The two-time Mountain West Conference defending champion BYU women's swimming and diving team has set the standard in the first two years of the conference. Only losing four seniors from last year's group, including All-American Jennifer Tasker, there will be a lot of familiar faces on the squad and some talented sophomores should help fill the void.
"Our team is pretty much the same team as last year, only a little more balanced," said head coach Stan Crump, who is entering his 21st season with the program.
Breaststroke will be the strength of this year's squad with sophomore Tamber Covington leading the way. After competing at NCAA nationals last season as only a freshman, Covington has a strong future at BYU. Covington set school pool and altitude records last year in the 200 breaststroke and broke the conference record at the MWC championships.
Amanda Grant, who specializes in the breaststroke and I.M., won the Kimball Award last year with a 3.98 GPA and performed well at conference. Sister Melanie, a freshman who specializes in the breaststroke, will be the third Grant sister to swim for BYU. Jamie Lambert and Nikki Tadlock also look to provide depth in the breaststroke.
Heidi Leitz, co-captain, will anchor the sprinting part of the women's squad this season. Leitz performed well last season winning 16 individual dual meet events and holds the school record in the 50 freestyle. Cortnee Adams, a seven-time All-American transfer from Auburn University, will be training with her in the seventh lane and they will be very exciting to watch.
Co-captain Ashlee Rumfallow will also provide leadership and strength to the team in the backstroke and I.M. Senior Tina Adkinson looks to perform well in her final year of competition. Freshman Nicole Burrows is the newcomer to watch on this year's squad.
Distance freestyle will be led by Codi Jensen, who swam season-best times in the 500 free and 1000 free against Air Force last season. Other young swimmers in this event include sophomore Rachel Mason and freshmen Lindsey Otteson and Amy Garrick.
"I feel good about our chances to defend the MWC title," said Crump, who was honored as MWC Women's Coach of the Year last season. "If we all swim well as a team, I have no doubt we will win. We have the advantage of a good schedule that will provide less travel and more home meets."
The diving team looks similar and will only have the loss of Anna Tutunnikova who advanced to nationals last season. Junior Kelli Einfeldt will lead a strong team, which hopes to advance six divers at conference. She won the one-meter and three-meter conference championships last season and won three MWC Diver of the Week awards.
Seniors Jessica Orr and Tessa Clark will provide leadership to the strong squad. Junior Aubrie Cropper and sophomore Rachelle Routsong competed strong last season and hope to represent the Cougars well.
"We have a nice, deep squad", said diving coach Keith Russell. "I like our chances to win at conference."