Feb. 26, 2005
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - UNLV dominated the pool on the final day of action to win their first-ever Mountain West Conference titles, winning both the men's and women's championships at the 2005 MWC Swimming & Diving Championships. BYU had won both the men and women in the first five years of the conference's history, but the Rebel men outscored the Cougars by 94.5, while the UNLV women came from behind in the final two events to hold off BYU by 31.5 points. The conference title was the first-ever for UNLV in any conference in its 25-year history, and the first for the women since claiming the 1992 Big West title.
UNLV head coach Jim Reitz, in his 25th year at the school, was named MWC Coach of the Year, while junior Rebel Raluca Udriou was named MWC Female Swimmer of the meet after winning two events and taking a second place finish Saturday in the 200 back.
"We have not just a great group of swimmers, but a great group of individuals that supported each other all weekend," said Reitz. "It's been awhile since we've won a conference championship here, but it was well worth the wait, and is a great reward for our seniors who really turned in outstanding performances this week. This should be a good sign of things to come for UNLV swimmer, and continue to lead to success this season, as we hope to send several women and as many as seven men to the NCAAs."
UNLV finished with 839 points on the men's side, with BYU scoring 745.5. Wyoming was third (592), Utah was fourth (560.5), and Air Force was sixth at 403.
The Rebels began the night placing four in the top eight of the 100 back, led by Adam Martinson's school record, NCAA provisional, and first place time of 1:45.71. Kyle Tannehill took fourth in 1:49.07, while Devin Phillips was seventh (1:51.75), and David Rodriguez was eighth (1:51.99). UNLV again placed fourth in the finals of the 100 free, led by Brandon Nelms' runner-up finish in 44.29, a NCAA provisional time. Joe Bartoch was third in 44.40, while Jonathan Hugo was sixth (44.73), both were NCAA provisional times. John Byers added a ninth place time of 45.79.
In the 200 breast, Patrick Adams was fourth in 2:01.93, while Curtis Robinson was eighth (2:05.04), and Eric Culberson was 13th (2:06.69). Michael Day posted a runner-up finish in the 200 fly in 1:46.98, a NCAA provisional time, while Tamas Bosnyak took eighth(1:53.21) and Mathew Morton was 11th (1:52.93).
Kyle Goodrich swam a school record and NCAA provisional time of 15:27.30 in the 1650 free to place second. John Pittenger took eighth in 16:02.01, while Erik Ringdahl placed ninth (16:03.19) and Mathew Morton was 10th (16:04.36). UNLV then closed out the meet with by winning the 400 free relay, giving them relay titles in four of the five for the meet. Bartoch, Nelms, Hugo, and Byers swam a 2:57.43, which is also a NCAA provisional time.
The Rebel women finished the day with 701.5 points, with BYU scoring 670 for second place. Utah was third with 607, Colorado State fourth (489), Wyoming fifth (431), New Mexico sixth (387), Air Force seventh (221.5), and San Diego State took eighth (153).
Udroiu's 2:00.40 in the 200 back was good for a runner-up and NCAA provisional time. Tiffany Vincent also took 12th in 2:07.77, with Megan Hunt-Higgns placing 13th (2:08.24). UNLV made its biggest move in the 100 free, scoring six Rebels in the top 14. Marina Sandback recorded her third runner-up finish of the meet, finishing the 100 free in 51.31, while Jessie Bardshaw was fifth in 51.94 and Amber Walker was sixth at 52.01. Katie Wronn took ninth (51.59), Lauren Browning was 10th (51.79), and Jacque Hoover was 14th (52.75).
UNLV placed just two in the 200 breast, but made them count as freshman Kim Bonney won the 200 breast in a NCAA provisional time of 2:17.31, while Shayna Burns was fourth in 2:18.91. Kari Nettenstrom was the lone Rebel in the 200 fly, finishing 12th in 2:08.12.
Julie Babin led the Rebels in the 1650 free, taking fifth in 17:17.20. Also scoring was Alison Zick (seventh in 17:20.61) and Lani Seaman (13th in 17:42.28). Still trailing BYU with two events to go, UNLV saw its diving come up huge, as three Rebels placed in the top eight to just one for the Cougars. Jessica Field took fourth to lead the team with a score of 357.20, with Nichole McLean taking sixth (346.90) and Daryl Packard eighth (327.70). UNLV then closed out the meet with a first place and a NCAA provisional time of 3:24.80 in the 400 free, turned in by Bradshaw, Browning, Wronn, and Sandback.
The NCAA women's championships will be held on Mar. 17-19 in Indianapolis, Ind., while the men's will be at Minneapolis, Minn., from March 24-26. UNLV will host the Rebel Classic Invitational this weekend, March 4-5 in Las Vegas at Buchanan Natatorium.