By Quinn Horner
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Air Force men's swimming and diving concluded their regular season competition on Saturday, Jan. 27, with a 227-89 loss against Denver in the annual Colorado Sprint Championship held at Colorado College's Schlessman Natatorium. The unique format of this sprint elimination meet consists of three 50's of each stroke being swam to eventually whittle the field down to the four fastest swimmers. Before, in between, and after each round, the 200 medley relay, 200 free, 500 free, 200 IM, and 200 free relay are also swam.
Opening the meet with the 200 medley relay, AFA `A' placed third and was made up of Cole McAnany, Derek Brecht, Joey Gebhart and Michael Hannigan (1:30.38). AFA `B' relay was fourth in a time of 1:32.58 (Daniel Keith, Zach Nelson, Jack Ayres, and Lars Knutson) and AFA `C' relay was fifth in 1:35.91 (Ben Settle, Andrew Weiss, Kyle Bundesmann, and Thomas Durocher).
As far as determining the four fastest swimmers in each stroke, Steffen Mount held on for a third-place finish in the 50 butterfly (22.04) in his third and final round. The 50 backstroke finals contained McAnany (22.34) for second and Gebhart (22.92) rounding out the top four. Nelson earned second in the 50 breast in 26.01, Brendan Richichi was third in 26.34, and Brecht took a close fourth in 26.49. In the final round of the 50 freestyle, Mount was third in 20.31.
Scoring for the Falcons in the 200 free, Ben Brockman (1:41.36) was fourth, Garrett Glaudini (1:43.09) was fifth, and in sixth place was Erik Orr (1:44.44). Peter Lochmaier claimed third place in the 500 free (4:38.79) with Brockman in fourth (4:39.19) and Glaudini in sixth (4:41.18). In the final individual race of the night, Nelson (1:52.89), Kyle Bundesmann (1:53.18), and Lochmaier (1:56.05) took second, third, and sixth places in the 200 IM.
The Falcons ended the meet with a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle `A' relay consisting of Mount, McAnany, Knutson, and Hannigan, missing a new school record by half a second (1:20.00). Placing fourth was AFA `B' relay with Gebhart, Orr, Keith, and Ayers, who swam the race in 1:25.49.
"Despite the score, we competed really well today," according to head coach Rob Clayton. "Denver is an outstanding team and with all the races tight, we came out on the short end today. Overall, it was a step forward for us. We need to work on racing details as we head into our taper and we will sharpen ourselves in preparation for WAC."
The men will spend the next three weeks at home to prepare to defend their title for a third time at the 2018 Western Athletic Championships in Houston, Texas from February 21-24.