2017 Mountain West Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship Preview

The 2017 Mountain West Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships will be held next week at the Texas A&M Natatorium in College Station, Texas. Competition will begin on Wednesday, February 15 at 12:30 p.m. CT with the 1-meter springboard preliminaries and run through Saturday, February 18. Each day will begin with preliminary heats in the morning, followed by finals sessions at 6:30 p.m. CT. Saturday’s finals session will begin at 6 p.m. CT with the annual Senior Recognition Ceremony.

  • Nevada won its first MW swimming & diving title last year, edging out Boise State, 664-651. The Wolf Pack have made the podium three times since joining the Mountain West in 2012-13. Boise State has placed first or second every year since 2012, including championships in 2012 and 2014. San Diego State has also won two championships since 2012, in 2013 and 2015, and has placed in the top three in each of the past seven meets.
  • One of the top individuals to watch at this year’s Championship meet is Air Force senior Genevieve Miller. Miller is on track to become the first Mountain West swimmer to win two events in each year of her career. Miller is the Mountain West record holder in the 500-yard freestyle (4:39.00) and the 1,650-yard freestyle (16:01.39). She holds both MW Championship records as well, along with the MW title in both events for 2014, 2015 and 2016. Miller recently sat down with the Mountain West Network’s Jesse Kurtz to talk about the 2017 championship meet and the potential of hitting a sub-16 minute time in the 1,650 Free.
  • Another highlight of the 2017 MW Championship meet will be the return of defending NCAA champion Sharae Zheng to the diving events. Zheng, a junior, won the 2016 NCAA titles in the 1-meter springboard and the 3-meter springboard last March in Atlanta, Georgia. Zheng currently holds the top overall and average scores in the Conference in both events headed into next week’s meet in College Station.
  • A set of stroke races to keep an eye on will be the 100- and 200-yard backstroke. A collection of 11 swimmers from across the league have set an NCAA ‘B’-qualifying standard in one or both of the races during the regular season. Fresno State’s Ugne Mazutaityte, the league’s reigning Freshman of the Year, set the Lithuanian national records in both events at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Windsor, Ontario, Canada in December. Her time of 1:55.77 (converted) in the 200 Back leads the league, while her time of 54.14 (converted) ranks third in the 100 Back. Wyoming sophomore Isobel Ryan holds the top time in the 100 Back at 53.82, followed by Boise State sophomore Ally Kleinsorgen with a 54.09. Kleinsorgen also posted the second-best time this season in the 200 Back at 1:57.00.
  • With the current slate of Conference membership, the number of individuals advancing to the NCAA Finals has gradually increased over the last five seasons. In the first 12 years of Mountain West competition, the league averaged four competitors at the national finals. Over the past five seasons, that number has jumped to an average of 17 competitors representing the MW at the highest level of NCAA competition. The league set a record in 2016 with 22 swimmers and divers at the NCAA Finals.
  • This will also be the final Mountain West Championship meet for two of the league’s long-time coaches – Air Force’s Casey Converse and Wyoming’s Tom Johnson. Both men have been a key part of the Mountain West’s swimming and diving success over the league’s 18-year history.Converse is retiring from the Academy on June 30, following 29 years as the Falcons’ head coach. Converse began his tenure in 1988 as the institution’s first civilian swim coach. Over his Air Force career, the 1976 United States Olympian has coached 32 individuals who have earned NCAA Division I and Division II All-America honors 178 times. Most recently, senior Genevieve Miller became the only female swimmer from any service academy to score at the NCAA Division I Championships. Johnson has announced that he will be leaving his alma mater on April 30, following a 19-year career as the head coach of the Wyoming men’s and women’s teams. A four-year letterwinner for the Cowboys from 1982-85, Johnson will be entering private business. He has led the Wyoming programs to their highest-ever Conference finishes and has been named Conference Coach of the Year four times over his career.

Fans travelling to College Station for the meet may purchase tickets online and pick up pre-ordered tickets at the Texas A&M Natatorium ticket office. For more information on the Bryan-College Station area, check out the Bryan-College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau website.

Live streaming of each prelim and final, along with results and team scores is available on the MW Women’s Swimming & Diving Championship Central page. Event highlights will be posted for on-demand viewing each night. All live broadcasts are free of charge.

In addition, fans can watch the action live on their mobile devices for free with the MW mobile app. Real-time results are also available on mobile devices through the Meet Mobile app for a nominal fee of $1.99 per month. The Mountain West and Active Network applications can be downloaded from the Apple App Store for iPhones and iPads, and from Google Play for Android phones and tablets.

