2009-10 BYU Swim and Dive Team (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
The rich tradition of the BYU men’s and women’s swim and dive teams continued during the 2009-10 season, both teams ranking nationally for the first time in years. The women finished the season ranked 44th while the men finished 25th overall.
The last time the men placed nationally was a 26th-place finish in 2007 while the women haven’t placed nationally since finishing 46th in 2008. Three Cougar athletes made it to the NCAA National Championships: senior diver Tawni Jones, junior swimmer Rachel Grant, and sophomore diver Brandon Watson.
Watson finished fourth on the 3-meter springboard at the NCAA National Championships with a score of 431.15 in the prelims and 440.05 in the finals. He also finished seventh on the 1-meter board with a preliminary score of 370.20 and a final score of 376.90. Watson automatically earned first-team All-America honors for both events.
Jones finished 13th in the nation on the 1-meter board with a score of 293.15 points in the prelims and 293.05 points in the finals. Jones also finished 26th on the 3-meter board with 293.80 points.
Grant finished 44th in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:00.72, 23rd in the 400 IM (4:14.35), and a 25th-place finish in the 200 fly, breaking the BYU all-time record with a time of 1:57.69.
The BYU women’s swim and dive team finished the season with a perfect 11-0 overall record and 8-0 in the Mountain West Conference. The men finished with an overall record of 2-5 and 0-5 in the MWC, but finished third at the MWC Championships. The women pulled off the difficult task of earning both the MWC regular-season championship and the MWC championship title as well. The women earned their fourth-straight MWC championship and ninth in 11 years.
At the MWC Championships, BYU diving coach Keith Russell earned both the men’s and women’s MWC Diving Coach of the Year awards. He crowned his divers in four of six events at the MWCC and had his divers make it to the top eight 21 times in six events. The awards mark his 15th and 16th MWC Diving Coach of the Year awards in 11 years.
Senior Natasha Menezes was awarded the Senior Recognition Award for a stellar season in the distance events. Menezes finished second in the 200 and 500 free and placed fourth in the mile swim at the MWC Championships. Menezes is a five-time MWC champion and tallied 79 first-place finishes in her tenure at BYU.
After tallying four MWC Diver of the Week awards, sophomore All-American diver Brandon Watson was named MWC Diver of the Year at the MWC Championships. In the 2009-10 season he tallied 11 dual meet wins, finished first on the 3-meter against PAC-10 schools at the Wildcat invitational and won both the 1-meter and 3-meter titles at the MWC Championships.
Along with Meghan Zimmer of San Diego State, junior Rachel Grant was named Swimmer of the Year for her two titles at the MWC Championships in the 400 individual medley and 200 fly as well as placing second in the 200 IM. Grant tallied 21 first-place finishes during the dual meet season – more than any other Cougar.
Taking the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard titles at MWC Championships was Tawni Jones, also named MWC Diver of the Year. After a stellar season with 14 first-place finishes and six MWC Diver of the Week honors, Jones led her Cougars to the fourth MWC title in four years.
In addition to the individual MWC awards listed above, 24 individuals and six relays were named to the All-MWC team. Jones tallied two individual MWC titles (1-meter and 3-meter), Watson added two individual MWC titles (1-meter and 3-meter), Grant chalked up two individual MWC titles (400 IM and 200 fly) and freshman Hayden Palmer won the 400 IM.