The women's team won its third-straight regular season title and its first conference championship.
March 28, 2006
The University of Utah women's swimming and diving team wrapped up another successful season under Head Coach Michael Litzinger, winning its third-straight Mountain West Conference regular-season title and the program's first conference championship. Utah tallied 679.5 points at the 2006 MWC Swimming and Diving Championships. The women chalked up an overall dual-meet record of 9-1, finishing undefeated in conference dual meets for the second straight year, 8-0. The team also set eight new school records throughout the year in the 100 back, 100 breast, 200 IM, 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay, 200 free relay, 400 free relay, 1-meter diving and platform diving.
The women's only loss was at the hands of the Denver Pioneers back on Nov. 4, which snapped the team's streak of 10 straight dual-meet wins. However, the women bounced back the following week, winning their last eight dual meets before heading to the MWC Championships. The women's team hasn't lost a conference dual-meet since Jan. 30, 2004 when they lost at in-state rival BYU 110-127. The women also competed in the Notre Dame Invitational in December 2005, placing third overall with 1,467 points.
At the 2006 MWC Championships, the women won five individual events, three relay events and set three new conference records. Kelsey Patterson won her first two conference crowns in the 1-meter (284.35 points) and platform (285.95 points) diving events. Patterson was also named the 2006 MWC Women's Diver of the Year as well. Amber Walter claimed two individual titles in the 50 free (22.79) and in the 100 breast (1:01.92), setting a new conference record in the process. Walter was also named the 2006 MWC Women's Swimmer of the Year. Litzinger was also named the 2006 MWC Women's Coach of the Year for the second time during his tenure.
Rachael Curci claimed her second conference title in three years in the 1650 free (16:49.77). Utah also won the 200 free relay (1:32.47) and 200 medley relay (1:42.21), setting new conference records in both events, as well as the 400 free relay (3:23.79), setting a new Utah school record in the event. The women's team led the conference with seven first-team all-MWC selections. The team also garnered nine second-team selections and five first-team relay selections.
Walter and Patterson both qualified for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. Walter competed in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 breast events. The junior finished 36th in the 50 free (23.14), 67th in the 100 free (52.17) and 22nd in the 100 breast (1:02.70). Patterson competed in all three diving events, the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform. The junior placed 30th in the 1-meter (245.40 points), 18th in the 3-meter (289.35) and 21st on the platform (205.10).
The men's team finished the regular season 4-3 overall and 2-3 in the MWC to finish fourth on the season. At the 2006 MWC Championships, the men placed fifth overall with 513 points after leading for the first two days of the championship meet. The men's team started the season 4-1 before dropping their final two meets of the season at Air Force and BYU. The men also finished second at the Notre Dame Invitational in December 2005 after tallying 1,366 points. The men set five school records throughout the year in the, 100 free, 200 back, 800 free relay, 1-meter diving and 3-meter diving. . At the 2006 MWC Championships, the men's team led the field after the first two days of competition before slipping in the final two days. Sterling Richards picked up the only conference titles for the Utes, winning the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events. The senior claimed his first career conference title in the 1-meter and his third in the 3-meter. Richards was also named the 2006 MWC Men's Diver of the Year for the second time since 2004. Andrew Cole set a Utah school record in the preliminary round of the 200 back with a NCAA provisional qualifying time of 1:45.96. The previous Ute record was 1:45.97 by Jim Giottonini in 1993. Cole finished second overall in the event. In the 100 free, senior Jonathan Larsen fell short of winning his third-straight title in the event, finishing second with a time of 44.22 seconds.
Richards qualified for the 2006 Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events. Richards became the first Ute diver ever to earn first-team All-America status by placing fifth on the 1-meter board at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Atlanta, Ga., on March 23 He scored a 340.55 total for six dives at the Georgia Tech Aquatics Center. His 74.8 second-dive score was the best of that round for the eight-man field and the third-best score of the night. Richards is the first Ute to earn All-America honors since 1999 (Heidi Hausknecht) and the first member of the men's team since Thomas Nore in 1995.