Fans also can follow the championships through the league’s social media channels on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram for updates on each day’s events. Followers are encouraged to use the hashtag #MWSD17 when posting throughout the week.

Event Notes:

50-yard freestyle – Four student-athletes have posted NCAA ‘B’ cut times in the event this season with Boise State swimmers earning three of those times. BSU seniors Brittany Aoyama and Katelyn Martin led the MW during the regular season with times of 22.45 and 22.52, respectively. Aoyama’s time is currently tied for 10th-fastest in Mountain West history. Bronco sophomore Ally Kleinsorgen and Air Force freshman Lydia Knutson both posted a season high time of 22.90.

100-yard freestyle – Two swimmers earned NCAA ‘B’ cut times during the regular season, both from Boise State.  Senior Brittany Aoyama posted a 49.03, the seventh-fastest time in MW history, while teammate Katelyn Martin swam a 49.46.

200-yard freestyle – Boise State teammates Felicity Cann and Emma Chard claim the top two spots in the league this season with a 1:47.01 and 1:47.60, respectively. New Mexico sophomore Adriana Palomino (1:47.63) and Nevada senior Teresa Baerens (1:47.99) round out the group of four swimmers with NCAA-qualifying times. Chard is the defending MW champion in the event and Baerens earned the title in 2014 and 2015.

500-yard freestyle – Air Force senior Genevieve Miller holds the top NCAA ‘B’ cut time of 4:42.42 among MW swimmers this season. Boise State juniorEmma Chard also posted a ‘B’ time of 4:44.18 earlier this season, while teammate Felicity Cann has the third-fastest time with a 4:46.15, also a ‘B’ cut. San Diego State freshman McKenna Meyer (4:46.62) and New Mexico sophomore Adriana Palomino (4:46.74) also posted ‘B’ times. Miller is the three-time defending MW champion in this event.

1,650-yard freestyleGenevieve Miller’s time of 16:13.14 is the best of the Mountain West’s three ‘B’ cut times in the event during the 2016-17 season. Sophomores Adriana Palomino of New Mexico (16:22.46) and Haley Rowley of Colorado State (16:28.18) round out the NCAA ‘B’ qualifiers so far this year. Palomino’s time is the fourth-fastest and Rowley’s is eighth-fastest in MW history. Miller, an Air Force senior, is the three-time defending MW champion in this long-distance race.

100-yard backstroke – Nine swimmers from seven schools posted NCAA ‘B’ cut times, the most MW representatives of any event this season. Wyoming sophomore Isobel Ryan leads the group with a 53.82. She is followed closely by BSU sophomore Ally Kleinsorgen (54.09) and Fresno State sophomore Ugne Mazutaityte (54.14).  Juniors Colleen Humel of San José State (54.46) and Rowan Hauber of Colorado State (54.55) and Boise State sophomore Abbey Sorenson (54.69) make up the middle of the pack. UNLV junior Kyndal Phillips (54.83), Nevada junior Kate Hofmeyer (55.04) and Wyoming sophomore Samantha Burke (55.07) complete the group of nine ‘B’ qualifiers.

200-yard backstroke – Eight swimmers posted NCAA ‘B’ cut times, six of whom also qualified in the 100-yard backstroke.  Fresno State sophomoreUgne Mazutaityte posted the fastest time during the regular season with a 1:55.77. Boise State sophomore Ally Kleinsorgen and Colorado State junior Rowan Hauber round out the top-three with times of 1:57.00 and 1:57.53, respectively. The remaining five swimmers all finished within one second of each other, led by UNLV junior Kyndal Phillips with a 1:58.21. She is followed by CSU sophomore Toni Thomas (1:58.91), Wyoming senior Abby Sullivan (1:58.94) and Nevada junior Kate Hofmeyer (1:58.96). San José State junior Colleen Humel qualified with a time of 1:59.11. Mazutaityte is the defending MW champion in the event.

100-yard breaststroke – Wyoming junior Maria Harutjunjan, the defending MW champion, led the Conference in the regular season with a ‘B’-qualifying time of 1:01.96. UNLV teammates Sofia Carnevale (1:02.05) and Kristina Hendrick (1:02.35) both posted ‘B’ cut times. San Diego State freshmanMorganne McKennan (1:02.30) and Colorado State senior Jenna Beaury (1:02.41) round out the group with NCAA ‘B’-qualifying times.

