All-American Brandon Watson placed fifth nationally in the 3-meter dive and helped the Cougars to a 26th-place national finish. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
In his 32nd year at the helm of the BYU men's swim team, head coach Tim Powers collected his 13th conference title as his team posted a 7-1 record and had its highest national finish since the 1993-94 season, ending 26th place.
During the 2006-07 season Powers improved his record to 255-91 overall while the BYU squad set three Mountain West Conference and school records at the NCAA Championships. Dive coach Keith Russell was honored as the 2006-07 MWC Dive Coach of the Year, his 14th coaching accolade.
The Cougars sent five athletes to the NCAA Championships and were led by All-Americans Brett Allen and freshman diver Brandon Watson. Allen placed 14th nationally in the 50 free (19.58) and set an MWC and BYU record. Jorge Azevedo, Chris Patience and Travis Price joined Allen in the 200 free and 400 free relays. In both relays they earned All-America Second Team honors with a time of 1:19.52 in the 200 free and 2:56.36 in the 400 free relay where they also set an MWC and BYU record.
Watson, the 2006-07 MWC Diver of the Year, represented the Cougars on the boards and earned All-America First Team honors with his fifth-place national finish on the 3-meter dive (385.85). In the 1-meter dive (322.15) Watson was second-team All-American as he place 16th overall.
The Cougars went into the MWC Championships with a 4-1 conference record, tying UNLV as regular-season champions. BYU fought the Rebels until the very end and took second in one of the closest MWC Championships ever by only 15 points, a difference that could be made up in one event.
Allen had one of the most impressive BYU performances at the MWC Championships where he tied the MWC 50 free record (19.62), won the 50 free (19.62) and 100 free (43.84) MWC titles and contributed on two first-place relay squads--the 200 medley (1:28.60) and 200 free (1:19.13). Allen earned six All-MWC awards and was honored as the 2006-07 MWC Co-Swimmer of the Year.
Azevedo had two MWC titles in the 100 fly (47.71) and the 100 back (49.33) and swam with Allen on the first-place 200 medley and 200 free relays. Azevedo earned All-MWC honors in seven different events, including the 100 free where he placed fourth (44.80).
Watson was the third Cougar to take home two MWC titles winning the 1- (344.80) and 3-meter (393.65) dives and placing second in the platform dive (332.35). Watson earned All-MWC in all three events and was honored as the 2006-07 MWC Diver of the Year.
BYU had nine other All-MWC selections in 11 different events. Price earned six All-MWC awards (500 free, 200 free, 1650 free, 200 free relay, 800 free relay and 400 free relay), Patience had five (100 free, 200 free relay, 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay and 400 free relay), Zach Anderson and Chad Fong took home three (Anderson in the 500 free, 200 free and 800 free relay and Fong in the 500 free, 1650 free and 800 free relay), Neal Hamilton and Jacoby Jacobson earned two (Hamilton in the 400 IM and 800 free relay and Jacobson in the 100 back and 400 medley relay) and Jeffrey Su (200 fly), Mark Chay (200 medley relay) and Kenny Clark (200 IM) each had one.
Throughout the regular season Allen was honored as the MWC Swimmer of the Week three different times (11/22/06, 1/24/07 and 2/7/07), and Watson was honored as the MWC Diver of the Week twice (1/24/07 and 2/7/07).
Though the Cougars will graduate All-Americans Allen and Azevedo along with All-MWC Chay, they will be a tough team to beat in the MWC next year returning athletes that provided depth to this year's MWC Regular-Season Championship team.