In the 3-meter, the senior placed 10th in the 3-meter dive preliminaries at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in Atlanta, Ga., Friday. Richards, who scored a 328.55, missed making the finals by two places and just 4.65 points. Richards' performance earned Utah 21 points to finish 26th overall at the championships.
2005-06 MWC CHAMPIONS: Athlete(s) Event Time Kelsey Patterson 1M Diving 284.35 points Kelsey Patterson Platform Diving 285.95 points Amber Walter 50 Free 22.79 Amber Walter 100 Breast 1:01.92 Rachael Curci 1650 Free 16:49.77 Jensen, Walter, Women's 200 Medley Relay 1:42.21 Fredsall, Barefield Walter, Barefield, Women's 200 Free Relay 1:32.47 Fredsall, McInturff McInturff, Barefield, Women's 400 Free Relay 3:23.79 Fredsall, Walter Sterling Richards 1M Diving 318.55 points Sterling Richards 3M Diving 361.10 points
Michael Litzinger - 2006 MWC Women's Coach of the Year Amber Walter - 2006 MWC Women's Swimmer of the Year Kelsey Patterson - 2006 MWC Women's Diver of the Year Sterling Richards - First team All-America 1-meter diving, 2006 MWC Men's Diver of the Year
2005-06 MWC ALL-CONFERENCE (WOMEN): Athlete Event(s) Rachael Curci 500 free, 1650 free Jennifer Fredsall 50 free, 100 fly Marissa Martin 200 back Alison McInturff 100 free, 200 free Shannon McQueen 100 back, 200 back Kelsey Patterson 1M diving, 3M diving, Platform Amber Walter 50 free, 100 free, 100 breast Jensen, Walter, 200 medley relay Fredsall, Barefield McQueen, Walter, 400 medley relay Fredsall, McInturff Walter, Barefield, 200 free relay Fredsall, McInturff McInturff, Barefield 400 free relay Fredsall, Walter McInturff, McQueen 800 free relay Coburn, Curci
2005-06 SECOND-TEAM ALL-CONFERENCE: Athlete Event(s) Amy Barefield 50 freestyle Michelle Blair 200 butterfly Anna Braszkewiecz 1M diving, 3M diving Adrienne Coburn 400 IM, 200 breast Meghan Demchuk 200 IM, 100 fly, 200 fly Ariane Kich 100 breast, 200 breast Leah Jensen 100 back Alison McInturff 200 IM Shannon McQueen 500 free Damien Brown Platform diving Jeremy Clark 500 free Andrew Cole 200 IM, 100 back Andrew Jones Platform diving Jonathan Larsen 50 free
NEW UTE RECORDS (WOMEN): Event Time/Score Athlete(s) Location 100 back 56.67 Shannon McQueen MWC Championships 100 breast 1:01.92 Amber Walter MWC Championships 200 IM 2:04.69 Alison McInturff MWC Championships 200 medley relay 1:42.21 Jensen, Walter, MWC Championships Fredsall, Barefield 400 medley relay 3:44.51 McQueen, Walter, MWC Championships Fredsall, McInturff 200 free relay 1:32.47 Walter, Barefield, MWC Championships Fredsall, McInturff 400 free relay 3:23.79 McInturff, Barefield, MWC Championships Fredsall, Walter 1M diving 305.30 Kelsey Patterson Notre Dame Invitational Platform diving 285.95 Kelsey Patterson MWC Championships
NEW UTE RECORDS (MEN): Event Time/Score Athlete(s) Location 100 free 44.07 Jonathan Larsen Notre Dame Invitational 200 back 1:45.96 Andrew Cole MWC Championships 800 free relay 6:38.56 Larsen, Clark, MWC Championships Cole, Evans 1M diving 376.90 Sterling Richards Notre Dame Invitational 3M diving 400.95 Sterling Richards Notre Dame Invitational