Swimmers Set for Conference Championships

Natasha Menezes and the Cougar women look to repeat as champions of the MWCC this week. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- Both the BYU men's and women's swim and dive teams jump in the water this week hoping to continue their Mountain West Conference regular-season success as they compete in the MWC Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla., Feb. 27- March 1. Both Cougar swim and dive teams won the out-right regular-season title this year.

"Our team knows that the regular season is history now and the task at hand requires us to swim well in our last conference meet of the year," BYU men's swim coach Tim Powers said. "We know everyone else will be bringing their all in this meet so we need to be prepared to do the same. Our team is excited to jump back in the pool after three weeks of lay off."

The last time that the men's and women's swim teams competed was almost a month ago as Utah came to the Richards Building Pool on Jan. 31. In that meet, the Cougar men won 189-100, while the BYU women toppled the Utes by a score of 190-110. The BYU wins over Utah capped off a perfect MWC regular season for both the Cougar men and women.

The No. 25 BYU men are led by a talented group of seniors in Jorge Azevedo, Travis Price, Zach Anderson, Jeffrey Su and Neal Hamilton who currently all have at least one season-best time for the Cougars. Azevedo is leading the way in the 100-yard butterfly as he has recorded the top MWC time this season with a 48.11 -- which is more than a second faster than anyone else in the conference.

Price currently leads the MWC in the 200 freestyle (1:39.06), Anderson has recorded the season's top time in the 500 free (4:28.30) and Hamilton is touched the wall faster than anyone else in the MWC in the 400 IM (3:57.44). Su's season-best times in the 50 and 100 free are in the top five in the conference this season.

"Our main goal is to win another MWC Championships title and our second goal is get as many girls as possible qualified for Nationals," BYU women's swim coach Stan Crump said. "The regular season is nice but in this end-of-the-year meet we know that we are going to see the best that teams have to offer."

The BYU women are the reigning MWCC champs and they have won it seven out of the last nine conference championships. In last year's MWCC, the Cougar women finished with a score of 747, which was 129 more points than any other team.

Freshmen Rachel Grant and sophomore Natasha Menezes look to lead the Cougar women this week. Grant has recorded the top time in the MWC this season in both the 200 fly (2:00.74) and 400 IM (4:22.00), while Menezes times of 4:54.33 and 10:08.15 are tops in the MWC in the 500 and 1000 free, respectively.

MWCC action starts on Wednesday Feb. 27 and continues through Saturday March 1 and fans can follow live stats on the MWC website by clicking on the following link- themwc.cstv.com/livestats/c-swim/results/index.htm

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