Blattner Becomes 1st Cowgirl to Win MW 500 Freestyle in Record-Breaking Fashion

Tracy Ringolsby

From the desk of Amy Dambro/Wyoming Athletic Department

MINNEAPOLIS – Junior Katelyn Blattner captured the first Mountain West title of her career in the 500 freestyle on Thursday night at the 2020 MW Championships. Blattner eclipsed her own personal best and the school record time for the second time this season. With a time of 4:45.39, Blattner broke the record of 4:46.99 that she set at the Mizzou Invite on Nov. 20.

Blattner opened up the day with a first place finish in the prelims of the 500 free in a time of 4:49.53 to advance to the final. She would follow that up that up with her record setting time of 4:45.39, which was almost two seconds faster than the previous mark. The victory was UW’s first conference title of the 2020 championships.

“We had a sensational night,” head coach Dave Denniston said. “Katelyn (Blattner) is the conference champion in the 500 freestyle. We also won two consolation finals with Olivia Staver in the 500 free and Emily (Giles) in the 200 IM. All four divers scored today on the 3-meter with Melissa (Mirafuntes) and Karla (Contreras) placing second and fourth. The Cowgirls are getting faster every time they swim. This team is doing something special in Minneapolis and we are looking forward to a couple more days of fast racing.”

Wyoming continues to sit in third place after the second day of competition at the MW Championships. The Cowgirls have 371 points while San Diego State leads the field with 634 points. Nevada sits in second place with sits in second with 442.5.

In the prelims of the 500, sophomore Lainee Jones placed fifth with a time of 4:51.81. In the A Final, she finished eighth with a mark of 4:52.32. Freshman Olivia Staver had a great showing with a prelim time of 5:45.86 and followed that up by winning the B Final finishing the way in a career-best time of 4:53.27. Junior Kristen Covello also qualified in the B Final with a season-best time of 4:57.54. She would score points with a 14 place finish in a time of 4:57.77.

The 200 IM saw freshman Emily Giles turn in a time of 2:02.65 and an 11 place finish in the prelims. She responded by winning the B Final in the event with a career-best mark of 2:00.58. In the 50 freestyle, sophomore Kira Crane posted a season best time of 23.45 in the morning and a mark of 23.61 in the C Final.

In the last event of the day, the team of Giles, sophomore Phoebe Browne, junior Hannah Mclean-Leonard and Jones recorded a season-best time of 3:41.407 the 400 medley relay which would earn them a sixth place finish in the event.

In the 3-meter preliminaries, freshman Melissa Mirafuentes bounced back and finished atop the leaderboard with a score of 342.05. Redshirt junior Karla Contreras placed sixth with a mark of 326.45. Sophomore McKenna Houlihan was 13 (283.15) followed by redshirt junior Abigail Zoromski (256.40). Houlihan would finish eighth in the consolation final with a score of 277.65.

In the finals, Mirafuentes posted another career and school best mark with a score of 378.00 to finish second. It broke her previous record that she set two weeks ago at Air Force of 365.65. Contreras was fourth with a season-best score of 349.80.

The Cowgirls are back in action tomorrow as the prelims will start at 10 a.m. MT and they will be competing in the 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 yard freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle relay. The diving squad will have the day off but will be back in action on Saturday to compete on the platform.

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