OKLAHOMA CITY -- The BYU women's and No. 15 men's swimming and diving teams won the Mountain West Conference Swimming and Diving Championships for the second year in a row, Saturday. The men battled back from an 8.5-point deficit to defeat UNLV by 11.5 points, while the women's team dominated the competition all four days, winning by 279 points.
"This was the best tapered team we have ever had in my 20 years at BYU," women's coach Stan Crump said. "We just had a phenomenal meet, we had people just dropping out of the sky with unbelievable swims." Crump was named the 2001 MWC Women's Coach of the Year.
The BYU women's team dominated the meet from day one and never relinquished the lead en route to its second consecutive MWC Championship. Freshman Tamber Covington was BYU's lone winner, taking first-place in the 200 breast, setting a new meet-record with a time of 2:14.69 while Amanda Grant, Jamie Lambert and Jennifer Tasker finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively. Ashlee Rumfallow tied for second in the 200 back while teammates Melissa Thompson, Tina Adkinson and Amy McClellan finished fourth, sixth and seventh. Sophomore Heidi Lietz swam to a fourth-place finish in the 100 free while Monica Ferrell had a seventh-place finish in the 200 butterfly. Freshman Codi Jensen was BYU's top finisher in the 1650 free, coming in fifth place. The 400 free relay team of Rumfallow, Grant, Amy Thompson and Lietz finished fourth for the Cougars.
Junior Tessa Clark won the silver in the platform diving event, scoring 319.55 points. Teammates Anna Tutunnikova and Kelli Einfeldt finished fourth and sixth with scores of 305.80 and 293.60, respectively.
The lead changed three times on the men's side before BYU emerged victorious. Sweeping the top three platform diving medals helped seal the win for the Cougars. Sophomore Justin Wilcock won the
gold with a new meet-record 496.25 points. Viraj Patil and Aaron Russell finished second and third
with scores of 462.15 and 451.20, respectively. Wilcock was also named the 2001 MWC Men's Diver of the Year.
A turning point in the meet came when BYU swept the top three spots in the 200 backstroke event. All-American Arunas Savickas, Gary Tan and Chris Johnson finished first, second and third to gain valuable points for the Cougars. Nick Tobler, who was named the 2001 MWC Men's Freshman of the Year, finished second in the 200 breast with a time of 2:00.75. Sophomore Jeff Mason picked up a third-place finish in the 100 free while teammates Mike Mullen and Jay Buys finished sixth and eighth. In the 1650 free, Ryan Ayres swam to a third-place finish while Alexander Denke and Rob Morris picked up sixth- and seventh-place finishes. Josh Johnston was BYU's top finisher in the 200 butterfly, swimming to a sixth-place finish. The 400 free relay team of Savickas, Mullen, Mason and Tan had an important second-place finish, assuring the Cougars of their second consecutive MWC Championship.
The men's and women's swimmers will participate in the USA Regional March 8-10, while the divers will head to Federal Way, Wash., to compete in the Zone E Diving Championships March 9-10.
Mountain West Conference Awards
Stan Crump 2001 Women's Coach of the Year
Justin Wilcock 2001 Men's Diver of the Year
Nick Tobler 2001 Men's Freshman of the Year
Final Team Scores
BYU 828.50 BYU 815
UNLV 817 Colorado St. 536
Air Force 585 UNLV 480.50
Wyoming 530.50 Wyoming 425
Utah 310 Utah 420
San Diego St. 357.50
Air Force 341