(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- After a week-long break, the BYU swim team will travel to Long Beach, Calif. for the annual Toshiba Classic Invite while the divers will head to Tucson, Ariz. for the Wildcat Diving Invite. Both teams will be facing top west coast competition starting Nov. 18 -20.
“This is always a really good meet for our swimmers,” BYU head coach Tim Powers said. “There are about 15 to 20 excellent teams that make it a very competitive and exciting meet. This meet is important for all swimmers competing because it’s an indicator of who will make conference. This gives everybody motivation to swim their absolute best.”
Last year, the men’s and women’s teams did well, with the men finishing sixth out of 14 and the women finishing fifth out of 25 teams. The team is returning quite a few swimmers who had major successes at last year’s invite.
Rachel Grant placed eighth in the 200 IM, sixth in the 400 IM, fourth in the 200 butterfly, fourth in the 800 free relay and sixth in the 400 medley relay.
Also returning for the women are swimmers Sara Jayne Baldwin who swam in the 200 free relay, 400 medley relay and 400 free relay and 100 breast. Candice Smith also returns after having placed ninth in the 100 backstroke and fifth in the 200 backstroke last year. Aleesha Miller will look to do well in the 50 free along with the 200 free relay, 400 medley relay and 400 free relay.
For the men’s team, top returners include Christian Keil who helped the team place fifth in the 200 free relay, fourth in the 400 medley relay, fifth in the 200 medley and fourth in the 400 free relay. John Kendrick competed in the 200 free relay, 800 free relay and 400 free relay as well, but he also placed eighth in the 200 free, and 14th in the 500 free. Vytenis Slenys placed 10th in the 200 IM, and seventh in the 200 breaststroke for the team.
“This meet provides not only a great opportunity for returning swimmers, but also for the freshmen,” Power said. “This is a trials finals meet which will be a new experience for them. It’s definitely a big change from high school competition.”
The highlight of last year’s diving invite was Brandon Watson’s first-place finish in the 3-meter board competition. Other retuning divers include Sam Hatch and Travis Day for the men, as well as Dayna Chritsensen and Mikenna Cloward for the women.
The Toshiba Classic will be having time trials in the morning and finals in the evening on each day. Check back to www.byucougars.com/swimming_diving for updates on the Toshiba Classic and Wildcat Diving Invitational Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.