LAS VEGAS, December 18. SWIMMERS from the University of the Pacific, University of California Santa Barbara, Wyoming, UNLV and Cal. State Bakersfield all posted victories on opening night of the UNLV Rebel Winter Invitational at Buchanan Natatorium tonight.
UNLV sophomore Brandon Nelms was the home team's sole gold-medallist, winning the 50 yard free in a seasonal pr 20.56. The meet, featuring 10 teams, continues through Monday.
UOP, defending Big West champs, got the proceedings off to a fast start with wins in both the women's (1:34.07) and men's (1:22.36)) 200 free relays.
In the women's 500 free, Pacific's Jen Radecke (4:54.34) and teammate Laura McDonald (5:00.82) went one-two to aid the Tiger cause; while on the men's side it was Wyoming's Henry Holmberg who was first to the wall(4:30.53).
Next was the 200 IM, where Santa Barbara's Jen Schwalb went a pr 2:02.65 to win a tight race from UOP's Ja-Neil Bragg (pr 2:02.86). Tiger Krzysztof Zoldak, continuing the tradition of importing talented Polish swimmers to Stockton, won the men's medley in a seasonal pr 1:49.57. Teammate David Dunn (1:51.55) was next.
The 50 sprints saw Bakersfield's Loni Burton, sister of former Road Runner NCAA Division II champ/record-holder Lori, win her race in 23.16; the host's Brandon Nelms won on the men's side.
The Burton girls are daughters of former UCLA All-America Mike Burton, a U.S. Olympian at Mexico City (1968) and Munich ('72) who was the first man to win back-to-back golds in the 1500 free and also the first man to break 16:00.0 for the metric mile.
(Australia's Grant Hackett, current world record-holder and double Olympic champ [Sydney, Athens] hopes to become the first three-peater at Beijing in 2008. His current world record is 14:34.56 from the World Championships at Fukuoka three years ago.)
In the 400 medley relay, Wyoming — aided by Olympian Scott Usher's 53.43 breaststroke split — won in a waltz over UOP, 3:17.81 – 3:22.73. The women's 400 MR went to the Tigers (3:47.66).
On the boards, Tennessee's Lauren LeRoy won the 3-meter competition while Wyoming's John Lynch and Adam Miller went one-two on the 1-meter.