Freshman Londyn Clawson won the 200 breast to rank her fifth overall in the Mountain West Conference. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
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PROVO -- Clinching the Mountain West Conference regular-season title, the BYU women’s swim and dive team defeated Utah 218-82 on senior night at the Richards Building pool. The Cougar men fell to the Utes 162-138 in the closest meet of the season.
The women finish the season with a perfect 11-0 overall record and an 8-0 MWC record while the men finish 2-5 overall and 0-5 in the MWC.
“It was exactly how I expected the meet to be,” BYU head coach Tim Powers. “It is always a battle against Utah and we always have a great crowd. We swam as hard as we possibly could and we swam extremely well.”
Junior Rachel Grant left the pool with two new BYU pool records and three individual wins while sophomore Brandon Watson earned a 9.5 on one dive and an overall 402.98 on the 3-meter board, also winning the 1-meter competition.
The women’s 200-medley relay team of Candice Smith, Sara Jayne Christiansen Baldwin, Rachel Grant and Aleesha Miller recorded a season-best 1:44.18 tallying nine points to start off the meet. That time ranks them second to SDSU in the Mountain West Conference, moving them past Colorado State.
The men’s 200-medley relay followed suit winning the event with a time of 1:33.15, also a season-high. Jeff Ferrell led off in the backstroke, Justin Morin in the breast, Brent Stevenson in the fly and Daniel Bates anchored in the free.
Sweeping the 1000 free was Michelle Menezes in first, clocking in at 10:28.14, Amy Xu in second (10:31.14) and Alina Fong in third (10:37.83).
Junior John Kendrick placed third in the 1000 free with a time of 9:39.53, eight seconds faster than his previous season high. This season-best time ranks him seventh in the MWC in the event, where he was previously No. 12.
Senior Natasha Menezes next won the 200 free with a time of 1:50.76, .19 seconds off of her pool record set earlier this season. Earning significant points for the men were Keil (1:42.25 – season-best) and Chad Fong (1:42.76) going 1-2 in the 200 free. Keil’s time moves him from 19th to eighth in the MWC while Fong moves from 24th to 15th.
Smith and Erin Pabst went 1-2 in the 100 back, Smith finishing with a time of 56.61 and Pabst with a time of 59.10. J. Ferrell then finished third for the Cougars in the men’s 100 back with a time of 53.33.
Baldwin and Kassy Bispo next finished first and second in the 100 breast, Baldwin with a time of 1:04.89 and Bispo with a time of 1:05.66.
Grant shattered her old pool record of 2:01.04 with a new record of 1:59.89 in the 200 fly, winning the event by half a pool length and .02 seconds off of her season best. Marnie Knoop (2:07.40) and Jodie Ellis (2:09.12) finished in second and third, respectively.
Stevenson finished second in the 200 fly with a time of 1:55.92 to earn four points for the men.
In the only event that the Utah women won, Natalie Edge came out on top in the 50 free with a time of 23.54 while Miller finished .04 seconds behind her in second with a time of 23.58.
Seniors Tawni Jones (327.53) and Ava Jackman (318.08) went 1-2 on the 3-meter board, Jackman tallying a new season-high in points. Jones and Jackman rank first and second, respectively, on the 3-meter board.
Brandon Watson (371.40), Travis Day (333.90) and Ron Morris (329.40) all earned season-high marks on the men’s 1-meter diving competition, sweeping the first three places to earn significant points for the Cougars. Watson is No. 1 in the MWC on the 1-meter board while Day now ranks fourth (previously eighth) and Morris stays ranked at fifth.
Coming out of the break, Miller won the women’s 100 free with a time of 51.76 with teammates Baldwin (52.41) and K. Ferrell (52.53) placing third and fourth. Keil next won the men’s 100 free with a time of 46.58.
Smith was out in front the whole time during the 200 back, finishing two body lengths ahead of Pabst in second place. Smith finished with a time of 2:02.47 while Pabst finished with a 2:04.83.
Winning the 200 breast for the Cougars was Londyn Clawson, clocking in at 2:19.46, a new career-best time. Clawson’s new time ranks her fifth in the MWC - previously she was No. 9.
N. Menezes found her second win of the night in the 500 free, touching the wall with a time of 5:03.23, followed by teammates Xu in second (5:07.14) and M. Menezes in third (5:09.94).
Coming from fourth place to finish second, Kendrick touched the wall with a time of 4:36.77, one second behind Rick Mason of Utah (4:35.71) in a close race.
Grant won the 100 fly for the Cougars, clocking in with a time of 55.21, a season best in the event, ranking her third in the MWC. In the men’s 100 fly, freshman Ryan Bills placed second in the highly-contested event, touching the wall with a time of 51.49.
Jones was once again on top of the women’s diving competition, earning a 317.10 on the 1-meter board, a new season-high for the No. 2 MWC diver in the event. Senior Emily Woods tallied a season-high 287.48 on the 1-meter, finishing second in the event and ranking her 10th in the MWC.
Wiping out the competition on the 3-meter board was No. 1-ranked in the MWC, Watson, who scored a stunning 402.98 total points to win the event. He was followed by Day in second (344.48), Morris in third (341.55) and Sam Hatch in fourth (328.05).
Grant broke her second pool record of the night with a time of 2:02.44 of the 200 IM. The old record was held by current BYU swimmer, Baldwin, who set the record at 2:04.68 while she was in high school.
Junior Slenys and freshman Hayden Palmer went 1-2 in the 200 IM to end the individual events of the night. Slenys finished with a time of 1:54.62 and Palmer with a time of 1:56.35.
The women finished the meet with a win in the 400-free relay (K. Ferrell, N. Menezes, Smith, Miller) with a time of 3:26.52. In the loudest and closest race of the night, the Cougar men finished off the meet right with a win in the 400-free relay. The team of Keil, Bates, Kendrick and Mason finished with a time of 3:06.33.
The Cougars will next travel to Oklahoma City for the MWC Championships Feb. 24-27.