Two Cowboys Earn Conference Championships As Pokes Lead MPSF Meet After Second Day
Feb. 16, 2012
LOS ANGELES -
The Wyoming Cowboy swimming and diving team continued its excellent racing at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships on Thursday and moved into sole possession of first place with 243 team points. The Pokes lead second-place BYU (213) and third-place UNLV (208) after two days of racing. Cowboys Brandon Fischer and Ethan Griffel won individual MPSF Conference Championships in the 200-yard individual medley and 500 freestyle, respectively. Griffel set the MPSF Championship record time in the 500 free with a time of 4:24.47, it was also a NCAA "B" cut time.
Today's racing began with the 500 freestyle preliminaries. Cowboy sophomores Griffel and Jayce Calhoon both placed in the top eight of the preliminaries giving them a spot in the evening's championship final. Griffel placed third in the preliminaries with a time of 4:25.43 and Calhoon placed seventh (4:29.53). Griffel returned for the evenings finals taking first and winning his first conference individual championship as a Cowboy. His victory gave UW 20 team points. Calhoon finished the final in seventh place with a time of 4:30.00, scoring 12 valuable points for UW. Junior Trevor LeValley swam his way in to the consolation final and placed 11th overall and third in his heat with a time of 4:31.46.
"Ethan had an amazing swim tonight," Wyoming head coach Tom Johnson said. "He was behind most of the away and found another gear with a few lengths left. It was the best swim of his career. Jayce also did a nice job to place seventh in the final."
Fischer began his conference championship run with a fifth-place (1:49.14) finish in the 200 individual medley preliminaries. Freshman Adam Kalms finished the preliminary in third place (1:48.82) and senior Marshall Dilworth finished in sixth with a time of 1:49.53. Kalms third-place time was fast enough for an NCAA "B" cut time. In the evening's finals, Fischer touched wall first and won his championship with a time of 1:47.81, which is the second-fastest time in UW school history and an NCAA "B" cut time. Like Griffel's championship, Fischer's earned the Cowboys 20 team points. Kalms finished the final in sixth with a time of 1:50.00 and Dilworth touched in seventh (1:50.40). Kalms and Dilworth combined to give the Cowboys 25 team points.
"Marshall and Adam went out blazing fast in the 200 IM, but Brandon really kicked it in during the breaststroke and led the rest of the way," Johnson said.
Cowboy sophomore Nick Rutecki placed seventh (20.56) in the 50 freestyle preliminaries putting him in the championship final. Fellow sophomore Jeff Frey finished the preliminaries in 10th with a time of 20.64, giving him a spot in the consolation final. Rutecki went on to placed eighth in the championship with a time of 20.88, giving the Cowboys 11 team points. Frey placed third in the consolation final with a time of 20.60, earning six points for UW.
In the 400 medley relay, the final event of the evening, Cowboys Dilworth, Fischer, Rutecki and Frey were touched out at the wall and took second place by less than one-half second. They touched the wall with a time of 3:14.58, which was three one-hundredths of a second behind UNLV (3:14.29). The Pokes time however, did give them a new school record and an NCAA "B" cut time. Dilworth started the relay off with a school record 100 backstroke time of 47.98.
"Our 400 medley relay was just awesome tonight," Johnson said. "Marshall jumped in and set a school record in the first leg and was ahead when Brandon extended the lead during the breaststroke. Nick did the best he could to hold off one of the best butterfly swimmers in the country and Jeff had a great swim and was just touched out at the wall."
While the Cowboy swimmers were in the pool in Los Angeles the Cowboy divers took to the 1-meter springboard at Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Cowboy sophomore Derek Campbell placed eighth (270.80) in the 1-meter preliminaries giving him a spot in the championship final. Senior Valentin Schwarz placed just out of the championship final in ninth (265.50) and freshmen Dalton Haas placed 13th (253.00) and CT Robinson placed 14th (229.30). Their three finishes earned them spots in the consolation final. In the championship final, Campbell placed seventh with a score of 297.70. Haas came back in the consolation final and took first with a score of 304.60. Schwarz earned third (283.40) and Robinson took seventh (237.40) in the consolation final.
"Overall, I am proud of how my guys dove today," UW diving coach Pat Bukowski said. "Derek did a great job to get in the championship final to place seventh and give us some solid team points. Dalton just missed a couple dives in the prelims and came back and dove great to win the (consolation) final."
The MPSF Championship swimming meet will continue Friday with the 400 individual medley preliminaries at 11:30 a.m. MT in Los Angeles. The MPSF diving meet will begin with the 3-meter diving preliminaries in Colorado Springs at 2:30 p.m. MT.
"We are in a great place after the second day," Johnson said. "There has been a lot of fast swimming here and if we can keep up our fast swimming it will take care of everything. We need to have another big session tomorrow morning and see if we can't get a lot of guys back in the finals tomorrow night."