LAS CRUCES, New Mexico, October 11. THE San Jose State University women's swimming and diving team defeated Nevada, New Mexico State and Northern Arizona on day two to complete the inaugural Western Athletic Conference Shootout a perfect 5-0 at the New Mexico State University Pool. Northern Arizona picked up wins against Northern Colorado (149-88) and Air Force (130-107). Boise State also had a pair of wins over Northern Colorado (177-65). Nevada and New Mexico State each had lone wins. NMSU topped Air Force 175-67 while Nevada beat Northern Colrado 184-58.
With the trio of dual victories, San Jose State improves to 5-1 on the season. The Spartans had comfortably gotten by non-conference foes Air Force and Northern Colorado on the meet's first day on Friday. All three of Saturday's opponents were from the WAC, with Nevada the two-time defending conference champion, Northern Arizona the 2008 runner-up and New Mexico State the event host. Scores were 127-115 against the Wolf Pack (4-1), 130-112 against NAU (3-2) and 128-114 against the Aggies (3-2), with Nevada suffering its first loss of the campaign.
The victory over Nevada was San Jose State's first against the Wolf Pack since Sage Hopkins took charge of the program for the 2005-06 season, after two previous losses and a tie. It was just the second dual win for the Spartans over Nevada in 27 tries since the 1977-78 season, with the only other triumph coming in Reno, Nev., on November 8, 1985, by the score of 72-64.
The top performance of the day for the Spartans was turned in by Heather Denman, a true freshman from Brookeville, Md. In just her second collegiate 100 backstroke, Denman broke Ashley Vrieze's school record of 55.78, timing 55.72 to open the ‘A' 400 medley relay and lead the Spartans to the win over NAU and New Mexico State.
In its first 400 medley relay of the year, San Jose State's ‘A' foursome of Denman, Kirsten Trammell, Rudie Guerrero and Lauren Mar timed 3:54.76 to lead off the day's activity. The Spartans placed second overall among the 14 entrants, behind only Nevada's ‘A' in 3:53.11.
Denman later swam 2:04.52 for the top time out of 26 participants in the 200 backstroke, leading a 1-2-3 Spartan sweep over everybody, with fourth-year senior Katey Nelson and fellow freshman Tomi Petty following in second and third with times of 2:07.67 and 2:07.95, respectively. Denman and Nelson's times were their season bests, with Denman thus moving up to fourth all-time at San Jose State in the event, bettering Nelson's career best (2:04.79).
In between, Denman also defeated NAU and NMSU in the 200 fly, her first collegiate butterfly race. Her time of 2:07.10 puts her eighth all-time at San Jose State. Her time was second-fastest behind only Courtney Eads of Nevada (2:06.50).
Another true freshman, Amy Friedhoff out of Federal Way, Wash., beat all three opponents and turned in the best time of any of the 14 total competitors in the 1000 freestyle, timing 10:32.34. Liz Thomson of New Mexico State was closest in second, over five seconds behind Friedhoff at 10:37.63. Friedhoff's time was over six seconds better than what she swam just the day before in defeating both Air Force and Northern Colorado, but still a little behind her 10:29.97 from the season opener at Stanford on Friday, October 3, which marked her first collegiate race.
Friedhoff later also won the 500 free over NAU and NMSU, in 5:03.18, bettering her mark in that event by over a second and a half for the second day in a row. Mills was right behind her at 5:13.56, with Nevada's Courtney Eads providing the only time that was faster, at 5:03.00.
Julia Koch won the 200 free over Northern Arizona in a season-best 1:57.06, while Mar took the 50 free over Nevada in 24.49, and Trammell the year's first 400 individual medley over NAU in 4:41.57. Sophomore diver Jo Thibodaux won on the three-meter board over NMSU, scoring 220.50, with Meghan McCurley taking the 100 free over Nevada in a season-best 54.00.
The San Jose State ‘A' 400 freestyle relay beat Nevada in its season debut, with Erin Garcia, Daphne Yeung, McCurley and Mar swimming 3:35.34. Guerrero's lead 100 split of 55.83 on the ‘B' foursome was her career best.
Katey Nelson turned in a season-best time in the 200 free for the second straight day, swimming 1:59.10. Sophomores McCurley and Ashley Ladd sprinted a season-best 24.60 and 25.91, respectively, in the 50 free. Yeung and Julie Wynn went a season-best 54.10 and 55.71, respectively, in the 100 free. Guerrero went 2:15.53 in her first 200 back of the year. Ashley Krisman swam a season-best 5:24.57 in the 500 free. Trammell and Caitlin Macky went 2:26.40 and 2:27.68 in their first 200 breaststroke races of 2008-09.
In all, the Spartans won seven of 13 events against Northern Arizona, six of 13 against New Mexico State and five of 13 against Nevada. They posted a 1-2-3 sweep over all three in the 200 back, and over NAU in the 200 fly with Hannah Tringham (2:10.11) and Beste Erener (2:12.77) behind Denman. It was a season best for Tringham by over two seconds and Erener's first fly race of the year.
"We had a team meeting this morning, and talked about how we needed to be perfect to (go 3-0 today)," remarked Hopkins. "We definitely were. We had great performances from top to bottom.
"Nevada was a great win. We have a very friendly rivalry with them and a lot of respect for their program. We had some great races back and forth today, and were thrilled to be able to swim so well.
"(Sweeping the weekend) is a great feeling. We have worked very hard since the first day of practice. Our student-athletes came into training in great shape. It was our goal to come in here and make a statement. It was a goal we worked for and achieved.
"Individually, highlights were freshmen Amy Friedhoff winning the 1000 and Heather Denman."
The Spartans are in road action again next weekend, making the shorter trip to Santa Cruz, Calif., for a three-way meet with UC Santa Cruz and Fresno State on Saturday, October 18.
Special thanks to San Jose State for contributing this report.