Mountain West Championships: Day Four

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma, February 27. THE UNLV men won their sixth consecutive Mountain West Conference Men's Swimming and Diving Championship with 787 team points, while the BYU women won their ninth overall women's team title in 11 years with 703 points Saturday night at the Oklahoma City Community College Aquatics Center in Oklahoma City, Okla.

For the men, Air Force finished second with 600.50 points, followed by BYU (580.50), Wyoming (543), TCU (492) and Utah (401).

On the women's side, Wyoming followed the Cougars with 674 points. San Diego State was next at 589, followed by UNLV (386), Utah (377), Colorado State (366), TCU (233), New Mexico (214) and Air Force (150).

Awards were announced at the conclusion of the meet. UNLV junior Kier Maitland and BYU sophomore Brandon Watson were named MWC Men's Swimmer and Diver of the Year, respectively. Air Force's Rob Clayton was voted as men's swimming coach of the year, while BYU's Keith Russell was named diving coach of the year for both the men and women. BYU junior Rachel Grant and San Diego State freshman Meghan Zimmer shared Swimmer of the Year honors, while BYU's Tawni Jones was voted Women's Diver of the Year. San Diego State head coach Mike Shrader was named Women's Swimming Coach of the Year. Air Force's Kyle Van Valkenburg was honored with the 2010 MWC Men's Senior Recognition Award, while BYU's Natasha Menezes and UNLV's Marva Harpak shared women's plaudits. The All-MWC team will be announced on Monday, March 1.

NOTES:

* The UNLV junior tandem of Kier Maitland (14:58.35) and John Mendoza (15:14.53) finished first and second, respectively, in the men's 1,650-yard freestyle in the second consecutive MWC men's 1650-yard freestyle. Maitland and Mendoza paced the field that included six NCAA-B cut finishes, as they were joined by Wyoming's Robbie Hilton (15:30.79), Air Force's Corydon Butler (15:31.09), BYU's John Kendrick (15:31.17) and AFA's Sean O'Keefe (15:34.58).
* San Diego State senior Petra Radovic brought home the Aztecs' first-ever MWC Championship in the 1650-yard freestyle with an NCAA-B cut time of 16:34.78. Colorado State's Jennifer Lamb (16:42.21) and SDSU's Mela Garibaldi (16:43.01) joined Radovic on the medal stand.
* Junior Nick Blank took home UNLV's sixth men's 200-yard backstroke title, as he paced the field with a 1:44.86 clocking to set a new MWC all-time record. Blank set the previous record (1:45.02) at the 2009 Championship. Air Force's Benjamin Gunn (1:46.28) and Utah's Major Robinson (1:47.04) rounded out the medal winners.
* Four NCAA-B qualifying times were clocked in the women's 200-yard backstroke, led by Colorado State's Breann Fuller. The sophomore won the event, touching the wall in 1:56.27. San Diego State's Leona Jennings (1:57.20), BYU's Candice Smith (1:57.85) and SDSU's Meghan Zimmer (1:58.59) also made NCAA-B cuts.
* The UNLV duo of UNLV's Calan Eldridge and Kyle Virva took first and second place, respectively, in the men's 100-yard freestyle. Eldridge, who placed second in the event at the 2009 Championship, turned in an NCAA-B cut of 44.15 to capture the victory. Virva also clocked an NCAA-B qualifying time, touching the wall in 44.36.
* Utah's Natalie Edge earned her second 100-yard freestyle title in three years, as she finished the race in 49.82 to earn an NCAA-B qualification. Wyoming's Shelby Bull (50.02) and BYU's Kirsty Ferrell (50.19) also clocked NCAA-B cuts for second and third place, respectively.
* UNLV's Andrew Morrell earned the Rebels' fourth-straight gold medal in the 200-yard breaststroke. Morrell, last year's runner-up, finished the event with an NCAA-B cut of 1:57.51. Wyoming's Brandon Fisher also made an NCAA-B qualifying time (1:57.51) to finish second, while BYU's Vytenis Slenys (2:00.24) earned a bronze medal.
* San Diego State's Katelyn Weddle, who broke the MWC's all-time record in the 100-yard breaststroke yesterday, set a new best in league history in the 200-yard breaststroke. The freshman swam an NCAA-B qualifying time of 2:11.26 to surpass the previous league record of 2:13.95, set by UNLV's Kim Bonney at the 2007 MWC Championship. Wyoming junior Lesley Young also qualified provisionally for the NCAA championship with a second-place time of 2:13.19, while Utah's Maiya Otsuka finshed the event in an NCAA-B cut of 2:16.18 for third.
* UNLV senior Daniel Egly and junior David Seiler nabbed first and second place, respectively, in the men's 200-yard butterfly. Each Rebel turned in an NCAA-B cut, as Egly finished the race in 1:46.73 and Seiler clocked a time of 1:47.73.
* BYU's Rachel Grant earned her first MWC gold medal in the 200-yard butterfly. The junior, who has now earned a gold, silver and bronze medal in the event, turned in an NCAA-B qualifying time of 1:57.92. Utah's Hannah Caron also clocked an NCAA-B cut (2:00.06) to finish second.
* New Mexico sophomore Aubrey Bush captured the Lobos' first platform diving title since 2005 with her final mark of 234.80. Utah's Kwan Ling Yu, the 2009 champion, and BYU's Tawni Jones joined Bush on the medal stand with scores of 233.55 and 227.70, respectively.
* The UNLV men earned their fifth 400-yard freestyle relay victory in six years. The Rebels' final time of 2:57.45 gave the school a provisional qualification in the event. TCU, who placed second at 2:59.49, and Air Force, who took third at 2:59.86, also swam NCAA-B cuts.
* Wyoming earned its first-ever women's 400-yard freestyle relay win, swimming an NCAA-B cut time of 3:20.09. The Cowgirls were followed by BYU (3:20.17), San Diego State (3:22.32), UNLV (3:23.65) and Utah (3:24.07), who also turned in NCAA-B qualifying times.

MEN'S INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
Swimming Coach of the Year: Rob Clayton, AFA
Diving Coach of the Year: Keith Russell, BYU
Swimmer of the Year: Kier Maitland, UNLV
Diver of the Year: Brandon Watson, BYU
Senior Recognition Award: Kyle Van Valkenburg, AFA

WOMEN'S INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
Swimming Coach of the Year: Mike Shrader, San Diego State
Diving Coach of the Year: Keith Russell, BYU
Swimmers of the Year: Rachel Grant, BYU; Meghan Zimmer, SDSU
Diver of the Year: Tawni Jones, BYU
Senior Recognition Award: Natasha Menezes, BYU; Marva Harpak, UNLV

The above article is a press release submitted to Swimming World Magazine. It has been posted in its entirety without editing. Swimming World offers all outlets the chance to reach our audience by contacting us at Newsmaster@swimmingworldmagazine.com. However, Swimming World reserves the right to choose what material is posted.

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