COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, October 2. THE UNLV men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams were both picked to repeat as conference champions in the Mountain West Conference preseason poll, the conference announced on Thursday. The women were ranked first while the Rebel men were tied for first along with five-time champion BYU. Both UNLV teams won their first-ever MWC Championship last season.
“We have solid squads on both the men’s and women’s sides, but we won’t look ahead at a possible championship until the final day of the conference meet,” said 26th-year head coach Jim Reitz. “We have a young team, especially with the men graduating several All-Americans, and there are teams in our conference that have brought in a lot of newcomers. However, I have a good feeling that our team’s going to compete tough this year, and that should lead to success. If how a team trains is any indicator of success during the season, then we should have a very good year. Our preseason practices have been going great.”
The UNLV women, who received five first place votes and 59 total points, return one conference champion from last year, Kim Bonney in the 200 breast, as well as all four members of the first place 200 and 400 free relays. Utah was second in the poll with 54 votes and BYU close behind in third. TCU was fourth (43), Colorado State fifth (41), Wyoming sixth (29), New Mexico seventh (23), San Diego State eighth (16), with Air Force in ninth (8).
Both UNLV and BYU received three first place votes and 23 overall to finish in a tie for first in the men’s poll. Though the Rebels lost four All-Americans to graduation from last year, they return a strong group, led by senior Joe Bartoch, MWC champion in the 100 fly last year. They also return two more defending MWC champions in Brandon Nelms and Adam Martinson.
TCU was picked third in the men’s poll with 16 points, Wyoming was fourth (13), Utah fifth (8) and Air Force sixth (7).
The season starts for UNLV on Saturday, Oct. 22, as the Rebel women will take on San Diego State on the road at 2 p.m. Both teams will then host Arizona State on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 2 p.m. at Buchanan Natatorium.