Utah Shoots Down Air Force -- January 24, 2004
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., January 24. THE University of Utah women’s swimming and diving team clinched a share of the Mountain West Conference championship on Saturday. Utah earned a 163-117 victory against Air Force. The Utah men’s swimming and diving team also knocked off the Falcons, winning by a score of 162-132 and setting up a showdown next week with BYU for the conference title.
The Utah women used victories from Marta Stepanczuk and Kristen Kaiser, winning two events each, to knock off Air Force and earn at least a tie for the conference title. Stepanczuk won the 1650 free along with the 500 free and Kaiser added wins in the 200 free and 400 IM. With the win, the Utes earn a share of the conference championship for the first time in school history. If Utah can beat BYU on Jan. 30, they will be the outright conference champs.
"I’m extremely proud of this team," commented Head Coach Michael Litzinger. "We’ve had some injuries and have overcome obstacles all season long. The women have done a tremendous job."
For the men, Utah beat Air Force for the first time since 1998. Jonathan Larsen was a four-event winner, as he won in the 200 medley relay, 100 breast, 200 breast and 200 free relay. Cody Rempfer also won four, winning the 200 medley relay, 100 fly, 200 fly and 400 IM.
"It was a great meet, both teams swam hard today. This win is a big step for the men’s team," Litzinger said. "We are now back in the mix in the conference for the first time since the early 90’s."
The Utes also got a boost from a strong performance on the diving front. Sterling Richards won both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events, and Utah finished with divers in first, second and fourth in the 1-meter and first, third and fifth in the 3-meter.
"The diving was a big factor in the win. (Diving Coach) Rachel Degener has done a terrific job improving this team and it proved big today," added Litzinger.
With the win today, the Utah women improve to 6-0 in MWC competition and the men move up to to 3-0 in the conference. Next up for the Utes is a meet in Provo, against BYU on Jan. 30, at 6:00 p.m. The meet with the Cougars holds conference title implications for both teams.