The University of Nevada Swimming & Diving team captured its second consecutive Western Athletic Conference Championship hosted at Palo Alto Natatorium in San Antonio, Texas. Wolf Pack swimmers won three individual titles on Saturday and eight during the four-day meet. The Pack scored 725.5 points to easily outdistance second place Northern Arizona’s score of 605 points.
Sophomore Margaret Doolittle won three individual gold medals during the meet and was named WAC Swimmer of the Year after earning Freshman of the Year honors last year. Freshman Jeanette Tour won two individual events and became the third consecutive Nevada swimmer to earn Freshman of the Year honors, Doolittle won the award last season and Kim Kabesh in 2006. First-year Pack head coach Mike Richmond was named WAC Coach of the Year.
Tour was the first Pack swimmer to claim an individual title on the final day of competition, winning her second event of the meet taking first in the 200-yard backstroke in a time of 2:02.21. On Friday she captured the 100-yard backstroke to give her two individual titles competing in her first championship.
Doolittle showed her dominance in the breaststroke winning the 200-yard event in an “A” cut time of 2:13.97 which has earned her a trip to the NCAA Championships in Columbus, Ohio, Mar. 20-22 in a second event. Friday she qualified for the NCAA Championships with a victory in the 100-yard breaststroke. She won three events at this year’s WAC meet and combined with victories in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke last season has won five individual events in two seasons of competition. Junior Summer Halwas-Morgan was second to Doolittle with a “B” cut time of 2:19.90. Senior Bobbie Lee Reese placed eighth with a time of 2:23.04 to score valuable points for the Pack.
Doolittle will be joined by junior Kim Kabesh at the NCAA Championships after she swam an “A” cut time of 1:58.87 in the 200-yard butterfly to take first. It was Kabesh’s second win of the meet after taking first in the 100-yard butterfly on Friday. Freshman Marichi Gandionco swam to a sixth place finish in the event and another freshman Kim Medina was 13th.
In the 100-yard freestyle senior Michaela Schmidt placed third with a time of 51.41 and junior JayDee Huppert finished 13th as both scored points toward the WAC title. In the longest event of the meet, the 1650-yard freestyle, two Pack swimmers scored points as sophomore Miranda Moore was fourth with a time of 17:22.70 and Gandionco was 15th in a time of 17:42.83.
The Nevada divers had their best event of the meet placing four in the top nine of the platform discipline. Sophomore Chelsea Sawyer tied for second with a NCAA “B” cut score of 240.75. Freshman Heather Ramirez’ score of 209.65 earned her fourth place and junior Candice Minette was eighth with a score of 190.45. Senior Trisha Wesner placed ninth with a score of 171.20.
The Pack closed out their championship run with a fourth place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay with a time of 3:29.28. Huppert swam the first leg and seniors Jessica Hemmingsen, Nonie Wainwright and Schmidt took to the pool for the final time in the Silver & Blue as the squad concluded the 2008 WAC Championship with their second consecutive title.
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