Cougars Over Rams in Close Meet

Rachel Grant won both the 100 and 200 fly against CSU Friday. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- In the closest dual meet of the season, the BYU women’s swim team improved to 8-0 overall and 5-0 in the Mountain West Conference after defeating Colorado State 189.5-110.5 at home Friday.

“I was pleased that in 32 events in 24 hours we swam well,” BYU head coach Tim Powers said. “Colorado State swam well, they are a deep team, but we were able to come out on top in a lot of events. We took the risk of putting people in events that they don’t normally swim and they did well.”

Leading the Cougars to victory was senior Natasha Menezes who found wins in both the 1000 free and the 500 free while junior Rachel Grant also tallied two wins in the 100 and 200 fly and Sara Jayne Christiansen Baldwin chalked up two wins in the 50 free and the 200 IM.

Starting off the meet with a strong win, the 200 medley relay team of Candice Smith, Sara Jayne Christiansen Baldwin, Kirsty Ferrell and Aleesha Miller swam neck and neck with CSU, out-touching them at the last second to win the event with a time of 1:45.72. Earning 11 points from the ‘A’ relay and two points from the ‘B’ relay, the Cougars began on top 13-4.

Pulling two body lengths ahead of second place in the 1000 free at lap 15 was senior Natasha Menezes who went on to win the event by five seconds with a time of 10:22.89.

Swimming back-to-back events was N. Menezes who placed third in the 200 free after just getting out of the water a minute earlier (1:55.18). Her sister, Michelle Menezes was ahead of the pack for most of the race, barely touching in second behind CSU’s Gisella Cianci. M. Menezes clocked in at 1:53.95 while Cianci won at 1:53.71.

Candice Smith represented the Cougars in the 100 back, finishing second to Breann Fuller of CSU who had a near-perfect start off the block. Fuller finished with a time of 56.24 while Smith touched at 56.47.

With only one point separating the two teams, the Cougars led the Rams after event four 37.5-36.5

Only .15 seconds in front of Ram Nicole Lynch in second place was freshman Kassy Bispo winning the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:05.52.

Five seconds ahead of the rest of the field was Grant in the 200 fly, finishing with a time of 2:01.67 in first place.

Going 1-2 in the 50 free was Baldwin in first with a time of 24.02 and Ferrell in second with a time of 24.06 to earn significant points (13) for the Cougars in the heavily-contested meet.

Earning 16 points for the Cougars were divers Tawni Jones, Ava Jackman and Dayna Christensen going 1-2-3 on the 3-meter board. Jones finished with a final score of 333.68, Jackman with 311.78 and Christensen with 279.38 points.

Going into the break the Cougars led the Rams 92.5-57.5.

After the 15-minute break, the 100 free was neck-and-neck with Miller and Ferrell pulling away to finish respectively first and second in the event. Miller won with a time of 51.85 while Ferrell finished in 52.76.

In a grueling race in the 200 back, Smith maintained the lead the entire race, clocking in at 2:02.00, only .24 seconds off of her own BYU pool record.

With only .02 seconds separating Nicole Lynch of CSU in first from freshman Londyn Clawson in second, Lynch won the 200 breast with a time of 2:22.58 with Clawson at 2:22.60.

Winning her second event on the night was N. Menezes in the 500 free, tallying a time of 5:05.40. Also winning her second event was Grant in the 100 fly, touching with a time of 56.66.

After event 13, the Cougars led 151.5-93.5 over the Rams.

The Cougars went first, second and fourth on the 1-meter board, Jones winning her second event on the night with 302.25 points, Jackman in second with 294.45 points and Emily Woods in fourth with 268.13 points. Shayna Solomon of Colorado State finished third with 279.98 points.

Baldwin won the 200 IM, touching five seconds ahead of second place with a time of 2:05.89.

400 free relay Ferrell led off the 400 free relay, leading at the 50 mark, but coming in second at the 100 to touch for N. Menezes to dive in in second position to gain the lead again. Grant next dove in to widen the lead to two seconds for anchor Miller to bring the win home five seconds ahead of CSU with a time of 3:27.94.

Both the men and the women will next travel to Air Force to take on the Falcons at 6 p.m. on Jan. 21.

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