By Ben Colin
The third night of the Mountain West Swimming and Diving Championships saw five different women's teams pick up individual conference titles, but Boise State was still able to hold onto its overall lead on Friday in San Antonio. Six total teams have been atop the podium so far.
Two event wins for the Broncos were enough to bring their points total to 817, an 80.5-point lead over second-place Nevada (736.5) heading into the meet's final day. San Diego State is in third place with 734.5 points.
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On Friday, the BSU relay of Ally Kleinsorgen, Laura Williams, Emmie Jennings, and Abbey Sorenson picked up a win in a tight 400-yard medley relay. The Broncos edged Wyoming by 0.03 as Sorenson snuck by Isobel Ryan on the final leg.
In fact, Sorenson entered the water in third. Boise State and Wyoming slightly trailed UNLV after Sofia Carnevale and Katsiaryna Afanasyeva posted fast splits in the middle of the Runnin' Rebels' relay. Sorenson put up a 48.25 split, faster than any other anchor.
San Diego State was disqualified in the relay after swimming a 3:37.08. That time would’ve finished fourth and given the Aztecs 52 points toward the team race.
The Broncos' second win came in the 200 freestyle as Emma Chard defended her title from a year ago. Chard was nearly two seconds slower than last year but still managed to hang on and win by 0.01 over Nevada’s Rebecca Murray. Tied at the 100 mark, the two swam nearly identical races.
Carnevale missed the conference record by the slimmest of margins. The UNLV sophomore's time of 59.87 missed Wyoming senior Maria Harutjunjan's record by 0.02. Despite that, breaking the minute barrier will likely earn a spot at the NCAA Championships in March.
Harutjunjan, the defending champion, finished ninth after not qualifying for the championship final. Her final time of 1:01.41 would have finished fourth overall.
Last year’s results flipped in the 400 IM. Colorado State’s Haley Rowley beat San Diego State’s McKenna Meyer with a personal best of 4:10.67. The two-second win came from the breaststroke and freestyle as the two swimmers touched nearly even at halfway.
Meyer was able to hold off a late charge from on the freestyle from teammate Frida Berggren, the 200 IM champion, who finished third. Her freestyle split of 56.75 nearly overcame a two-second deficit.
San Diego State’s Courtney Vincent won the 100 butterfly with a 52.89. She trailed swimmers from San Jose State and Air Force midway through the race before surging ahead for the victory, denying those schools of their first conference win this year.
Last year as a sophomore, Wyoming's Samantha Burke finished eighth in the 100 backstroke at the MW Championships. On Friday, the junior was crowned conference champion with a best time of 52.88. Defending champion Ally Kleinsorgen finished fifth.
San Diego State climbed back within striking distance of Boise State on a few occasions throughout the night. After the 100 butterfly, the Aztecs had whittled the lead to 22.5 points. The Broncos kept adding to their lead though. Even with San Diego State placing three swimmers in the 100 breaststroke championship final, Boise State held onto a lead.
At the session's conclusion, Nevada found itself in the second position in the standings. Day four finals will begin at 6:30 PM (CST) Saturday and can be seen on FloSwimming. Early heats of the 1650 freestyle will begin at 3:30 PM.
Top 5 Individual Performances
Sofia Carnevale, UNLV - 100 Breast (59.87)
Courtney Vincent, San Diego State - 100 Fly (52.89)
Samantha Burke, Wyoming - 100 Back (52.88)
Haley Rowley, Colorado State - 400 IM (4:10.67)
Tonicia Thomas, Colorado State - 100 Back (52.97)
Boise State - 817, Nevada - 736.5, San Diego State - 734.5, Wyoming - 657, Colorado State - 493, UNLV - 446.5, New Mexico - 435.5, Air Force - 405, San Jose State - 397, Fresno State - 382
2018 Mountain West Swimming & Diving Championships
Palo Alto College Aquatic Center
Short Course Yards (SCY)