(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
The BYU swim and dive team continued their outstanding legacy throughout the 2010-11 season, accredited with multiple awards and accomplishments.
Seniors Rachel Grant and Sara Jayne Baldwin represented the BYU women’s team at NCAAs while junior Brandon Watson and freshman Jake Taylor attended for the men’s team.
Grant placed 18th in the preliminary round of the 200 butterfly, recording a time of 1:57.41. She also placed 27th in the prelims of the 400 IM, touching in at 4:14.37. In the 200 IM, both Grant and Baldwin competed. Grant received 36th in the prelims with a time of 2:00.42, while Baldwin obtained a 52nd place finish in the prelims with a time of 2:02.22.
On the men’s side, Taylor placed 24th in the preliminary round for the 100 backstroke with his time of 47.56. In the 200 back, he touched in at a time of 1:44.58, earning him 29th in the prelims. Taylor was able to record a time of 1:46.80 in the 200 IM, grabbing 35th in the prelim round.
An injured Watson scored a 353.90 in the men’s 3-meter springboard competition earning him 16th in the prelims, right behind the cutoff for the consolation final round. Watson’s diving throughout the season led him to be crowned as the only All-American on BYU’s team this season for his performances in the 1-meter.
For BYU’s last appearance at the Mountain West Conference Championships held in Oklahoma City, both the men and women’s teams came away with second place overall.
Highlights of the MWCC include Brandon Watson winning men’s Diver of the Year and head diving coach Keith Russell being named as the men’s Diving Coach of the Year. Rachel Grant shared the title for women’s Swimmer of the Year with San Diego’s Kelly Marquenie. This was the second consecutive win for Russell, Watson and Grant in each of their respective awards.
Top finishes of the MWCC resulted in multiple All-Conference selections for BYU. Those named to the all-conference teams include Rafael Alfaro for the 400 IM, Jordan Fletcher for the 100 Butterfly and John Kendrick for the 200 free, 500 free and the 1650 free.
Jake Taylor made the All-Conference team in the 100 backstroke, 200 back, and 200 IM, breaking the league record in the 200 back with his time of 1:43.85. Stephen Richards made it for the 400 IM, while Vytenis Slenys made it in the 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke, and 200 IM.
Divers included in the All-Conference team selections are Travis Day for the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform, while Sam Hatch made it for the 3-meter and Watson the 1-meter and platform.
The men's 800 free relay and 400 free relay teams consisting of swimmers Taylor, Kendrick, Chad Fong, Ryan Krause and Christian Keil were also selected to the All-Conference team.
For the women’s team, Sara Jayne Baldwin made All-Conference for the 100 free, 100 breast, and 200 IM while Kassy Bispo made it for the 100 breast, and Londyn Clawson for the 200 breast.
Allie Dodds made the All-Conference team for her performance in the 500 free, 1650 free and 400 IM, while Rachel Grant made the team for the 200 butterfly, 200 IM and 400 IM. Candice Smith was selected to the team for the 100 and 200 backstroke, while Taryn Toolson made it in the 50 free and Kim Welch made it in the 100 and 200 butterfly.
The women’s team also had three relay teams receive All-Conference selections. These teams include the 200 free relay, 400 free relay and the 200 medley relay all consisting of swimmers Toolson, Baldwin, Welch, Grant, Smith and Aleesha Miller.
This season’s successes resulted in 14 school records and nine conference records being broken. At conference, 86 percent of the swimmers achieved lifetime bests.
During the season, Watson tallied three Swimmer and Diver of the Week awards, while Grant tallied two and Taylor and Dayna Christensen received one apiece. Grant, Taylor and Watson all won Most Valuable Player awards from the team award ceremony at the end of the season.