Cougars in First after Day One of MWC Championships
OKLAHOMA CITY -- After the first day of the Mountain West Conference Championships, the three-time defending BYU men's and women's swimming and diving teams are in first place once again.
The No. 18 BYU men hold a commanding lead after the first day of competition with 139 points. Second place Air Force is 52 points behind the Cougars with 87.
On the women's side, the Cougars hold a two-point advantage with 101 points over second place Colorado State (99).
The Cougar men's 800-yard freestyle relay team once again captured the conference title and set a new MWC and BYU school record in the event along the way turning in a top time of 6:30.99. It was the Cougars' third title in the event in four years (2000, 2002 and 2003).
The BYU men's diving continued their dominance in the MWC by going 1-2-3 in the one-meter springboard event for the Cougars' first sweep of the championships. The Cougars have now swept the one-meter event for the third time in four years (2000, 2002 and 2003). It is also the second time in three years that Aaron Russell has won the event (2001, 2003).
For the women, two new school records were set in the first day of competition at the MWC Championships.
Senior Cortnee Adams set a new school record in the 200-yard freestyle with her lead off time in the 800-yard freestyle relay. Adams time of 1:49.34 broke the record set by Cherrill Haws back in 1997.
The Cougar women also set a new school record in the 800-free relay with a time of 7:25.98, shattering the previous record of 7:27.55 set six years ago.
The MWC Championships run through Saturday, Feb. 22 today competition begins with preliminary swims starting at 10:00 am (CST) and the finals beginning at 6:00 pm (CST).
200-Yard Medley Relay
Women: 4th place 1:45.08
1)Kathryn Rappleye 2)Tamber Covington
3)Lyndi Juvan 4)Nichole Burrows
Men: 2nd place 1:29.79
1) Christopher Johnson 2) Adam Ware
3) Diogo Yabe 3) Brent Parker
Women: Kelli Einfeldt 2nd 266.55
Aubrey Low 5th 237.15
Men: Aaron Russell 1st 303.85
Justin Beardall 2nd 287.05
Scott Randall 3rd 269.95
Landon Trost 7th 238.30
800-Yard Freestyle Relay
Women: 2nd place 7:25.98*
1) Cortnee Adams*(1:49.34) 2) Shannon Bloom
3) Amanda Grant 4) Monica Ferrell
Men: 1st place 6:30.99*#
1) Jeffrey Mason 2) Diogo Yabe
3) Randy Belliston 4) William Betz
* indicates school record
# indicates MWC record
PROVO -- The BYU women's and No. 18 men's swimming and diving teams are in Oklahoma City, Okla., to defend their three consecutive Mountain West Conference titles this week at the MWC Championships, Feb. 19-22.
Entering the tournament the Cougar men (8-0, 4-0) are the MWC regular season champions, going undefeated for the second time in two years. The men are the favorite to win the title after defeating all conference opponents this season by at least 84 points.
The women (5-6, 3-4) struggled early in the season with injuries and illness, but with the team healthy the Cougars have recorded three consecutive victories to end the season, and are ready to defend their conference titles.
2001-2002 MWC Conference Championships
The BYU men's and women's teams claimed their third straight MWC Championship titles last year. The women topped the conference with a score of 601, and the men put up a conference record 931.5 points, more than 180 points better than second place UNLV.
The Cougars brought home a combined nine individual conference championships including a sweep by Justin Wilcock in all three diving events. The Cougars have dominated the diving by claiming eight of the nine conference titles over the last three seasons.
Swimmers and Divers to Watch
Seniors Jeff Mason, Christopher Johnson, and Aaron Russell are expected to have strong performances at the MWC Championships. Mason and Johnson have both turned in top 50 times in the country this year. Mason turned in the 42nd fastest time in the country for his performance in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 20.55 at the Speedo Cup Invitational. Johnson finishes the regular season holding the 38th and 45th fastest times in the 100 and 200-yard backstroke events with times of 49.99 and 1:48.85 respectively.
Mason finished the season undefeated against conference competitors in the 200 freestyle event, and is expected to contend for the conference title. Johnson also is undefeated in both the 100 and 200 back when facing conference competitors.
All-American Russell is expected to win all three diving events for the Cougars this season. Russell is undefeated in the 3-M event this season.
Senior Cortnee Adams has brought life back to the Cougars since her return in January. Adams has gone undefeated in the 50, 100, and 200 free events each time she has competed in them. Her times are also among the top five in the conference for each event.
Throughout the season team captain Amanda Grant has provided solid performances with wins in the 200 breast and the 200 IM. Teammate Tamber Covington, last season's 200 breaststroke champion, returned to the water in early December following knee surgery, and has returned to top form recording wins in the 100 and 200 breaststroke events as well as wins in the 200 and 400 IM events.
Junior Monica Ferrell's strength in the mid-distance and fly should bring added experience and depth to the Cougars. Ferrell has recorded wins in the 1000 and 500 freestyle as well as the 200 fly.