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Sprinters Carry Rebels Into First
Thomas Andolfsson (in the air) celebrates after winning the 50 free title on Thursday night at the MWC Championships.
Thomas Andolfsson (in the air) celebrates after winning the 50 free title on Thursday night at the MWC Championships.

Feb. 26, 2009


OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The UNLV men's swimming and diving team turned in a dominating performance on Thursday night, highlighted by placing five swimmers in the top six of the 50 free, and posted two new conference records on the way to a 51.5-point lead after two days of action at the 2008 Mountain West Swimming and Diving Championships held at the Oklahoma City Community College. The Rebel women meanwhile set one new league record, and remained in fourth place.

The 24th-ranked Rebel men, who are looking to defend their title for the fifth straight year, began the night with a 1-2 finish in the 500 free. Sophomore Kier Maitland broke former Rebel Jacint Simon's MWC record in the 500 free by swimming a time of 4:20.75 to win his second career conference title. Classmmate John Mendoza was runner-up with a time of 4:23.47, and both were under NCAA "B" times. Also scoring in the 500 free was Tyler Bush in seventh in a time of 4:28.02.

UNLV placed two in the top eight in the 200 IM, which Nick Blank swimming a time of 1:48.53 to place third and Jeff Ellingsen was seventh in 1:50.81. Blank's time was the third fastest in UNLV history.

Next was the 50 free, which saw a UNLV domination, as the Rebels finished 1-2-4-5-5, as well as scoring two more in the consolation heat. Thomas Andolfsson won the 50 free title and was just .02 off the MWC time as he touched the wall in 19.64. Andlofsson actually swam a 19.63 in the morning preliminaries, giving him the UNLV all-time record in the event. Steven Nelms was second in a time of 19.91, and was followed by Charlie Tap in fourth (19.96), while Calan Eldridge and Kyle Virva both tied for fifth at 20.03. Andrew Morrell was ninth in 20.36, and Nick Arneson took 14th in 20.81. Andolfsson, Nelms and Tapp also posted NCAA "B" times.



Vincent English scored for the Rebels on the 3-meter board, placing 15th with a score of 232.20. The night's final event was the 200 free relay, and UNLV not only won for the eighth time in the 10-year history of the league, the Rebels relay team of Nelms, Eldridge, Tapp and Andolfsson posted a new conference record time of 1:17.61, which is also an automatic NCAA "A" time.

UNLV stands in first with 294 points, while Air Force is back in second at 242.5. Wyoming is third with 222, and is followed by BYU in fourth (220.5), TCU in fifth (189), and Utah in sixth (123).

The women's highlight came in the 200 IM, as freshman Zsuszanna Jakabos set a new league record in the 200 IM with a time of 1:58.47, also a NCAA "B" cut and it broke the previous UNLV record by three seconds. Teammate Ana Dangalakova took third in 1:59.59, while Katie Matulic was 15th in 2:06.80.

The night began with Bailey Kuestermeyer finishing seventh in the 500 free in 4:53.75. fourth-best time in school history. Top Rebels finished in the top eight in the 50 free, with Megan Clark finishing sixth (23.19) and Marva Harpak taking seventh (23.23). Madison Rousell was tied for 10th with a time of 23.35.

The Rebel women finished third in the 200 free relay, with Rousell, Clark, Friderika Szel and Harpak swimming a time of 1:32.04, second-best time in school history.

BYU holds the lead on the women's side with 263 points, just one point ahead of Wyoming (262). Utah is third with 195.5, UNLV is fourth with 187.5, Colorado State stands fifth (151), San Diego State (129) is sixth, TCU (129) is seventh, New Mexico is eighth (124), and Air Force (48) rounds out the field.

The four-day meet continues tomorrow, and will conclude on Saturday.

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