Feb. 27, 2010
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - The 22nd-ranked UNLV men crushed the rest of the field on the final day of events on Saturday night, winning all six events to wrap up their sixth straight conference title at the 2010 Mountain West Conference Swimming and Diving Championships held at the Oklahoma City Community College Aquatic Complex. The Rebels finished with a 186.5-point lead over runner-up Air Force, while the UNLV women's squad posted a fourth-place finish in the team standings.
UNLV junior Kier Maitland, who repeated as MWC Men's Swimmer of the Year, began the night by winning his fifth career league individual title and became a three-time champion in the 1650 free by swimming a time of 14:58.35, more then 16 seconds ahead of runner-up finisher and teammate John Mendoza. Both swimmers finished under NCAA 'B' time standards. The next event of the night saw Nick Blank defend his title in the 200 back, breaking his own conference record time by touching the wall in 1:44.86, a 'B' standard. Also scoring in the event was Michael Lowenstein in ninth (1:49.92) and Chris Riley in 13th (1:51.07).
One year after a runner-up finish in the event, Calan Eldridge won his first MWC individual title when he touched the wall in 44.15 in the 100 free, while Kyle Virva was runner-up in a time of 44.36. The two Rebels were the only two swimmers to post 'B' time in the event. Steven Nelms earned a fourth-place finish in a time of 45.05, while other Rebels to score in the event were Tyler Bush in 10th (45.49), Thomas Andolfsson in 13th (46.02), and Charlie Tapp in 15th (46.16).
The win streak for UNLV continued in the 200 breast, with Andrew Morrell giving UNLV the individual title for the fourth straight year thanks to a 'B' time of 1:55.75, just .05 off the school record. UNLV followed that with a 1-2 finish in the 200 fly, with Daniel Egly capturing the championship with a time of 1:46.73, while teammate and 2009 champion David Seiler earned a runner-up finish in 1:47.73. Both times met NCAA 'B' standards. The night ended with UNLV winning the 400 free relay for the second straight year and seventh in the 11-year history of the conference. Eldridge, Virva, Bush and Nelms would post a winning time of 2:57.45, more then two seconds ahead of second-place TCU and a NCAA 'B' time.
The Rebels finished with 787 points for the meet, while Air Force was far back in second with 600.5. BYU placed third with 580.5, Wyoming was fourth (543), TCU fifth (492) and Utah sixth (401).
UNLV's first points of the night on the women's side came in the 200 back, with Anja Crawford posting a fifth-place finish with a time of 1:59.78. Lisa Gillespie won the consolation heat to place ninth in 2:00.91 and Brittany Ozar finished in 15th in 2:03.92. The next swimmer to make finals was Haley Porter in the 100 free, and the freshman swam a time of 50.85 to finish in eighth. Three Rebels competed in the consolation heat of the 100 free, with Marva Harpak (51.57), Andree-Anne Genereux (51.62) and Madison Rousell (51.73) finishing in 14th, 15th and 16th place, respectively.
The 200 breast saw Marley Prothero post a fifth-place performance thanks to a swim of 2:16.93. Senior Erin King meanwhile scored at the conference meet for the first time in her career, placing 11th in a time of 2:20.72. UNLV placed two in the consolation heat of the 200 fly, with Carmen Robb finishing 11th (2:04.01) and Emma Gustafsson 15th (2:06.16).
UNLV closed out the meet in the 400 free relay, with Harpak, Porter, Genereuz and Gillespie posting a fourth-place time of 3:23.65, which was also a 'B' time.
The final standings for the women saw BYU hold off Wyoming for the team championship, as the Cougars scored 703 points to 674 for the Cowgirls. San Diego State was third with 589, while UNLV stood in fourth with 386. Utah was close behind in fifth with 377, and was followed by Colorado State in sixth (366), TCU in seventh (233), New Mexico in eighth (214) and Air Force in ninth place (150). One Rebel was also honored during the night, as Harpak was the co-recipient of the Senior Recognition award on the women's side.
The next competition for both Rebel teams will be at next month's NCAA Championships.