The women captured the MPSF Championship in their inaugural season as members of the MPSF conference. (Photo by Dan Avila/MPSF)
The BYU swim and dive team had a groundbreaking year with a number of changes to the program. As announced last year, the team switched from the Mountain West Conference to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The team was able to see great success in the conference, as both the men and women’s teams attained the conference title.
Another significant change was the retirement of head coach Tim Powers. After 37 years of coaching and 20 conference titles, Powers decided to retire and prepare to serve a mission with his wife. Assistant coach John Brooks, who specialized in long-distance, has taken over as the new head coach.
“It’s been an honor working with coach Powers and the staff for the past four years,” Brooks said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to continue the legacy of BYU’s great coaches. This university has so much to offer and I look forward to helping our student-athletes be successful in the pool and in the classroom.”
At MPSF Championships, the BYU swim and dive team claimed several individual titles and multiple high finishes which resulted in many All-Conference selections. The men and women’s team received a total of 13 athletes who received first team All-Conference awards, and 25 who received second team All-Conference awards.
Due to high academic standing, the teams were able to gain at total of 26 qualifiers for the Academic All-Conference selections. 11 were eligible from the men’s team, while 15 qualified from the women’s.
To qualify for honorable mention scholar All-American, one must have accomplished a B-cut time in Conference Championships as well as receive a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. BYU had 3 outstanding swimmers qualify.
From the men’s team, Andrew Rutherfurd (3.94) and Seth Russell (3.73) both made the cut. From the women’s team, Angela Bennion qualified with her GPA of 3.94.
In continuing post-season competition, Brandon Watson and Hailey Campbell represented BYU as the only NCAA competitors from the men and women’s teams.
Campbell competed in both the 100 and 200 backstroke where she placed 49th overall in the 100 back (54.10) and 38th overall in the 200 back (1:57.26).
Watson competed in the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard competitions and was able to gain second team All-American recognition for finishing 14th in the 1-meter (369.05) and 13th in the 3-meter (405.65).
After a great season in a new conference, the BYU swim and dive team will loose 15 seniors to graduation. This list includes Daniel Bates, Travis Day, Chad Fong, Ryan Krause and Brandon Watson from the men’s team.
From the women’s team, BYU looses Kelsey Dickson, Jodie Ellis, Karalee Fuller, Amanda Heninger, Kelsey Higginson, Marnie Knoop, Syrena Miskin, Erin Pabst, Candice Smith, and Amy Xu.
With talented new recruits on the horizon, the BYU swim and dive team will look to add needed strength and depth after such a great loss.