Utah Swimming and Diving awaits MWC Championships
Feb. 12, 2004
2004 MWC CHAMPIONSHIPS:
Oklahoma City Community College will host the 2004 Mountain West Conference Swimming & Diving Championships Feb. 18-21 at the Aquatic Center in Oklahoma City, Okla. Utah enters the meet following its best women's season in history with a share of the conference title, as the men head into the championships fresh off a second-place finish in the conference, their best since 1995.
Last season, the Utes finished fourth in women's competition and fifth on the men's side at the 2003 MWC championships. Brigham Young was the conference champion in both men's and women's competition.
The Utah women finished the season 9-2 overall. The women's 6-1 record in MWC competition earned Utah a share of the conference crown for the first time in the history of the program.
The men concluded the season 7-1 overall and 3-1 in MWC meets. Utah finished second in the conference, its highest finish under fourth-year Head Coach Michael Litzinger.
There are several Ute swimmers that could go a long way in determining the conference championship this season. Kristen Kaiser is the MWC champion and record holder in the 400 IM. Her time of 4:21.22 at the 2003 MWC Championships broke the school and conference record. Tessa Greegor looks to breakthrough in the 100 breaststroke as last season she fell 6/100 of a second away winning the event and qualifying for the NCAA's. Meghan Demchuk, Amy Barefield and Marta Stepanczuk are also expected to be top contenders in their events as well.
For the men, Utah has had strong swimming and diving performances all season long. The Utes will look for big performances from Cody Rempfer, Evan Castro and Jonathan Larsen. "Those guys have been a big part of getting us where we are," comments Litzinger. If Utah can swim as well as they did last season, the Utes could be a contender in both men's and women's competition. (Last season every Ute swimmer achieved their season best time at the conference championships).
2003-04 SEASON IN REVIEW:
The Utah women's team won its first conference championship in school history, as they finished tied for the top spot with Colorado State. Utah is one of the deepest teams in the conference and its only weakness is diving. Over the regular season, the Utes rolled to a 6-0 start in the conference before losing to BYU. When Utah beat Colorado State 128-109 on Jan. 17, it was the first time they had beaten the Rams under Litzinger.
Utah's men completed the season 7-1 (3-1 in MWC), finishing second in the MWC. The Utes earned seven straight wins before losing to nationally-ranked BYU in the final meet of the season. The men last won the conference in 1995. This is the best season for Utah in the Litzinger era. The Utes have finished in fifth the last four seasons at the conference championships.
A LOOK AT THE CONFERENCE OPPONENTS:
Brigham Young is the defending conference champions on both sides of competition. The Cougar men are ranked and will be the heavy favorite to repeat this season.
The women's draw will be a four team race for the crown. BYU, Colorado State, UNLV and Utah will be the top contenders in women's competition with each team's strengths being different from any others. In total, five men's and eight women's teams will compete.