Nevada Places 3rd at MW Swimming and Diving Championship - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Nevada Places 3rd at MW Swimming and Diving Championship

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The Wolf Pack swimming and diving team matched Nevada's highest finish of any sport as a member of the Mountain West conference, placing third at the 2015 Mountain West Championships with 554 points. The Wolf Pack established itself as a member of the upper echelon in the conference after besting the fourth-place finishing team by 134 points.

The Wolf Pack earned seven gold medals, added three points to Nevada's tally in the Governor's Series and won four MW postseason awards; Coach of the Year (Abby Steketee), Diving Coach of the Year (Jian Li You), Swimmer of the Year (Yawen Li) and Diver of the Year (Krysta Palmer).

San Diego State won its third MW title in five seasons with 704.5 points, while Boise State placed runner-up (679.5). The Aztecs, Broncos and Wolf Pack – who were each predicted to place in the top three – separated themselves from the rest of the conference as the only teams with at least 500 points. Nevada was in third place wire-to-wire in the meet, remaining closer to the top two teams than the rest of the field throughout.

Nevada defeated rivals UNLV, 554-312.5, to add three points to the Pack's lead in the Governor's Series. With eight competitions and the academic component remaining, Nevada leads UNLV 10.5-4.5 in the annual battle for state bragging rights.

The Wolf Pack set nine program records at the MW Championships and won gold medals in the 1-meter dive (Palmer, 336.30), 3-meter dive (Palmer, 359.40), platform dive (Palmer, 343.40), 200-yard IM (Li, 1:57.59), 400-yard IM (4:07.65), 200-yard freestyle (Teresa Baerens, 1:45.68) and 200-yard breaststroke (2:08.49).

In Saturday's final day of competition, Nevada added 186 points to its team score through strong performances from all its finals competitors; particularly Li and Palmer, whose MW Championship performances capped two of the most impressive seasons in recent Wolf Pack memory.

Li – a reigning All-MW selection and 2014 NCAA competitor in three events – won the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:08.49 today. Her first place time broke her own school record by over one second, set a MW Championship meet record and pool record. The native of Wuhan, China, also won the 200-yard IM in 1:57.59 and the 400-yard IM in 4:07.65 this week. Li now has five career MW Championship gold medals.

Palmer, a local product from Carson City, completed her MW sweep of the diving events. Her final dive put the icing on the cake as Palmer won the platform dive with 343.40 points – setting a program, Mountain West overall and pool record. Palmer is undefeated on the season, winning all 11 diving events she has competed in. Last season, Palmer placed in the top three in all each dive at the MW Championship and advanced to the NCAA Zone E Diving Regional. The Wolf Pack boasts four consecutive conference divers of the year; Palmer (2015, MW), Grace Huang (2014, MW; 2012, WAC) and Stephanie Hansen (2013, MW).

Finals action began Saturday in the 1,650-yard freestyle relay, where senior Michelle Forman placed fourth in 16:34.56. The Carson City native's time set a new team season-best time. Additionally, senior Jocelin Drennan placed 23rd in 17:32.09.

Freshman Jaeger Turner then tallied her second bronze medal of the meet, placing third in the 200-yard backstroke. The Bolton, England, native touched the wall in 1:56.33, besting her preliminary time by two seconds, to place on the podium. Freshman Kate Hofmeyer placed ninth (1:58.54), senior Luiza Vieira placed 10th (1:58.90), freshman Josefin Eriksen placed 12th (1:59.19) and senior Kaelie Reviglio placed 18th (1:59.90).

Sophomore Teresa Baerens, who won the 200 free yesterday, added another medal to her impressive meet. Baerens placed third in the 100-yard freestyle in 49.14, breaking a school record that has stood since 2000.

Li's time of 2:08.49 in the 200 breaststroke bested runner-up Maria Harutjunjan's time by five full seconds to dazzle the crowd. Sophomores Arantxa Medina-Alegria (2:14.63) and Riley Hilbrandt (2:15.14) placed fifth and ninth, respectively.

In the final individual swimming event of the meet, sophomore Sita Kusserow placed fifth in the 200-yard butterfly. Kusserow broke the two-minute mark in the race, finishing in 1.59.85 – a career-best time.

Also competing for Nevada in the platform dive was freshman Wendy Espina-Esquivel, who posted a 154.35 score in the preliminaries to place 22nd.

The Wolf Pack capped a strong showing at the MW Championship with a school record and fourth place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay – the final event of the meet. Payne, Li, Kusserow and Baerens combined for a 3:19.94 time in the event, breaking a school record that has stood since 1998.

Nevada will now enter NCAA competition, where qualifying individuals will compete. Palmer will participate in the NCAA Zone E Diving Meet, March 9-11, in Colorado Springs, Colo. The NCAA Championships will be held from March 19-21 in Greensboro, N.C.

2015 MW Championships – Final Team Standings

1. San Diego State, 704.5

2. Boise State, 679.5

3. Nevada, 554

4. Wyoming, 420

5. UNLV, 312.5

6. Air Force, 281

7. San Jose State, 222

8. Fresno State, 187

9. New Mexico, 180

10. Colorado State, 172.50

Nevada Press Release


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