Cowboy Swimmers Head to WAC Championships with Title Ambitions
A year ago the Wyoming Swimming and Diving team came up just short of a championship at the Western Athletic Conference championships. They will be looking to take a step up from last year’s second place finish in the four-day even this year that begins Friday at the CRWC Natatorium on the campus of the University of Houston.
The Cowboys head to the meet having won dual meets against three of the other top teams in the WAC this season, beating Air Force 165-135, Grand Canyon 193-107 and UNLV 165-146.
A year ago the Cowboys scored 794.5 points in the conference meet, second to Air Force, which scored 794.5. Grand Canyon placed third with 563 points and UNLV fourth with 525.5.
Grand Canyon goes into this year’s championship with the top time in seven individual events --. Mark Nikolaev in the 100 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke, and Mazen El Kamash in the 50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, and 200 breaststroke. UNLV posted the top time in the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 1000 freestyle and 1650 freestyle.
Wyoming currently has 14 swimmers than rank in the conference’s top 10 lists in at least one event. Eight Cowboys have posted a top-10 time in three or more events. Senior Wade Nelson leads the way with five top-10 times. He currently holds the season high in both the 200 individual medley (1:47.30) and the 400 individual medley (3:48.31).
Senior Eric Oleson has the seventh-best time in the 500 freestyle, fifth-best time in the 1000 freestyle and fifth-best time in the 1650 freestyle. Oleson also recorded the fifth-fastest time in the 400 individual medley.
There are 10 events where the Pokes have at least three swimmers in the top 10. UW’s strongest events may be the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley, where three Cowboys rank in the top five. In the 100 breaststroke, junior Liam Holt holds the second-best time (54.65), senior Kyle White is just behind with the third-best time (54.91) and junior David Murphy owns the fifth-fastest time (55.21). In the 200 individual medley, Holt ranks fourth (1:50.23) and senior Ryan Ball ranks fifth (1:50.39), both behind the conference leader Nelson.
Sophomore Scotia Mullin will look make a huge impact for Wyoming again this season, after two conference titles last season on the one-meter and platform. Mullin set the conference record with a score of 423.85 in the final, besting the previous conference record he set in the preliminary round. His performance earned him the honor of WAC Diver of the Year.