2022 Mountain West Championships: Relay Depth Helps San Diego State Reclaim Title

SDSU
2022 Mountain West champions San Diego State; Photo Courtesy: San Diego State Athletics

2022 Mountain West Championships: Relay Depth Helps San Diego State Reclaim Title

San Diego State won four of the five relays at the 2022 Mountain West championships, unseating UNLV to win its third title in four years.

The Aztecs scored a championship record 1,541.5 points in College Station, Texas, overtaking its total of 1,463.5 form the 2020 championships. It’s San Diego State’s sixth title overall. They were in control from start to finish, largely on the back of their relay depth, which finished no worse than second.

The epic battle was waged in the 200 free relay, where SDSU and UNLV posted the fourth- and fifth-fastest times, respectively, in conference history. Thanks to a 22.07 second leg by Klara Thormalm, the Aztecs led by four tenths at the midpoint and hung on to win in 1:28.89. Katsiaryna Afanasyeva’s 21.87 on the third leg got UNLV into the finish in 1:28.96. The conference record is 1:28.31 by the 2017 Boise State squad.

Thormalm and Samantha Geyer were part of the winning 200 medley, 200 free and 400 free relays.

UNLV, which last season won its first title since 2005, slipped to third on the final day, thanks in part to the diving strength of Nevada. Wyoming, which finished fourth in the team standings, got the consolation prize of Katelyn Blattner winning Most Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet

2022 Mountain West Championships

Women - Team Rankings - Through Event 21                     
 
  1. San Diego State University     1541.5   2. University of Nevada Reno      1277.5
  3. University of Nevada Las Vegas   1249   4. University of Wyoming           888.5
  5. Colorado State University         760   6. Fresno State University         691.5
  7. U S  Air Force Academy (W)        678   8. San Jose State University       597.5
  9. University of New Mexico        378.5

Seniors led the way for San Diego State. Thormalm, the two-time reigning Mountain West Swimmer of the Meet, didn’t quite hit the heights as she has in the past. She was third in the 50 free, second in the 100 breast and second in the 200 breast. But her teammates picked up any slack that was left.

Classmate Elizabeth Menzmer won the 50 free in 22.38, the fastest time in the conference since 2013, and swam on two winning relays. Kristina Murphy, also a senior, claimed the 200 individual medley, was second in the 400 IM and third in the 200 breast. Cassandra Phillips, another senior, won the 100 butterfly, and classmate Mia Ryan was second in the 100 free.

The Aztecs also did enough on the boards to check the power of Nevada, which produced a conference-record five finalists in the 1-meter. Ximena Lechuga Gonzalez won the 3-meter event for the second time, posting a score of 375.45 that is the fifth-highest in conference history. She was also second on platform.

Nevada’s Bailey Heydra won 1-meter diving with a score of 340.10, also fifth-best in conference history. The pick of the divers from the Wolf Pack, though, was Isabel Vazquez, who finished third at all three heights.

Donna dePolo became the first Nevada swimmer to win the 100 breast championships in program history. She added a repeat in the 200 breast, again denying Thormalm. She also almost stripped Thormalm of her conference record, finishing .01 off in 2:08.31, the nearest brush to a meet record in the meet.

Nevada’s Caitlyn McHugh won the mile after finishing second in the 500 free and third in the 200 free. Benedict Nagy won the 400 IM for the second consecutive year.

UNLV was the only team to break San Diego State’s relay blockade, claiming the 400 medley relay. Afanasyeva led that foursome off. She would later win the 100 back. Kristina Schneider, also part of that relay, repeated as the 100 free champ after finishing second in both the 50 and 200 free.

Blanka Bokros won the 200 fly and finished second in the 100 fly ahead of teammate Sarah Koopmans, and Teneka Ash was second in both the 500 free and the mile.

Wyoming had the standout individual performer of the meet in Blattner. She won the 500 freestyle in 4:44.74 to claim her third straight title in the event. She also repeated as the 200 free champ and finished third in the 200 back. Teammate Maisyn Klimczak was third in the mile. Melissa Mirafuentes captured her second platform diving title and finished runner-up on 3-meter.

The other individual win came from Athena Clayson, the Fresno State junior completing a three-peat in the 200 backstroke. She was third in the 100 back. Teammate Yuliya Tykha was the runner-up on 1-meter.

Air Force (via Corbyn Cormack in second in the 200 IM), Colorado State (Kristina Friedrichs third in the 100 free) and San Jose State (Zsofia Musznay and Reka Kovacs second and third in the final event, the 200 fly) all left with medals.  

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Jim
6 months ago

Pretty hard comments on the thormalm girl. According to your guidelines, comments should be respectful. Not sure yours were. Plus it detracts from what a great win SDSU produced.