Falcons Wrap Up Day Three at MWC Championships
Feb. 29, 2008
Oklahoma City, Okla. - Led by sophomore Kyle Van Valkenburg's title in the platform dive, the Air Force men's and women's swimming and diving teams ended the third day of competition Friday at the 2008 Mountain West Conference Championships, being held in Oklahoma City, Okla. The men moved ahead of TCU into fourth place with 393 points, while the women currently are in ninth place with 97 points. UNLV leads the men's competition, while BYU is in first place on the women's side.
Van Valkenburg, a native of Tucson, Ariz., grabbed first place in the platform dive with a score of 323.85, more than 38 points ahead of the nearest competitor. Air Force divers have now won the last three conference titles in the men's platform, with former Falcon Brady Lindberg winning back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007. All four of Air Force's divers placed in the top 10 in the event, as David Arlington (So., Eagle River, Alaska) took fifth place, followed by Nathan Glandon (Sr., Abilene, Texas) in seventh place and Randy Rogers (Jr., Fort Worth, Texas) in ninth place.
In the 500 free, junior Bryan Avery (Mililani, Hawaii) finished as the runner-up for the second-straight season with NCAA B standard time of 1:37.22. Avery's mark in the event, a personal-best, moves him into second place all-time at the Academy. Meanwhile, sophomore Sean O'Keefe (Lake Oswego, Ore.) also reached the finals in the event, finishing sixth after recording a personal-best mark of 1:39.10 in the preliminaries. O'Keefe's time ranks fourth all-time in the Air Force record books. Also scoring for the Falcons was freshman Eric Robinson (Lakewood, Colo.), who finished 15th overall.
Junior Justin Day (Peyton, Colo.) brought home a third-place finish in the 100 breaststroke, registering a mark of 55.43. His career-best time in the event moves him into third-place on the Academy's all-time list. Meanwhile, sophomores Chris Morin (Crown Point, Ind.) and Greg Edmonds (Fairfax Station, Va.), who both advanced to the consolation finals, also moved onto the Air Force top 10 list. Morin, who finished 12th, clocked in at 57.12, ranking ninth in the Falcons' record books, while Edmonds now sits in 10th place with his preliminary mark of 57.32.
Senior Spencer Liedl (Neenah, Wis.) was the Falcons' top finisher in the men's 400 IM, finishing fourth with a season-best time of 4:00.02. Meanwhile, junior Nick Dixon (Canton, Mich.) also turned in a top time in the event, recording a mark of 4:02.56 in the preliminaries before finishing 14th.
A pair of Air Force swimmers moved into the Academy record books in the men's 100 butterfly, as freshman Benjamin Gunn (Gainesville, Ga.) and sophomore Chris Morin (Crown Point, Ind.) finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the event. Gunn's mark of 49.11 in the finals ranks third all-time at the Academy, while Morin, who clocked in just one one-hundredth of a second later at 49.12, takes over the number-four spot in the Air Force record books.
In the men's 100 backstroke, junior Kai Yamashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii) finished sixth after recording a career-best mark of 50.25 in the preliminaries. With the time, Yamashiro moves up to fourth place on Air Force's top 10 list. Meanwhile, Liedl, who finished 12th, also moved in the Academy's top 10. His mark of 50.89 in the preliminaries ranks seventh all-time at Air Force.
The Falcons also recorded a season-best mark in the 400 medley relay, as Yamashiro, Day, Avery and T.J. Cowling(Sr., Newport News, Va.) clocked in at 3:18.55, finishing third.
For the women, junior Jane Hwang (Irvine, Calif.) advanced to the finals in the 200 free for the second-straight season. Clocking in with a season-best mark of 1:51.18, just over a tenth of a second off her school-record time, Hwang finished seventh in the event. Meanwhile, in the 400 IM, freshman Kaeli Kluesner (Denver, Colo.) moved into ninth place on the Academy's top 10 list with a mark of 4:36.14.
Finally, in the 400 medley relay, Katelyn Hunter (So., La Crescent, Minn.), Hwang, Jessica Rodgers (Fr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Kelly Grabarek (Fr., Laguna Niguel, Calif.) clocked a season-best mark of 3:58.96.
The final day of competition starts tomorrow, March 1, beginning with the men's 200 backstroke at 10:00 a.m. (CT).