Rebels Swim North for The Winter
Jan. 17, 2007
LAS VEGAS -
WOMEN (2-3, 2-2 MWC) Preview: The UNLV women's swimming and diving team enter 2007 on the heels of a successful UNLV Winter Invite, in which they finished second, also defeating conference foes TCU and San Diego State in the process. The Rebels will be led by Bailey Kuestermeyer, the MWC women's Swimmer of the Week two weeks ago. Kuestermeyer finished with four top-two finishes, including winning the 200 breast. Also look for scoring from Marina Sandback, Lani Seaman and newcomer Marva Harpak. On the boards, Wendy Williams and Caitlin Kelly will compete for the Rebels. UNLV was supposed to swim Florida Atlantic last weekend, but scheduling mishaps derailed the dual meet with the Owls.
Scouting The Falcons: The Falcons enter the dual meet with the Rebs looking for their first dual meet victory of the year. The strengths of the Falcons are the distance freestyle and breaststroke events, thanks to record-holder Blair Leake. Leake holds the school record in the 200 breast, and is among the best in the conference. Lauren White is a force for the Falcons in the long free events, holding a place in the Academy's top 10 in the 500, 1,000 and the 1,650 meter events. Danielle Dowds was a first-team All-MWC diver last season and leads Air Force again this season.
Scouting The Cowgirls: The Cowgirls of Wyoming boast a 3-0 record in the Mountain West, which is tied for the league lead. The freestyle group for the Cowgirls is among the league's best, bested by 2006 All-MWC first-teamer Aimee Stinson. Stinson, who's only a sophomore, holds top 10 times in the MWC this season in all of the long distance events. Olena Moher holds down the backstrokes and Erin Spadinger is among the best breast swimmers in the league. The divers for the Cowgirls are among the deepest in the west, with Brittney Wainright and Saara Haapanen both boasting top-five conference scores.
#23 MEN (3-1/3-0 MWC) Preview: The Rebs are coming off a good showing in the UNLV Winter Invite, finishing second while also defeating TCU in points for a conference win. Brandon Nelms was the national swimmer of the week after that meet, and will be counted on to score well for the Rebels. Others that will be important will be Richard Hortness, who has the 50th best time in the 50 free this season. Jonas Andersson currently holds the 24th best time in Division I in the 100 breast, with Johan Claar holding down the 25th best D-I time in the 1,650 free.
Scouting The Falcons: The Falcons of Air Force swim into Friday's meet with the Rebels with a 1-0 conference mark, after defeating TCU earlier in the season. Air Force is blessed with one of the nation's best distance freestyle swimmers in Chris Knaute. Knaute and the Rebel's Johan Claar have developed quite the rivalry, with Claar taking both long distance free events in last season's meet, before Knaute came back to sweep the two events in the MWC Championships. Leaguewide, Knaute is ranked first in the 1,650 free and second in the 1,000 free, along with being nationally ranked in the 1,650. Also, Knaute's 200 free time is best in the MWC this season thus far, and his success will be vital to Air Force this weekend. Air Force's IM team is among the nation's best, holding four of the top six times in the conference this year.
Scouting The Cowboys: Wyoming is 0-1 in the Mountain West so far this year, and this weekend's conference dual meet will be the first for Wyoming since mid-November. The Pokes are led by their outstanding breaststroke group, living up to their nickname of "Breaststroke U." Alex Larkin leads Wyoming in both breast events, and holds the second-best MWC times in the 100 and 200 breast, behind only UNLV's Jonas Andersson. John Lynch and Kevin Bretting both rank in the top five among divers in the MWC, with Lynch posting the second-best marks in both diving events.
UNLV returns to Buchanan Natatorium for the first time in 2007, when they take on UC-Santa Barbara in a dual meet. Swimmer are set to hit the pool at noon on the January 27.