The women's 400 medley relay team broke both the MWC and BYU records on Friday.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- With four BYU records broken on day three of the Mountain West Conference Championships, the BYU women’s swim and dive team found itself back on top with a 60.5-point cushion in front of second-place Wyoming. The men tallied 363.5 total points to stay in the four spot after Friday’s competition, 9.5 points behind Wyoming.
“We are swimming hard,” said BYU head coach Tim Powers. “We felt good today and both the men and the women swam great. They are continuing to swim lifetime bests.”
Friday’s competition started out with Rachel Grant finishing second in the 400 IM, five seconds off her personal-best time and former MWC record. She set a new BYU record in the event with a time of 4:13.38, an NCAA provisional time. Grant finished behind UNLV’s Zsuzsanna Jakabos who placed 14th in that event at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Jakabos posted a time of 4:06.70 on the afternoon.
Finishing out the scoring in the women’s 400 IM for the Cougars was Marnie Knoop in 14th with a time of 4:30.77 and Celleigh McHenry in 16th with a time of 4:31.35.
The men started out the competition with Kenneth Clark placing fourth in the 400 IM with a time of 3:57.88.
Kirsty Ferrell was the lone Cougar in the final heat of the 100 fly, placing fourth with a time of 54.07. Ferrell’s time ranks second in BYU’s all-time bests. Amanda Heninger finished 14th in the event with a time of 56.82 and Jodie Ellis placed 16th with a time of 57.14.
Dougie Broadbent and Blake Henderson both made it to the finals in the 100 fly, placing seventh and eighth, respectively. Broadbent touched the wall with a time of 49.24, ranking fifth in BYU’s all-time best for the event. Henderson finished with a time of 49.63. Brent Stevenson finished out the scoring for the Cougars in that event in 15th place with a time of 50.83.
Touching the wall only .02-seconds behind Marva Harpak of UNLV was Natasha Menezes. She finished with a time of 1:47.44 – a new BYU record. Teammate Leilani Roberts finished seventh in the event with a time of 1:49.87 while Whitney Hall finished 16th with a time of 1:53.44.
The women started pulling away from the rest of the field in total points, finishing the night with 422 points.
John Kendrick and Stott Bushnell represented their Cougars well in the 200 free, both finishing in the top five in the event. Kendrick finished in second with a time of 1:36.84, .38 seconds behind first place, and second in BYU’s all-time bests in the event. Bushnell finished fifth in the event with a time of 1:38.17, a personal best. BYU sprinter Gregor Greiner placed 10th in the consolation heat of the 200 free with a time of 1:38.39 – a time good enough to place him seventh in the finals.
Event 23 was led by BYU’s all-time fastest sprinter, Aleesha Miller, placing fifth in the 100 breast with a time of 1:03.58. Kelsey Higginson placed eighth in the event with a time of 1:04.54, picking up 11 points for the Cougars. Sara Jayne Christiansen won the consolation heat (ninth place) with a time of 1:03.14, a time which would’ve placed her fourth in the finals.
Four Cougars scored points in the men’s 100 breast with Vytenis Slenys leading the way. Slenys finished fifth with a time of 55.33, ranking fourth in BYU all-time. David Mason finished eighth in the event with a time of 55.81. Justin Morin finished 15th (57.03) and Andrew Merrell finished 16th (57.23).
The 100 breast and the 200 free moved the Cougar men up to third place for the two events, after regaining the four spot after the 100 back.
Candice Smith was the only Cougar in the top 16 for the 100 back, placing fourth in the event with a time of 55.36, a new BYU record. Her 15 points earned in that event put the Cougars 21.5 points ahead of second-place UNLV.
Jacoby Jacobsen was BYU’s sole backstroker in the 100-yard event, placing 10th with a time of 49.82.
Divers Ava Jackman and Tawni Jones placed second and third, respectively, on the platform. Jackman scored 227.35 points while Jones posted 224.10 points. Syrena Miskin finished 15th on the platform with a score of 175.70.
Ava Jackman mid-air in one of her dives off the platform on Friday. (Stephen Nowland/NCAA Photos)
The 400 medley relay team of Smith, Christiansen, Ferrell and Miller finished off the night with a 40-point win as well as a new BYU and MWC record. The team touched the wall with a time of 3:40.63, one full second ahead of UNLV’s old MWC record.
The men’s 400 medley relay team of Jacobsen, Slenys, Broadbent and Greiner finished fourth with a time of 3:17.06 to give the Cougars 363.5 points for the week.
“Tomorrow we need to get up and go,” said Powers. “We must swim fast in the morning to make it to finals in the afternoon. We’ve got some really good things ahead of us tomorrow.”
The final day of MWC Championships will be Saturday, including the 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly, men’s platform diving, 1650 free and the 400 free relay. Check back to www.byucougars.com/swimming_diving/ for the MWCC final results on Saturday.
CLICK HERE for day two of the MWC.