Seven Teams Representing MW At 2016 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving National Championships
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Seven Mountain West programs are sending representatives to the 2016 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships, March 16-19, at the McAuley Aquatic Center on the campus of Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia. MW swimmers and divers will compete in 19 of the 21 events at the national finals.
2016 MW champion Nevada will send three divers, its 800-yard freestyle relay team and one other swimmer to Atlanta. Senior Yawen Li will compete in three events, starting with the 200-yard individual medley (best time of 1:59.31) on Thursday, March 17. She continues with the 400-yard individual medley (4:09.89) on Friday and the 200-yard breaststroke (2:10.58) on Saturday. Senior Krysta Palmer, the 2016 MW Diver of the Year, will lead the Wolf Pack trio, competing in the 1-meter springboard, 3-meter springboard and platform diving events. Palmer won the 1-meter and platform events at the NCAA Diving Zones in Flagstaff, Arizona last week to advance to the national finals. Rookies Sharae Zheng and Zoe Lei will compete in the 1-meter dive, while Zheng will also add the 3-meter dive to her agenda. Zheng won the 3-meter event at NCAA Zones last week. The Wolf Pack’s school-record setting 800-yard free relay team of Teresa Baerens, Sita Kusserow, Caitlyn Richardson and Rebecca Murray will also be in action.
Boise State will be sending three individuals and four relay teams to the meet, including 2016 MW Swimmer of the Year Sam Wicks. Wicks, a senior, will swim three events for the Broncos: the 200-yard individual medley (1:57.18), the 100-yard backstroke (52.03) and the 200-yard backstroke (1:54.24). Junior Brittany Aoyama starts the week with the 50-yard freestyle (22.76), followed by the 100-yard butterfly (52.74) and 100-yard freestyle (49.14). Sophomore Emma Chard will also swim three events for Boise State: the 500-yard freestyle (4:40.21), the 200-yard freestyle (1:45.11) and the 100-yard freestyle (49.74). All three Bronco freestyle relay teams qualified in the national top 14 after setting automatic qualification times at the MW Championships in February. The 200-free relay of Aoyama, Wicks, Katelyn Martin and Abbey Sorensen posted a time of 1:28.93, the 400-free relay of Aoyama, Wicks, Chard and Martin recorded a seed time of 3:15.38 and the 800-free relay of Aoyama, Chard, Felicity Cann and Blake Balogh swam a time of 7:04.60. The 200-medley team of Wicks, Aoyama, Martin and Laura Williams, qualified with a time of 1:37.63.
The Wyoming swimming duo of senior Emily Ridout and sophomore Maria Harutjunjan along with diver Kari Campbell will represent the Cowgirls in Atlanta. Ridout will swim three events, the 50-yard free (22.27), the 100-yard breaststroke (1:01.18) and the 100-yard freestyle (49.17). Harutjunjan will also swim multiple events: the 100-yard breaststroke (1:00.21) and the 200-yard breaststroke (2:12.18). Campbell advanced to the platform finals through the NCAA Zone E competition last week in Arizona.
Air Force junior Genevieve Miller returns to the national meet for a third consecutive season in the distance events. She will swim three races: the 500-yard freestyle (4:40.15), the 200-yard free (1:47.58) and the 1,650-yard free (16:01.39). UNLV junior Lina Rathsack also qualified to swim three events with a time of 1:59.21 in the 200-yard individual medley, a time of 1:00.42 in the 100-yard breaststroke and a 2:11.83 in the 200-yard breaststroke. Fresno State rookie Ugne Mazutaityte qualified for the 100-yard backstroke (54.04) and the 200-yard backstroke (1:54.47), while San Diego State’s Taylor Johnson will swim the 50-yard freestyle (22.16).