Defending MWC 400 IM record holder, Rachel Grant, will look to win that event and more during this week's MWC Championships. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Looking for its third-straight Mountain West Conference championship, the BYU women’s swim team (17-1, 8-0) travels to MWC Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla. The men’s swim team (6-4, 4-3) is also looking to capture its sixth MWC championship title this week.
“We are very excited for conference championships,” said BYU head coach Tim Powers. “We are prepared to swim well and the kids are excited.”
The swimmers are coming off of a close win at Utah while the divers have most recently competed against top-ranked Stanford. Against Utah, the women won 11 out of 16 events, while the men came out with nine out of the 16 events.
In the diving meet against the Stanford Cardinal, BYU came out with one second-place finish by Ava Jackman on the 3-meter board (308.55) and two third-place finishes by Jackman (1-meter, 281.675) and Ron Morris (3-meter, 348.525).
BYU swimmers to watch in this week’s competition include 400 IM MWC reigning champion, Rachel Grant. She broke her own record this season at the Nike Cup with a time of 4:18.37. Aleesha Miller is also one to watch, who will be competing in the 50 free. Miller holds the second-fastest 50 free time on the season in the MWC (23.07).
One of the Cougars’ strongest events will be the 100 freestyle with Miller (50.79) holding the fourth-fastest time in the MWC. Teammates Kirsty Ferrell (51.02) and Leilani Roberts (51.18) place fifth and sixth in the event in the MWC this season.
Junior distance-dominator Natasha Menezes will be defending not only the 200 freestyle title, but the 500 free title as well. She posted a 1:49.09 at MWCC last year in the 200 free and a 4:51.52 in the 500 free. Her times this season are right on track to breaking those times in Oklahoma City this week.
Sophomore Christian Keil holds the fourth-fastest time in the MWC in the 50 free this season at 20.77 and looks to place high for the Cougars.
Senior sprinter Gregor Greiner holds the fastest time in the MWC in the 100 free on the season at 44.59, achieved at the Nike Cup. He will look to win the event for BYU.
Freshman backstroker Candice Smith will look to earn points for the Cougars in both the 100 and 200 backstroke events. Smith holds the fourth-fastest time in the 100 (56.66) and the No. 1 time in the 200 (1:59.14) in the MWC this season.
Senior backstroker Jacoby Jacobsen holds the fourth-fastest time in the 100 back this season in the MWC (50.65), and the fifth-fastest time in the 200 back with a time of 1:50.17.
Sophomore Sara Jayne Christiansen will look to help her Cougars gain points in the 100 breast as she holds the fifth-fastest time in the event on the season for the MWC (1:04.96).
Grant will also look to challenge Utah (who holds the top three spots) in the 100 fly. Grant posted her best time in the event this year against Wyoming (56.06). She will also look to place high in the 200 fly as she currently holds the three-spot in the event with a time of 1:59.80, achieved at the Nike Cup.
Junior Dougie Broadbent will look to final in the 100 fly, as he holds the fifth-fastest time in the MWC this season at 49.80. He will also hope to make it to finals in the 200 fly as he currently holds the six-spot in the event with a time of 1:49.74, achieved at the Nike Cup.
Do-all Grant also holds the No. 2 spot in the 200 IM this season in the MWC, behind Utah’s Hannah Caron, and will look to final in that event to earn points for her Cougars.
As for the relays, all of the No. 1 spots belong to UNLV or Utah. The women will be high contenders for the 200 free relay, 400 free relay and 400 medley relay titles. The men will look to take the 400 free and 400 medley relay titles.
Relay and diving competition will begin on Wednesday, with the individual events beginning Thursday. Check www.byucougars.com/swimming_diving/ each night to get updates from Oklahoma.