OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla., February 21. AFTER three days of competition, the three-time defending Mountain West Conference Champion BYU men's and women's swimming and diving teams are in first place heading into the last day of competition.
The No. 18 men's team is cruising to its fourth consecutive championship with a three day total 620 points. The Cougars have a commanding 217 point lead over the rest of the conference schools.
After starting the MWC Championships in first place the women fell into third position after day two, but a motivated and refocused Cougar women's team came storming back to finish day three back in the number one spot.
The women's comeback was fueled by the efforts of the entire team, beginning with senior Cortnee Adams' first place finish in the 200-yard freestyle, an event Adams set the school record in on Wednesday, this time she turned in a time of 1:48.54, only 0.3 seconds off her record time. It was Adams' second conference title of the championships; her first was in the 50 free on Thursday.
In the 100-yard breaststroke event, junior Tamber Covington won the MWC title with a time of 1:02.82, as the Cougars claimed four of the eight top finishes in the same event. The next event — the 100 back — had a similar outcome with BYU again claiming four of the top eight places as junior Nichole Burrows led the way for the Cougars turning a time of 56.53, good enough for third place.
For the men, junior Randy Belliston won his second MWC title and also set his second MWC record this time in the 400 IM by turning in a time of 3:53.30. Belliston's other title and record came Thursday in the 200 IM. BYU has now set three different MWC records this year at the championships, the Cougars' other record came in the 800 free relay.
The Cougars claimed their third and fourth sweeps of the championships on Thursday by going 1-2-3 in both the 200-yard freestyle and the three-meter diving events. It is the second time in as many years that the Cougar divers have swept the diving event, BYU has also captured 11 of the 12 top three finishes in the last four years.
Senior Aaron Russell won the three-meter for the second time in three years with a score of 578.60. Senior Justin Beardall took second and freshman Scott Randall took third.
In the 200-yard freestyle, senior Jeff Mason captured the MWC title for the Cougars with a time of 1:38.08. With the win Mason finishes the season undefeated in conference competition in the event. Senior Billy Betz, and Freshman Travis Price won the second and third place finishes respectively.
The MWC Championships wrap up Saturday, as the BYU men's and women's teams look to bring home their fourth consecutive conference championship.