OKLAHOMA CITY, Feb. 17. BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY splashed to the Mountain West Conference Swimming and Diving Championships for the second consecutive year here tonight.
The Cougar women lead for the duration of the championships while the men reclaimed the victory after platform diving.
The lead changed three times on the men's side before BYU emerged victorious. BYU ended the evening with 828.5 points. UNLV trailed by 11.5 to claim second with 817. Air Force was third with 585, Wyoming fourth with 530.5 and Utah fifth with 310.
On the women's side, BYU never relinquished its lead and ended the championship with 815 points. Colorado State was second with 536. UNLV hung on to the third place spot with 480.5. Wyoming made a late evening surge to surpass Utah for fourth at 425. Utah trailed five points behind Wyoming to take fifth at 420. San Diego State (357.5) was sixth, Air Force seventh (341) and New Mexico was eighth at 239.
UNLV began the evening in the lead as Rebel Jacint Simon took the gold in the 1650-yard freestyle (15:41.93). Wyoming's Damian Storz was runner-up
(15:42.71) and BYU's Ryan Ayres was third (15:54.64).
A surprise BYU sweep in the 200-yard backstroke put the Cougars in front. BYU's Lithuanian Olympian Arunas Savickas, who holds the meet record with his 1:45.93 from 1999, claimed the gold while finishing in 1:46.49. Teammates Gary Tan and Christopher Johnson took second-third finishing in 1:47.36 and 1:47.86, respectively.
In the 100-yard freestyle, UNLV's Piotr Krzyskow, winner of the 50 free in a meet record 19.84, was the victor in 43.69. Air Force's Charlie Toth was second at 43.79 — the first time the conference has ever had any swimmers, let alone two in the same race, under 44.0. BYU's Jeffrey Mason was third (44.61).
Air Force dominated the 200-yard breaststroke taking the first and third-place spots. Falcon Matt Ihlenfeld took the gold at 1:58.67, BYU's Nicholas Tobler was next (2:00.75) and Falcon John Dayton third 2:02.60).
UNLV reclaimed the lead for a short time by taking the top two spots in the 200-yard butterfly. with Rebel Andrew Livingston — an Olympian from Puerto Rico — first in 1:46.05. Teammate Doug Wake was second at 1:47.93 and Wyoming's Jacob Weidert third (1:49.71).
Platform diving gave BYU the edge they needed to repeat as champions. BYU swept the first, second and third place spots to seal the win for the Cougars. Justin Wilcock was first, finishing with a score of 496.25. Viraj Patil was second at 462.15 and Aaron Russell was third at 451.20.
The men's 400-yard freestyle relay ended the evening. UNLV emerged victorious, touching the wall at 2:56.96. BYU was close behind for second-place at 2:58.78 and Air Force took third at 2:59.51.
On the women's side, UNLV frosh Alyson Noble kicked off the final day of competition with a win in the 1650 freestyle in 16:35.31. San Diego State's Megan Storey was second, finishing at 16:42.64 and Utah's Heidi Leitz was third at 17:10.28.
Noble's time was a conference record by nearly 15 seconds. The old mark of 16:49.91 belonged to the Aztecs' Storey who did her time earleir in the
Colorado State's Kristen Schneider took home the gold in the 200 backstroke (2:01.40) to go with her gold in the 100 back the previous day. She went a 55.2 to win that race but led off the Rams' 400 medley relay opening day with a blistering pr of 54.84.
Meghan Casillian of San Diego State and Ashlee Rumfallow of BYU tied for second in the 200 (2:02.30).
UNLV's Lorena Diaconescu picked up her third gold of the championship in the 100 freestyle, racing to a meet-record and pr 49.43. Utah's Heidi Hausknecht, 100 fly champ almost upset her Romanian Olympian foe but
finished second in a pr 49.66. Colorado State's Lyndsey Carlaw took third (50.68).
Hausknecht has been a stalwart performer for the Utes throughout her four-year career there and is hopeful of scoring at NCAAs.
BYU's Tamber Covington of BYU took gold in the 200 breaststroke at 2:14.69. Mabry Fiddler of Wyoming was second (2:18.46) while BYU's Amanda Grant took third (2:19.14).
UNLV and Wyoming dominated the 200 butterfly by taking the top five spots. UNLV's Dana Penn and Julie Unrau were first and second at 2:04.57 and 2:04.72. Cowgirl Darcrea Corey was third, finishing at 2:05.05. Wyoming's performance in the 200 butterfly gave the Cowgirls the edge they needed to surpass Utah for fourth place in the championship.
Sarah Law captured the platform diving title with a score of 348.05. BYU took the next three awards with Cougar Anna Tutunnikova finishing second at 314.45 and Tessa Clark in third with 308.40.
The Rebels of UNLV finished the women's side with gold in the 400 freestyle relay with a time of 3:25.19. Colorado State was a close second, clocking in at 3:25.36. Utah beat out BYU for the bronze, finishing at 3:25.61.
The Mountain West Conference recognized the following individuals for the designated honors below.
2001 Women's Swimmer of the Year: Lorena Diaconescu, UNLV (repeat winner)
2001 Men's Swimmer of the Year: Jacint Simon, UNLV (repeat winner)
2001 Women's Diver of the Year: Sarah Law, Air Force
2001 Men's Diver of the Year: Justin Wilcock, BYU
2001 Women's Freshman of the Year: Alyson Noble, UNLV
2001 Men's Freshman of the Year: Nicholas Tobler, BYU
2001 Women's Diving Coach of the Year: Stan Curnow, Air Force
2001 Men's Diving Coach of the Year: Jason Bauman, Wyoming
2001 Women's Coach of the Year: Stan Crump, BYU
2001 Men's Coach of the Year: Jim Reitz, UNLV (repeat winner)
Mt. West Championship
Team Rankings: Women
Place School Points
1 Byu BYU 815
2 Csu CSU 536
3 Unlv UNLV 480.5
4 Wyo WYO 425
5 Utah UTAH 420
6 San Diego State 357.5
7 Afa AFA 341
8 Unm UNM 239
Team Rankings: Men
Place School Points
1 Byu BYU 828.5
2 Unlv UNLV 817
3 Afa AFA 585
4 Wyo WYO 530.5
5 Utah UTAH 310