Cougars Dive Into Swim Season This Friday

PROVO -- The BYU men's and women's swimming and diving teams will open the 2003-04 season against in-state rival Utah this Friday at the University of Utah at 6 p.m. (MDT).

The meet will be held at the Ute Natatorium, which is directly north of the Jon M. Huntsman Center (1825 E. South Campus Drive).

The Cougars have been picked to win the Mountain West Conference, and they are the defending conference champions. With four first place votes, BYU was able to receive the highest spot in the conference in the men's poll. The women were predicted to finish second, receiving three first place votes.

With the return of six first-team All-MWC athletes, and another exceptionally strong recruiting class, the men's team is looking to ensure that it stays at the top of the Mountain West for years to come.

"This year's team has some big shoes to fill with everything the team accomplished last season," said men's coach Tim Powers, "but the talent is there for this team to do it."

The women's team also returns 12 all-conference athletes, two first-team All-MWC athletes, and 10 second-team All-MWC athletes.

"We are so young in a lot of areas like sprints and diving, but the talent is there," said women's coach Stan Crump. "If we train hard, stay healthy, and peak at the right time we will be pretty good."

Scouting Report -- BYU

Randy Belliston, a senior and co-captain, returns for his final season at BYU. Belliston finished last year strong by winning the 200 and 400 I.M. titles at the MWC Championships, finishing second in the 200 breaststroke, and receiving an invite to the NCAA Championships. He also set a new school record in the 200 I.M., and new MWC records in both the 200 and 400 I.M.

Junior Diogo Yabe, the Brazilian national record holder in the IM, set a new school record in the 100 fly last season, breaking a record that had stood for nearly 20 years.

The Cougar women are returning the top breaststroker in the MWC, Tamber Covington, the 2003 MWC Champion in both the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke events.

Among those returning is senior Monica Ferrell, a second-team All-MWC performer last season in the 200-yard backstroke and the 200-yard fly. Last season Ferrell recorded 15 top-three finishes on the year including a victory in the 200 fly at the Lobo Invite. Both Ferrell and Covington will be sharing the duties of team captain for this year's squad.

Scouting Report-Utah

The University of Utah women's team is young, with six freshmen and only two seniors. Coach Litzinger of the University of Utah has said that their focus this season will be more on the dual meet competition in the conference, and they will center their focus on getting ready for the conference championships.

The men's team is also young, with 13 freshmen and only one senior. The Utes competed in a Senior Invite meet last Friday. Utah swimmers Evan Castro, Cody Rempfer, Tessa Greegor, and Kristen Kaiser had the opportunity to compete in the 2003 ConocoPhillips U.S. National Swimming Championships last August in College Park, Md.