet in the 100-yard butterfly as he recorded a time of 47.11 just two weeks before the NCCA meet. However, Azevedo was unable to advance out of the preliminary round at the NCAA Championships as he touched the wall in a time of 47.99, which was 34th best at that meet.
BYU saw a total of 27 members of their swim and dive teams named to the All-MWC team along with eight relay teams that received the same honor. This large group of Cougars was highlighted by four seniors that received this accolade for the fourth year -- Azevedo, Jamie Bloom, Angela Goodson-Price and Travis Price.
The Cougars won six individual events on the women's side at the MWCC, while the men had one personal winner in the season-ending conference meet. Jones won both the 1- and 3-meter diving competitions with scores of 279.85 and 323.65, respectively. BYU sophomore Natasha Mezenes was the only other two-event winner at this meet for the Cougars. Menezes took first in the 200 (1:49.09) and 500 freestyle (4:51.52).
The only freshman to win a race at the MWCC was Rachel Grant in the 400 IM as she touched the wall in a time of 4:18.94. Goodson-Price won the 200 fly with a personal season-best time of 2:01.39.
Senior Neal Hamilton was the only male Cougar to win an individual event at this year's MWCC. He won the 400 IM with a blistering time of 3:53.26. This was four seconds faster than any other Cougar on the year. The BYU women's 800 free relay team also took first place at the MWCC as they finished with a time of 7:18.88.