Cowgirls Swimming and Diving Teams Head to Houston for WAC Championships

Tracy Ringolsby

From the desk of Amy Dambro/Wyoming Athletics

The Cowboy Swimming and Diving teams will travel to Houston this week for the 2020 Western Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championship. The four-day competition is scheduled to begin on Wednesday at the CRWC Natatorium, on the campus of the University of Houston. Preliminaries will start at 9:30 a.m. MT each day, followed by finals in the evening sessions, beginning at 5 p.m.

“I think a seed was planted with this men’s team at the end of the championships last year. To go from being champions in 2018 then bumped down to third place did not sit well with this group,” head coach Dave Denniston said. “The freshmen group that came in early and started training with us really developed a culture that we want to win this meet. 

"Our seniors have been phenomenal leaders from top to bottom and the entire team is really hungry and driven. They are ready to race and want to win this. It is fun to be around, a lot of energy, competing against each other in every way possible. The upperclassmen know the routine and we like where we are seeded. It’s going to be a close one and it could come down to 10-15 points for the championship. If we have the meet we are capable of we will bring home some more hardware.”

Last season, Wyoming placed third with 604 points, while the previous year they captured the WAC title in 2018. Grand Canyon won the title a year ago with a total of 688.50 points followed by Cal Baptist in their first year in the league with 618.5. On the year, the squad went 2-1 in league action with wins over Air Force, 159-141, and Cal Baptist, 154-142, while dropping a tough one to UNLV, 147-128.

Wyoming currently has 12 swimmers that rank in the conference’s top 10 lists in at least one event. Eight of those competitors have posted a top 10 time in two or more events. Among those is senior Seth Borgert who is the defending WAC 1650 freestyle champion. He currently ranks eighth in the event with a time of 15:40.56 along with the same spot in the 500 free in a mark of 4:29.91. Borgert also has the fourth best time in the 400 IM in which he already holds the seventh best mark in school history. 

Fellow senior PJ Musser has also been strong in his final season for the Cowboys. He is seeded second overall in the 100 freestyle with a time of 43.69. In the 50 free, Musser is third with a mark of 20.09, which is third all-time in school history. He is also eighth in the 100 butterfly. Senior Tyler Klatt is seeded in the top ten in three events. He is fourth in the 200 backstroke with the sixth best time in school history at 1:46.75. He is also seventh in the 100 back with a time of 48.39, while sitting ninth in the 50 back (22.80).

Junior Brayden Love is the only Cowboys to be ranked first on the team in two events. He has the top times in both the 100 and 200 butterfly in school history at 47.20 and 1:44.41, respectively. Love is also fourth in the 200 IM with a time of 1:48.57. Fellow junior Mitchell Hovis is second in the league in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke behind Air Force’s Zachary Taylor. His times of 54.39 and 1:58.81 are both ninth in school history. Hovis is also among the top 10 in the 200 IM with a mark of 1:49.21.

Sophomore Ryan Netzel is first in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 15:18.11 which is second all-time in school history. He is seeded second in the 500 free with a time of 4:23.99 and fourth all-time in program history. Netzel is also 11 in the 1000 free (9:37.05) and 14 in the 200 free (1:39.17). Fellow sophomore Grant Sloan is also ranked among the top ten in two events. He is fifth in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 55.38 and eighth in the 50 freestyle with the fifth best time in school history (20.26).

Senior Jacob Harlan is ninth in the 500 freestyle headed into the week with a time of 4:30.00. Sophomore Austin Crump currently sits in tenth in the 200 freestyle with a career-best time of 1:38.71, which is sixth all-time in school history. Freshman Thomas Diaz is currently fifth in the 200 butterfly with a career-best time of 1:48.16. He is also sixth in the 400 IM with the time of 3:55.98. Fellow freshman Andrew Rodriguez is sixth in the 200 backstroke with a career-best time of 1:47.94, along with freshman Cameron Murphy who is eighth in the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:48.93.

On the diving side of the competition, the Cowboys will be led by junior Elijah Chan, sophomore Brendan Byrnes and freshman Payton Lee. Chan recorded his top score of 269.70 in the 1-meter board against Denver on Jan. 10, 2020, while his top score in the 3-meter is 265.73 during that same meet. On the platform he has a season-best score of 251.55. Byrnes is the top scorer in all three boards. He has a career best and NCAA Zone qualifying score of 200.15 in the 1-meter. In the 3-meter, he has a season-best score of 308.10 and a best mark of 292.80 in the platform. Lee recorded his career-best score of 275.75 in the 1-meter while competing at the Air Force Diving Invite. His best score in the 3-meter is 243.90 and 271.55 in the platform.

Follow @wyo_swimdive for updates and live stats.

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