Air Force Swimmers Open Season at Pacific Invitational

    Junior Benjamin Gunn
    Junior Benjamin Gunn

    Oct. 14, 2009

    The Air Force men's and women's swimming teams open the 2009-10 season this weekend, Oct. 16-17, at the Pacific Invitational in Stockton, Calif. The events, which will be held at Chris Kjeldsen Pool, will begin Friday at 2:00 p.m. (PT), while Saturday's races will start at 12:00 p.m.

    The teams that are slated to compete at this weekend's invitational include the men's and women's teams from Air Force, MWC rival BYU and host Pacific, along with men's teams from Cal and Stanford and women's teams from Nevada and Oregon State.

    Scouting the Falcons...
    This weekend marks the first weekend of competition for the Air Force men's and women's swimming teams, who were picked to finish third and ninth in the Mountain West Conference this season, respectively.

    Among the leaders for the Falcon men is junior Benjamin Gunn, the defending conference champion in the 200 IM, as well as seniors Chris Morin and Sean O'Keefe. Air Force returns a total of 18 letterwinners from the 2008-09 season, while adding 12 new swimmers and two new divers to its team.

    Some of the top returners for the Air Force women this year include seniors Katelyn Hunter and Becky Gleason, both of whom rank among the top 10 all-time at the Academy in their respective events. The Falcons return 18 letterwinners from last year and welcome nine new swimmers to the squad.

    Scouting the Cougars...
    BYU, which is sending both its men's and women's teams to the Pacific Invitational, opens its season this weekend.

    The Cougar men were chosen to finish second in the Mountain West Conference this season. Among the top returners for BYU are distance swimmer John Kendrick and Vytenis Slenys, the conference runner-up in the 200 IM last season.



    Meanwhile, the BYU women were selected to capture their fourth-straight MWC title. Leading the way for the Cougars are junior Rachel Grant, a competitor at the 2009 NCAA Championships, and senior Natasha Menezes, the defending conference champion in both the 500 and 1650 freestyle events.

    Scouting the Tigers...
    The Pacific men's and women's swimming teams enter their own invitational this weekend with an 0-1 dual record. Both the men and women fell to Cal last weekend to open the 2009-10 season.

    Among the top performers for the Pacific men in the opening weekend of competition were junior Kyle Accornero and freshmen Zach Zlotoff and Jonathan Alves. Meanwhile, seniors Melissa McGhee, Devonie Migues and KC Albiston were among the leaders for the Tiger women in their loss to the Golden Bears.

    Scouting the Golden Bears...
    The Cal men's swimming team, which will be competing during Saturday's events only this weekend, currently holds a 2-0 dual record on the season. The Golden Bears have posted victories over Hawaii and Pacific.

    Two of the Bears' top swimmers to open the season are junior Guy Barnea and freshman Tom Shields, who have each won three individual events in the first two meets of the year.

    Scouting the Cardinal...
    The Stanford men's swimming team, scheduled to compete in only Saturday's events this weekend, has posted a 2-0 dual record this season, with wins over New Orleans and Hawaii.

    Among the top performers for the Cardinal so far this season is freshman Aaron Wayne, who has already won three races in his first two collegiate meets. Meanwhile, senior All-American Eugene Godsoe currently holds the nation's top 100 backstroke time.

    Scouting the Wolf Pack...
    The Nevada women's swimming team, which will compete only on Saturday this weekend, currently holds a 2-4 dual record after opening its season at the WAC Shootout last weekend. The Wolf Pack defeated Fresno State and UC Davis, while falling to Boise State, San Jose State, Hawaii and New Mexico State.

    Turning in the top performance for Nevada in the opening weekend of competition was junior Marichi Gandionco, winning the 100 butterfly and placing second in the 200 fly. Also recording top-five finishes were junior Jeannette Tour (100 back) and senior Margaret Doolittle (200 breast).

    Scouting the Beavers...
    Oregon State will open its 2009-10 season at this weekend's Pacific Invitational.

    Two of the top returners for the Beavers this year are seniors Anna Crandall and Brittney Iverson. Crandall, the school record-holder in the 50 free, competed at the NCAA Championships in 2009, while Iverson, an All-American as part of the Beavers' 800 freestyle relay team in 2007, holds OSU top-10 all-time marks in eight individual events.

    Up Next...
    Air Force opens its 2009-10 dual slate at home next weekend, Oct. 23, with a match-up versus conference foe TCU. The meet between the Falcons and Horned Frogs is slated to begin at 5:00 p.m. at the Cadet Natatorium. Meanwhile, the Air Force women will be back to host Colorado State, New Mexico and San Diego State in a conference quad meet on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 1:00 p.m.

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