Pacific Tigers Sweep Men’s and Women’s Titles at UNLV Winter Invitational

LAS VEGAS, NV, December 26, 2004. THE Pacific men's and women's swim teams completed a sweep of the UNLV Invitational last week in the Buchanan Natatorium in Las Vegas, Nevada, per reports from UNLV, Wyoming and the champions.

Led by freshman Krzysztof Zoldak (Oswiecim, Poland) the Pacific men's team rallied from 75 points down in the final five events to edge No. 26 Wyoming by less than a point. Meanwhile, the Tigers women's team breezed to victory by just under 300 points.

For the meet, Zoldak set new school records in the 200 IM and 400 IM and came away with three NCAA consideration times. He also swam the final leg of the 200 Medley Relay to lead Pacific to a second place finish in that event. His exploits earned him Big West Male Swimmer of the Week honors for the first time in his career. He took first in the 200-yard IM (1:49.57) and the 400 IM (3:52.30) to make his mark in the Tiger record book. He also anchored Pacific to first in the 200 freestyle relay (1:22.36). Freshman Ja-Neil Bragg had two NCAA consideration times for the Pacific women's, including a career best 2:02.86 200 IM.

Pacific won the men's side with 722 to the Wyoming Cowboys' 721.5. UNLV was third at 642.5, UC Santa Barbara fourth at 619.5, Tennessee fifth at 479, and Cal State Northridge sixth with 222.5 points.

In the women's competition, Pacific scored 951.5 points, with the Rebels finishing at 666. Third was Wyoming with 544, while UCSB took fourth at 507.5, San Jose State was fifth at 499, San Diego State sixth with 254, Can State Northridge seventh at 237, and Tennessee was eighth with 59 points.

Top performances for the Rebels on the final day of competition included Alison Zick in the 1650 free (17:40.99), Julie Babin in the 200 back in 2:08.19 and Brandon Nelms in the men’s 100 free at :45.66.
"It was the perfect meet to experience for our preparation for the Mountain West Championships," said UNLV head coach Jim Reitz. "We had some breakthrough efforts, and it's a very good indication of where we are now. The team's been working very hard, and their toughness was apparent this weekend."

On the final day’s competition, the Wyoming men swam to three first place finishes. Senior US Olympian Scott Usher won his specialty the 200 breaststroke in a “A” cut of 1:57.28, finishing over six seconds faster than the second place swimmer. A pair of freshmen, Henry Holmberg and Carl Marais, also won races. Holmberg took the 1650 freestyle in 15:54.57. Marais swam to the second fastest 100 freestyle in UW history, winning at 44.87; he then split :44.63 on the Cowboys free really. The men’s meet came down to the last event, with Pacific beating the Cowboys in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay to create their razor thin margin of meet victory.

“The men let the lead slip away as we lost by a half of a point on the very last relay and that is very disappointing,” said UW head coach Tom Johnson. “The guys 100 free was awesome as Carl and Gene went one-two and Scott had a great swim in the 200 breast and did a great job of picking up his “A” cut and will be going back to the NCAA’s for the third consecutive year.”

The Pacific men's team will next be in action with a dual meet against New Hampshire on Friday, Jan. 7, 2005, at Honolulu.

The Rebels will return to action on Thursday, Jan. 6, as they take on North Carolina and the California men at 1 pm in Buchanan Natatorium.

The Wyoming swimming and diving team will return to action as they dual with Arizona State on Fri., Jan. 7, as part of their Christmas Training Trip. The teams will train in Tempe, Ariz. from Dec. 28 to Jan. 9.