200-yard breaststroke – Three swimmers who posted ‘B’ cut times in the 100-yard breaststroke also qualified in the 200-yard breast. Maria Harutjunjan of Wyoming (2:11.85), Jenna Beaury of Colorado State (2:14.71) and Sofia Carnevale of UNLV (2:15.90) qualified in both events. Harutjunjan’s time ranks eighth on the MW all-time career list. Fresno State freshman Manuela Mendolicchio and Boise State junior Emily Mathis also posted ‘B’ cut times of 2:15.24 and 2:15.36, respectively.

100-yard butterfly – Boise State senior Brittany Aoyama (52.04) and San Diego State sophomore Summer Harrison (53.85) posted two of the top three times during the regular season for the third year in a row. San José State sophomore Brenna Bushey edged out Harrison for the second-fastest time in the Conference with a 53.84. Boise State senior Katelyn Martin (54.31) and Air Force junior Elise Hart (54.46) round out the group of five swimmers to post NCAA ‘B’ cut times during 2016-17. Aoyama is the two-time defending MW champion in the event.

200-yard butterfly – San Diego State junior Frida Berggren has the only NCAA ‘B’ cut time in the Conference this season with a 1:58.76. Boise State senior Brittany Aoyama has the second-fastest time at 2:01.54, just 1.55 seconds off the ‘B’ qualifying standard. Berggren won the event in 2015 and will be joined in the field by defending champion Sita Kusserow of Nevada. Kusserow, a senior, posted a season-best time of 2:02.54 and won the event last year with a time of 1:58.68.

200-yard individual medley – San Diego State junior Frida Berggren has the only NCAA ‘B’-qualifying time in this event with a 2:00.21. The second fastest time is 2:01.75 posted by Nevada senior Teresa Baerens, 0.16 seconds off the NCAA ‘B’-qualifying standard. Baerens is the top-returning finisher in the race with a third-place time of 1:59.40 at the 2016 Championships meet.

400-yard individual medley – Four swimmers posted NCAA ‘B’-cut times, led San Diego State junior Frida Berggren with a time of 4:12.89. Berggren’s rookie teammate McKenna Meyer followed closely behind with a qualifying time of 4:13.28. Colorado State sophomore Haley Rowley (4:16.24) and UNLV freshman Ida Schutt (4:18.93) also qualified in the event with ‘B’-cut times.

Relays – Boise State boasts the top time in every relay for 2016-17 – 200-yard freestyle (1:29.58), 400-yard freestyle (3:17.90), 800-yard freestyle (7:10.43), 200-yard medley (1:39.67) and 400-yard medley (3:37.81). The Broncos’ 200-FR relay time meets the provisional standard for the 2017 NCAA Championships.

1-meter diving – Twenty-four Mountain West divers have posted NCAA Zone-qualifying scores of 265.00-plus during the regular season, led by Nevada junior Sharae Zheng. She posted a high score of 348.45 and an average of 334.19, over 40 points more than the second highest average. The Wolf Pack’s Zoe Lei (313.13) and Tamara Shmitova (309.08) placed second and fifth in high scores, respectively. San Diego State’s Alexandra Caplan (313.05), San José State’s Cari Reiswig (309.80) and Wyoming’s Karla Contreras (307.80) round out the divers with high scores above 300. Contreras, a freshman, holds the second highest average with a 293.56. Zheng is the defending MW champion in the event and the defending NCAA champion.

3-meter diving – Nevada junior Sharae Zheng holds the top mark in the MW this season with a 409.80, the only diver to score above 400. She has a 70-point lead in the average score with a 381.68. Wyoming freshman Karla Contreras has the second-highest average in the 3-meter with a 311.05 and the second-best high score of 339.35. Zheng is the MW and NCAA defending champion in the event. A total of 16 Mountain West divers have posted NCAA Zone-qualifying scores of 280.00 or higher.

Platform diving – Five MW divers have qualified for NCAA Zones thus far led by Wyoming freshman Karla Contreras who had a high score of 281.50 and an average of 260.08. Her high score is the fifth-highest in MW history.Serena Sedillo (237.60) and Shelbie Holden of Fresno State (232.20),Keely Bishop of Wyoming (225.60) and Alexandra Caplan of San Diego State (225.40) also qualified for NCAA Zones in March.

News courtesy of the Mountain West.

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Should be a great meet, each team has its strengths. Should be fun to watch.

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