2002-03 Women's Swimming
Oct. 8, 2002
The vision for this season's Air Force women's swimming and diving team is to make this a foundational season. Head coach Casey Converse said that he would like for the team to be able to look back and say that this was the year that they chose to swim and dive like a championship team. "The progress we have made over the past three seasons is evidence that we are ready to turn the next corner in the development of this team," the coach said.
"We are taking the time to build a special team environment which will allow us to reach our full potential. This year in our initial team meeting we allowed ourselves to dream of a Mountain West Conference Championship."
The women's team posted its best showing ever in the Mountain West Conference with a fifth-place finish in 2002. Air Force set two new individual records and one relay record last season in the 200 freestyle, Carly Baxter (1:52.24), 200 butterfly, Lara Styles (2:05.89) and 800 freestyle relay (7:33.48). Jessica Williams and Sarah Law captured the first and second spots at the MWC championships in platform diving and Law was named MWC women's diver of the year. Law also won the three-meter diving with a score of 489.95 and successfully defended her title in the one-meter diving. Williams broke the MWC record on platform (384.55). The Falcons also saw 19 additional placements by current team members in the Academy's all-time career top 10 list during the season. "What we have experienced over the past four seasons is a steady climb within the conference, " said Converse. "We've seen a continuation of the great work ethic and we have begun to attract some top athletes to the Academy and to our team."
Looking ahead, this season's sophomore and junior classes will likely go down in history as the beginning of a new era in Air Force swimming and diving. Together, these two classes accounted for the bulk of the Academy's 618.5 point total at the 2002 conference championships.
The classes of 2004 and 05 combined for three new Falcon records at the MWC Championships. On the first night of the meet junior Carly Baxter led off the 800 freestyle relay in an Academy record split of 1:52.24. Teammates Lara Styles, Christine Cleaver and Jaymie Van Kooten finished up the new team record in 7:33.48.
"We had talked all year about setting the relay record and we were pretty confident that we could get it, " said Converse. "When Carly led off with the record in the 200 free it really set the tone for the rest of the relay and for the meet."
Lara's record in the 200 fly is a real tribute to her determination," said Converse.
"In late January we got out the film of her swim in Minnesota back in November. She must have watched it a dozen times making notes on her turns and especially her stroke count. I was really proud of her swim for that reason."
If last year's conference finish is any indication of what this year's team is capable of, then the Falcons women's swimming and diving team is well on its way to becoming a competitive machine for the 2002-03 season. Already a legitimate conference contender, Air Force will continue to progress this season, looking for its 200th win under Converse's guidance, and turn that corner and prepare itself for the next era in Falcon swimming and diving.