March 2, 2009
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A total of 13 members of the Air Force men's and women's swimming and diving teams were named All-Mountain West Conference selections, as announced by the league Monday afternoon. The all-conference honorees for the Falcons included 10 individuals and four relays. To be placed on the All-MWC team, an individual must place in the top six of an event for men and the top eight for women. For the relays, the all-conference team consists of the top three finishers in each race for both men and women.
Diver David Arlington (Eagle River, Alaska) earned all-conference honors in the men's 1-meter springboard. Arlington, an all-conference honoree at 1-meter in 2007, finished fifth in the event with a score of 290.55.
Junior Justin Day (Peyton, Colo.) turned in All-MWC performances in both the men's 100 breaststroke and 200 breaststroke events. Day finished third in the 100 breast for the second-straight season, turning in a school record and NCAA `B' standard time of 53.87. Meanwhile, Day placed sixth in the 200 breast after posting a preliminary mark of 2:02.46, which ranks third in Air Force history.
Senior captain Nick Dixon (Canton, Mich.) picked up the first all-conference honors of his career, finishing sixth in the 400 IM. His mark of 4::00.33 in the event was a personal-best.
Sophomore Benjamin Gunn (Gainesville, Ga.) was an All-MWC performer in three individual events, the men's 200 IM, 100 butterfly and 200 butterfly, setting new school records in all three events. Gunn captured the title in the 200 IM, clocking an NCAA `B' mark of 1:47.52, besting the previous Air Force record by more than a second. He also earned all-conference honors in both the 100 and 200 butterfly events for the second-straight season, finishing fourth in the 200 fly with a school-record NCAA provisional mark of 1:46.40, while taking sixth in the 100 fly after turning in a preliminary mark of 47.83.
Sophomore Tom Hansen (Berkeley Heights, N.J.) earned the first all-conference honors of his career, finishing fifth in the 500 free and sixth in the 200 backstroke. Hansen's preliminary mark of 4:26.70 in the 500 free puts him in fourth place in the Air Force record books in the event, while he now ranks fifth all-time at the Academy in the 200 back with a mark of 1:48.49.
Senior captain Jane Hwang (Irvine, Calif.), the recipient of the conference's Senior Recognition Award, earned all-conference honors in the women's 100 and 200 freestyle events for the third consecutive season, setting school records in both events. Hwang, who also posted a school-record mark of 2:04.15 in the 200 IM, registered her best-ever MWC finish in the 200 free, placing fifth with a time of 1:49.39. She also finishing eighth in the 100 free, after swimming a preliminary time of 51.07.
Junior Sean O'Keefe (Lake Oswego, Ore.) earned all-conference honors in the 200, 500 and 1650 freestyle events for the second-straight season. With personal-best marks in all three events, O'Keefe registered a pair of third-place performances, his best-ever MWC finishes, in both the 200 and 500 free. He notched a mark of 1:37.51 in the 200 free, while clocking in at 4:24.80 in the 500 free. In addition, O'Keefe took fifth place in the 1650 free with a time of 15:24.41. O'Keefe's marks rank third all-time at the Academy in both the 500 and 1650 free and fourth in the 200 free.
Junior diver Chelsea Tompkins (Grand Junction, Colo.) picked up the first all-conference honors of her career in the women's platform dive, placing sixth with a score of 208.15 in the finals.
Diver Kyle Van Valkenburg (Jr., Tucson, Ariz.) earned a pair of all-conference honors for the second-straight season, winning the platform dive while placing fifth in the men's 3-meter springboard event. The defending conference champion in the platform dive, Van Valkenburg scored a career-best 347.20 in the event. Meanwhile, he turned in a score of 316.60 at 3-meters.
Senior Kai Yamashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii) also took All-MWC honors in both the men's 100 and 200 backstroke events for a second-straight season. Yamashiro was the runner-up in the 200 back, with a time of 1:46.44, while tying for sixth place with a mark of 49.47 in the 100 back. Yamashiro now ranks second in the Air Force record books in both events.
The men also grabbed all-conference recognition in the 400 freestyle relay, 800 freestyle relay, 200 medley relay and 400 medley relay, posting school records in each of the four events. Hansen, O'Keefe, Eric Robinson (So., Lakewood, Colo.) and Gunn recorded an NCAA provisional mark of 6:32.32 in the 800 free relay to place second, while the 400 medley relay team of Yamashiro, Day, Gunn and Robert Dawson (So., Colorado Springs, Colo.) also finished second with a time of 3:15.01. In addition, both the 200 medley relay team and the 400 free relay team finished third. The 200 medley relay team of Yamashiro, Day, Chris Morin (Jr., Crown Point, Ind.) and Dawson registered a mark of 1:28.68, while the 400 free relay team of Morin, O'Keefe, Gunn and Dawson posted a time of 2:58.63.
The Air Force men finished second at this year's Mountain West Conference Championships, its best finish since the 2004 season, while the women took ninth place overall.