Mark Chay put in one of the gutsiest performances of the evening (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
SALT LAKE CITY -- The BYU men and women swimming teams dropped both of the meets with the University of Utah and by so doing the men shared the regular season title with the Utes and the Utah women won the regular season championship outright. The Cougars fell behind early, losing both relays to begin the meet and eventually fell 155-88 for the women and 135-108 for the men.
The Utah teams both began the meet in skin suits which surprised both Cougar coaches but neither used the faster suits for the reason of the losses.
"We should have been better prepared, and that's my fault," men's head coach Tim Powers said. "We didn't expect them to be wearing the fast suits, but that is still no excuse."
"Those are the kinds of results you can have when you show up in skin suits and are well rested," women's head coach Stan Crump said. "We'll get another chance at them again in three weeks; today they just wanted it worse than we did."
The women were beaten to the wall in all but one event of the evening. BYU went one-two-three in the 200 breast led by freshman Jamie Bloom's 2:20.23. She was followed by senior Melanie Grant and sophomore Kiersten Braithwaite finishing with times of 2:22.78 and 2:23.70.
The most noteworthy performance of the evening for the Cougar women was freshman diver Angela Nelson. Despite finding out earlier in the day that a friend from back home in Texas had been killed in an automobile accident, Nelson managed to place first on the 1-meter with a score of 289.13 and second on the 3-meter with a score of 271.87.
"Our women really overcame a lot to dive, and overall I think they did well," diving coach Keith Russell said.
The men were also only able to capture two first place finishes on the evening. Senior Kenny Carpenter closed in the last 10 yards to overtake Utah's Matan Ratz in the 200 free, finishing the event with a time of 1:41.56. The men's final relay team also took the top spot scoring of time of 3:04.85 in the 400 free relay.
Sophomore Mark Chay showed why he is one of the toughest competitors in the Mountain West Conference and reigning two-time MWC swimmer of the week when he re-aggravated a sprained ankle suffered a week and a half ago. Chay turned his ankle when pushing off the blocks in the men's 200 IM, the fifth event for the men on the evening. After icing the ankle on the bench for a while, Chay returned to the pool to compete in the tenth event for the men, the 500 free. The native of Singapore led the event until the last few lengths of the pool, but still managed to place second with a time of 4:47.50
The swimmers will now spend the next few weeks in preparation for the Mountain West Conference Championships being held in Oklahoma City, Feb. 23-26. The divers will have one more meet in preparation of the championships; a match up with the divers of Stanford University on Friday, in Provo.