Monday, March 3, 2008
SMU women’s swimming and diving wins third straight Conference USA title
The Mustangs have won 12 consecutive conference championships, dating to their time in the Western Athletic Conference.
The No. 14 SMU women's swimming and diving team won its third-straight Conference USA crown Saturday night, and its 12th consecutive conference championship overall. The evening was highlighted by the Mustangs setting four new conference records and achieving a number of career-fastest times.
Katie Roberts started the night off for the Mustangs, taking second place in a season-fastest time in the 1650 free. Roberts finished the mile in 16:46.98, good for NCAA consideration.
In platform diving, Audra Egenolf was again a highlight for SMU, earning a mark of 247.55. Egenolf took home bronze in the event, her second medal of the meet.
Anja Carman set the Ponies' first record of the night, winning the 200 back in 1:55.09, a NCAA `A' cut. Her time bettered her own old meet and pool record, set in 2006, by over two seconds.
SMU earned first through fifth places in the 100 free, setting four new career marks, two season-best marks and the second of the Ponies' meet and pool records. Petra Klosova picked up the top spot for the Mustangs, finishing in 48.76, her season-best time. Jennifer Blackman finished second, touching the wall in 48.90, a new personal best. Candace Blackman took third in 49.47, a career-best for her. Angela San Juan Cisneros swam the course in 49.81, a career-fastest time, and good for fourth place overall. Sascha Van den Branden earned fifth, touching in at 50.27. Elzanne Werth finished seventh in 51.32 and Gabriela Soza swam a career-fastest 53.57. Klosova and J. Blackman each earned NCAA `A' cuts in the event, while C. Blackman, San Juan Cisneros and Van den Branden each came in with NCAA `B' cuts.
Jennifer Basel continued her strong outing, clocking a 2:14.14 in the 200 breast, an NCAA automatic qualifying mark and a season-best time. Devon Callaghan came in just behind her in a career-fastest 2:15.92, good for NCAA consideration. Jaime Williamson finished fourth in 2:17.39, a personal best and NCAA consideration time. Basel's time set a new pool and meet record.
Justine Clark added another medal to her trophy case by winning the 200 fly in 2:01.15, a new career mark for her. Williamson finished in 2:06.97, a career-best for her, and Federica Felloni swam the course in 2:07.44, a new personal best.
The Mustangs finished the evening by smoking the 400 free relay. J. Blackman, C. Blackman, Van den Branden and San Juan Cisneros combined to swim a new pool and meet record time of 3:18.30, an NCAA `A' cut and a season-fastest time.
SMU tallied 926 points for the meet, setting a new meet record. Rice came in second with 635, followed by East Carolina with 518, Houston with 431, Marshall with 365, Northern Colorado with 275 and Cal State Bakersfield with 201.
Steve Collins was named C-USA Women's Swimming Coach of the Year and J. Blackman was honored as Women's Swimmer of the Meet.
"It's important for our team and the university for us to do well at conference," said Collins. "It's a great opportunity for us to swim fast and qualify some swimmers for the NCAAs. I think, unofficially, that we qualified nine girls for the meet. The divers will go to qualify in 10 days. Both of them are diving really well. I'm proud of the girls' team spirit and unity. Those qualities are what make us a special team."
The Mustangs have a few weeks off before heading to the NCAAs March 20-22 in Columbus, Ohio.