H20 Cougars in first and second after day three

Freshman Hayden Palmer won the 400 IM to start off day three right for the Cougars. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

OKLAHOMA CITY -- After day three of the Mountain West Conference Championships the BYU women continue to be on top with 484 points while the men stay in second with 491.5 points.

UNLV leads the men with 555 points, followed by BYU, Air Force (423.5), Wyoming (389), TCU (318) and Utah (262). Following the BYU women in first is Wyoming (448), San Diego State (400), UNLV (275), Utah (258), Colorado State (237), TCU (165), New Mexico (153) and Air Force in ninth (88).

“I’m pleased with the way we’re doing here,” said BYU head coach Tim Powers. “The divers have done just fantastic - that’s what we hoped they would do. One more day of competition and there is still a lot more to look forward to. We’re encouraged and we’ll keep plugging along.”

Finishing first in the prelims and finals of the men’s 400 individual medley was Hayden Palmer with a preliminary time of 3:56.34 and a final time of 3:53.51, dropping over eight seconds of his seeded time and earning the first NCAA-B cut of the night. Freshman Ryan Bills also placed 12th in the prelims of the 400 IM with a time of 4:02.47, dropping nine seconds and later dropping three more seconds in the finals with a time of 3:59.49, finishing ninth. His time of 3:59.49 would’ve placed him in fourth in the top heat.

Junior Rachel Grant came out four seconds ahead of the field in the 400 IM with an NCAA provisional time of 4:16.91 in the prelims and dropped another three seconds in finals with a time of 4:13.47.

Sophomore Brent Stevenson was the only Cougar to make it to the finals in the 100 fly, placing 12th with a time of 50.67 in prelims and 11th place in finals with a time of 50.03.

Senior Kirsty Ferrell placed third in the 100 fly in the prelims with a time of 55.59 and moved up one spot in the finals to second place with a time of 55.21 to earn 17 points for the BYU women.

Junior John Kendrick finished second in the 200 free in the prelims with a time of 1:38.38 while teammate Christian Keil just missed the cutoff in ninth with a time of 1:40.22. Kendrick placed third in the finals with a time of 1:37.82, an NCAA provisional time while sophomore Chad Fong moved from 14th to tying Keil for ninth in the finals, both touching the wall at 1:40.15.

Senior Natasha Menezes finished third in the preliminary 200 free with a time of 1:49.30 and moved up to second place in the finals, touching the wall with a time of 1:48.71.

Provisionally qualifying for NCAA Championships, senior David Mason placed fourth in the prelims of the 100 breast with a time of 55.08 while junior Vytenis Slenys was right behind him in fifth with a time of 55.76. In the finals, Mason finished fourth and Slenys in fifth, both earning NCAA-B cuts with respective times of 55.00 and 55.20.

Junior Sara Jayne Baldwin and Kassandra Bispo ranked third and fourth, respectively, in the 100 breast prelims, both provisionally qualifying for NCAA Championships. Later in the finals, Baldwin and Bispo once again placed third and fourth with final times of 1:02.27 and 1:02.94, respectively. Sophomore Kelsey Higginson finished eighth in prelims (1:03.83) and finals (1:04.35) to earn a total of 42 points in the heat. Aleesha Miller finished ninth with a time of 1:03.08 that would’ve placed her fifth in the final heat while Taryn Toolson placed 12th (1:04.09), Londyn Clawson in 13th (1:04.46) and Jodie Ellis in 16th (1:05.78) in the 100 breast.

Senior Jeff Ferrell placed 13th in the prelims of the 100 back with a time of 50.97 and finished 15th in the finals, clocking in at 51.68.

Sophomre Candice Smith ranked third in the 100 back to qualify provisionally for the NCAA Championships with a time of 55.01 in the preliminary swim and finished fourth in the finals with a time of 55.29.

The first time competing on the 5-meter platform this season, Brandon Watson placed second in the preliminary and final rounds with a final point total of 373.15 to earn 17 points for the men. Sam Hatch finished fourth with a final score of 290.80 while Nic Suder finished fifth (290.80) and Ron Morris finished sixth (289.50).

The men’s 400 medley relay was led by powerhouse UNLV while the Cougars finished sixth in the event with J. Ferrell, Mason, Ryan Bills and Keil touching the wall with a time of 3:18.80.

The women’s 400 medley relay was taken by SDSU with a time of 3:39.86 while the Cougar women took second with an NCAA-B cut time of 3:41.51. Candice Smith started out in the backstroke, Sara Jayne Baldwin followed her in the breaststroke, Grant in the fly and Miller anchoring in the free.

For results from day two, click HERE.

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