Men Cut Into Lead, Women Still On Top

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The No. 15 BYU men's swimming and diving team cut into the UNLV lead, trailing by only 8.5 points after day three of the Mountain West Conference Swimming and Diving Championships, Friday, while the BYU women's team increased its margin to nearly 200 points over Colorado State.

BYU made up ground on the Rebels in the 200 free and the 100 back, placing three in the top five in each event. Jeff Mason, Rob Morris and Alexander Denke finished second, third and fourth in the 200 free while Mike Mullen placed sixth to pick up points. Mason set a new meet record with a time of 1:37.06, nearly three seconds better than his fastest time. All-American Arunas Savickas, Gary Tan and Chris Johnson finished first, second and third in the 100 back with Savickas setting a new meet record with his time of 48.28. Josh Johnston was BYU's top finisher in the 400 IM, finishing in sixth-place while Jay Buys was the Cougars top finisher in the 100 fly, finishing ninth.

Freshman Nick Tobler tied for second in the 100 breast with a season-best time of 55.42 and William Betz finished seventh in the event, scoring 12 points. The 800 free relay, the final event of the day was neck and neck the entire race with BYU's team of Savickas, Morris, Denke and Mason finishing in second place with a BYU record-time of 6:31.69, one of the top times in the nation this year and only one-tenth of a second behind UNLV. The Cougars made up points in the diving competition with sophomore All-American Aaron Russell winning the 3-meter springboard, setting a new conference-record with 560.00 points. Teammate Justin Wilcock won the silver, scoring 541.05 while junior Viraj Patil finished fourth.

The BYU women's team increased its lead while only winning one event on the day. Senior All-American Jennifer Tasker won gold in the 100 breast, setting a new conference and school record with a time of 1:02.40 while teammate Amanda Grant, the defending champion in the event, finished second with a time of 1:03.89. Jamie Lambert and Nikki Tadlock finished fourth and fifth in the event. Freshman Tamber Covington finished second in the 400 IM with a time of 4:24.23 while Rachel Mason swam to a seventh-place finish. Heidi Lietz finished third in the 100 fly and Monica Ferrell finished seventh in the 200 free. Ashlee Rumfallow and Tina Adkinson finished fifth and sixth in the 100 breast. BYU's 800 free relay team of Codi Jensen, Grant, Adkinson and Ferrell finished third.

The MWC Swimming and Diving Championships continue through Saturday.

Team Scores (after Day 3)

Men Women

UNLV 565 BYU 555.50

BYU 556.50 Colorado St. 368

Air Force 378 UNLV 315.50

Wyoming 332.50 Utah 297

Utah 205 Wyoming 291

San Diego St. 241