Air Force Concludes Third Day at MWC Championships
Feb. 26, 2010
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Posting a school record and numerous Academy top-10 marks, the Air Force swimming and diving teams wrapped up the third day of competition at the 2010 Mountain West Conference Championships. The Air Force men have moved into third place in the team standings with 423.5 points, while the women are in ninth place with 88 points. The UNLV men and BYU women continue to sit atop the team leaderboard entering the final day of competition.
Junior Benjamin Gunn (Gainesville, Ga.) led the way for the Falcons, notching his second school record in as many days. Gunn, who posted a school and conference record in winning the men's 200 IM on Thursday, clocked an NCAA `B' standard of 48.64 in the men's 100 backstroke to finish second in the event. With his mark, Gunn broke the seven-year old school record by just over a tenth of a second, and now owns a total of four individual Air Force records (200 IM, 100 back, 100 fly, 200 fly).
Also in the 100 back, freshman Paul Young (Lakeville, Minn.) finished 13th overall after posting a career-best mark of 50.97 in the preliminaries. Young's time ranks as the ninth-fastest in Academy history.
Junior Tom Hansen (Berkeley Heights, N.J.) notched his best-ever conference finish in the 400 IM, taking third place with a mark of 3:58.15. His career-best time in the event ranks as the eighth-fastest in Academy history. Meanwhile, freshmen J.H. Vivadelli (Richmond, Va.) and Mark Hansen (Berkeley Heights, N.J.) were consolation finalists in the 400 IM, placing 11th and 14th, respectively.
Four swimmers scored for Air Force in the 200 freestyle, including a pair of finalists in the event. Sean O'Keefe (Sr., Lake Oswego, Ore.) placed fourth with a time of 1:38.72, while sophomore Corydon Butler (Williamsburg, Va.) finished seventh after swimming a career-best time of 1:39.20 in the preliminaries. O'Keefe, who already holds Air Force's fourth-fastest time in the event, was joined in the Falcons' record books by Butler, who now has the sixth-fastest mark in school history.
Meanwhile, Eric Robinson (Jr., Lakewood, Colo.) and Jon Jones (Fr., Highlands Ranch, Colo.) swam in the consolation finals of the 200 free, placing 15th and 16th, respectively.
The Falcons had a pair of finalists in the men's 100 breaststroke. Senior Greg Edmonds (Fairfax Station, Va.) improved upon his best time in the event, clocking a mark of 55.76 in the finals to place sixth. Meanwhile, Cody Deacon (So., Portland, Ore.) placed eighth after swimming a career-best 55.96 in the morning's preliminaries. Those times ranks fifth and seventh, respectively, in the Air Force record books.
In the 100 butterfly, team captain Chris Morin (Sr., Crown Point, Ind.) captured fifth place, while junior Robert Dawson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) also reached the finals, placing eighth. Sophomore Nate Roesler (Hastings, Minn.) won the consolation finals, posting a career-best mark of 49.67.
Air Force also had several strong performances in the men's platform dive. Senior Kyle Van Valkenburg (Tucson, Ariz.), the two-time defending conference champion, led the way with a third-place finish. Despite not capturing his third-straight title on the platform, Van Valkenburg blew away his former career-best mark with a score of 371.80, as the top three performers in the event all surpassed the previous all-time conference record. Sophomore Jesse Bicknell (Westtown, N.Y.) placed eighth with a career-best mark of 271.65, while David Arlington (Sr., Eagle River, Alaska) and Beau Riebe (Fr., Mercer Island, Wash.) placed 11th and 16th, respectively.
The Falcons also added a second-place finish in the men's 400 medley relay, with the team of Gunn, Edmonds, Morin and Dawson recording an NCAA `B' standard mark of 3:17.05.
The top finisher for the Air Force women on Friday was sophomore Katharine Ernst (Folsom, Calif.), who placed fourth in the women's 100 butterfly, clocking a career-best mark of 56.10 in the finals. Meanwhile, freshman Haley Holcombe (Snellville, Ga.) posted her own career-best time in the event, winning the consolation finals with a mark of 55.81. Holcombe and Ernst now rank third and fourth, respectively, in the Academy record books in the 100 fly.
Two other swimmers reached the consolation finals for the Air Force women on Friday, with junior Kaeli Kluesner (Denver, Colo.) placing 13th overall in the 400 IM, while Becky Gleason (Sr., Ballwin, Mo.) took 16th place. Kluesner's time of 4:27.83 in the finals is the second-fastest mark in Academy history. Meanwhile, Gleason posted a mark of 4:31.05, more than two seconds faster than her previous career best, and ranks ninth in the Air Force record books.
The Falcons also added a pair of Academy top-10 marks in both the women's 100 breaststroke and 100 backstroke. In the 100 breast, freshman Katrina Castellanos (Roseville, Calif.), who placed 19th overall, recorded a time of 1:05.87 in the morning's preliminaries, while Rosie Mayou (Fr., Derby, Kan.) turned in a mark of 1:07.00 to finish 26th in the event. The times rank as the sixth- and 10th-fastest in Air Force history, respectively.
Meanwhile, senior captain Katelyn Hunter (La Crescent, Minn.) and Kluesner added Air Force top-10 marks in the 100 backstroke. Hunter, who already held the Academy's seventh-fastest time in the event, improved on her previous best mark, clocking in at 58.24 to finish 21st. Kluesner, who finished 22nd, moved onto the Academy top-10 list with a time of 58.47, which ranks as the eighth-fastest in school history.
Also on Friday, freshman Alexandra Trobe (Pittsford, N.Y.) was the Falcons' top performer in the women's 200 freestyle, clocking a career-best mark of 1:57.77.
Finally, in the women's 400 medley relay, the Falcons placed ninth, as the team of Hunter, Castellanos, Holcombe and Cassie Fletcher (So., Durham, N.C.) recorded a season-best mark of 3:51.66.
The MWC Championships conclude tomorrow with the preliminary heats starting at 10:00 a.m. (CT), while the finals are slated to begin at 6:15 p.m.