by Quinn Horner
HOUTSTON, Texas -- Six Falcons earned NCAA “B” cuts on the second day of the 2018 Western Athletic Conference Championships, Thursday, Feb. 22, at the CRWC Natatorium on the campus of the University of Houston in Houston, Texas. Air Force is in fourth place with 208 points. Wyoming leads the meet (308) while UNLV is second (301) and Grand Canyon is third (208). Cal State Santa Barbara is fifth (135) and Seattle is sixth (80).
Freshman Peter Lochmaier led the Falcons to a third-place finish in the 500 free with a time of 4:23.24. Lochmaier’s time was fast enough for his first NCAA ‘B’ qualifying time standard and he became the seventh fastest 500 freestyler in Air Force history. Fellow freshman, Vinny Vivadelli, claimed 14th overall with a time of 4:34.65. In prelims, sophomore Ben Brockman achieved his NCAA “B” qualifying time and posted the fifth fastest time in school history in 4:22.91.
In the finals of the 200 individual medley, sophomore Zach Nelson swam for sixth place overall with a time of 1:49.36. Nelson now holds the eighth fastest time in school history. In prelims, senior Derek Brecht swam his event in 1:48.95, which qualified for an NCAA “B” standard, the fifth fastest 200 IM in Academy history.
With a time of 20.11, another NCAA “B” qualifying time was achieved in the finals of the 50 freestyle for sophomore Cole McAnany. McAnany broke the20-second mark in prelims with a 19.98, bettering his opportunity to swim at NCAAs and he is now the third fastest 50 freestyler in Air Force history. As the fastest sprinter in all of Academy history, junior Steffen Mount topped last year’s best time at conference by going 19.73 in prelims and once again, obtained an NCAA “B” cut for the event. Senior Lars Knutson was the third Falcon of the day to achieve an NCAA “B” cut with a time of 20.04 and became the fifth fastest swimmer ever at the Academy.
The divers competed on 1-meter springboard with senior Nicholas Piontek taking sixth place and freshman Cole Armagost earning eighth overall in finals. Earning their standings from morning performances, Erich Drollinger was 12th and Kevin Lecours took 14th.
Day 3 of the WAC Champs resumes on Friday with the 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, platform diving, and the 400 medley relay. Prelims start at 10:30 am and finals at 6 pm.