BYU Women Claim MWC Championship Title, Men in Fourth

For the eighth time since the inception of the Mountain West Conference, the BYU women's swim and dive team won the Championship title Saturday.

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The BYU women’s swim and dive team topped off its perfect season in the Mountain West Conference with a spotless 8-0 record on the season and the title of MWC Champions. The men finished fourth overall and posted record-breaking swims.

“It’s been a great meet and we had great swims all around,” said BYU head coach Tim Powers. “The swimmers are ecstatic – and they should be, they swam very well.”

Being awarded for not only their stellar performance at MWC Championships, but throughout the year, Ron Morris and Ava Jackman were both named MWC Divers of the Year. Morris and Jackman both achieved Diver of the Week honors twice during the 2008-09 season. Both Morris and Jackman placed first on the 1-meter board on Wednesday of MWC Championships.

Gregor Greiner came out of the 100 free a champion, as well as Leilani Roberts in the same event. Natasha Menezes won the 1650 free, placing 13 seconds ahead of second. The team of Roberts, Menezes, Kirsty Ferrell and Aleesha Miller took the 400 free relay title, breaking the MWC and BYU records.

To start off the day was Candice Smith placing third in the 200 back with a time of 1:57.09. Celligh McHenry finished 11th in the event with a time of 2:01.23, however her preliminary time of 2:01.14 was a personal best.

Senior Jacoby Jacobsen finished fourth in the 200 back with a time of 1:48.61, racking up 15 points for the Cougar men. Jeff Ferrell also finaled in the event, placing seventh with a time of 1:49.03. Christian Keil posted a 14th-place finish in the 200 back with a time of 1:52.49.

Four out of the eight finalists in the women’s 100 free were from BYU, taking first, second, fifth and seventh in the event. Leilani Roberts led the field with a time of 49.42, a new MWC and BYU all-time record. Miller placed second with a time of 49.67 while Ferrell placed fifth (50.39) and Sara Jayne Christiansen placed seventh (50.99).

Greiner won the 100 freestyle with a time of 43.34, a new MWC and BYU all-time record. Daniel Bates placed 12th in the event (45.58), while Stott Bushnell (45.74) and Kenneth Clark (45.88) placed 15th and 16th, respectively.

Jodie Ellis and Kelsey Higginson placed 11th (2:21.38) and 13th (2:22.68) in the 200 breaststroke for the Cougars, tallying 10 points collectively.

Vytenis Slenys barely missed the finals cutoff for the 200 breast, finishing first in the consolation heat (ninth) with a score of 2:00.42. Justin Morin placed 11th in the event with a time of 2:03.47.

Rachel Grant finished third in the 200 fly with a time of 1:57.79 while teammate Marnie Knoop placed 15th with a time of 2:05.71.

Dougie Broadbent finished 10th in the 200 fly with a time of 1:50.17, a personal best.

After winning the 500 free earlier in the week’s competition, N. Menezes also won the 1650-yard free with a personal-best time of 16:30.20. She broke the MWC record with that time previously set by Marta Stepanczuk by Utah in 2005.

Michelle Menezes placed 10th in the 1650 free with a time of 17:09.46 while Celleigh McHenry finished right behind her in 11th place with a time of 17:10.34.

For the men, John Kendrick placed highest for the Cougars in third with a time of 15:21.66, breaking the BYU all-time record by three seconds. Jeff Ferrell placed ninth in the event with a time of 15:34.53, picking up nine points for the Cougar men.

As for platform diving, the men were led by 2008-09 MWC Diver of the Year, Ron Morris, placing third in the event with a score of 321.85. Scott Thalman also made it to the finals where he placed seventh with a score of 227.55. Sam Hatch beat out the competition in the consolation round with a score of 274.60, which would’ve placed him fifth in the finals.

Finishing the meet off as they started, the women’s 400 free relay team of Roberts, N. Menezes, K. Ferrell and Miller won the event with a time of 3:18.77, breaking the previous BYU all-time record and MWC record.

The men finished off their side of the meet in the 400 free relay, placing second with a time of 2:57.33. Greiner led off for the men, followed by Daniel Bates, Kendrick and Mason. They were one second off of the BYU record.

The women finished off the meet with 643 total points, being crowned champions. UNLV was in second with 585.5 points, followed by Wyoming (483), Utah (468.5), Colorado State (452.5), San Diego State (375), TCU (354.5), New Mexico (211) and Air Force (128).

The men finished off the meet in fourth place, only 11.5 points behind Wyoming in third (551). The UNLV men were crowned champions with 886.5 points, followed by Air Force (613), Wyoming, BYU, TCU (401) and Utah (326).

While many BYU swimmers posted record-breaking NCAA provisional times, it is not certain of who will be asked to attend NCAA Championships. Check back to www.byucougars.com/swimming_diving/ for updates on BYU’s NCAA status. NCAA Championships will be held for the women in College Station, Texas March 19-21 and the men’s competition will be held March 26-28.

CLICK HERE for day three of the MWC.

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