Air Force Finishes Strong at MWC Championships
Feb. 27, 2010
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Posting several Academy top-10 marks, including a school record in the women's 200 butterfly, the Air Force swimming and diving teams wrapped up competition Saturday at the 2010 Mountain West Conference Championships. The Air Force men rallied to a second place finish, tallying 600.5 points in the team scoring, while the women placed ninth with 150 points. The UNLV men captured their sixth-straight conference championship, scoring 787 points, while the BYU women won their fifth-straight MWC title, registering 703 points.
In addition, Air Force's Rob Clayton was voted as the men's swimming coach of the year, while diver Kyle Van Valkenburg (Tucson, Ariz.) was named the recipient of the 2010 MWC Men's Senior Recognition Award.
Junior Benjamin Gunn (Gainesville, Ga.) wrapped up an outstanding championship meet with a second-place finish in the men's 200 backstroke. Gunn, who registered school-record marks in his first two individual races of the meet, clocked a `B' standard time of 1:46.28, just .01 behind the Falcons' school record. Gunn has posted NCAA `B' marks in all three of his individual events this week, as well as finishing in the top two in each race (including his second-straight conference title in the 200 IM).
Meanwhile, freshman Paul Young (Lakeville, Minn.) also advanced to the finals in the 200 backstroke, clocking a time of 1:48.05 in the preliminaries before finishing sixth. Young's preliminary time is the sixth-fastest in Academy history. Also scoring for the Falcons in the event was Tom Hansen (Jr., Berkeley Heights, N.J.), who placed 10th overall.
Air Force placed two swimmers in the finals of the men's 100 freestyle, led by Robert Dawson (Jr., Colorado Springs, Colo.), who took third place. Dawson's mark of 44.73 in the preliminaries ranks as the fourth-fastest in the Falcons' record book. Meanwhile, senior Chris Morin (Crown Point, Ind.), who placed eighth overall, clocked a time of 45.25 in the morning prelims, ranking eighth all-time at the Academy.
In the 1650 free, the Air Force men posted a pair of NCAA `B' standard marks, led by Corydon Butler (So., Williamsburg, Va.), who posted a career-best time of 15:31.09 to place fourth. Meanwhile, Sean O'Keefe (Sr., Lake Oswego, Ore.) placed sixth with a time of 15:34.58. Butler's time ranks as the fifth-fastest in school history.
The Falcons also added several Academy top-10 marks in the 200 breaststroke. Senior Greg Edmonds (Fairfax Station, Va.) was Air Force's top finisher in the event, placing eighth after clocking a 2:01.85 in the preliminaries. Josh Hammervold (Jr., Sugar Land, Texas) won the consolation final with a mark of 2:01.13, while Cody Deacon (So., Portland, Ore.) placed 13th overall after registering a time of 2:03.72 in the preliminaries. Hammervold and Edmonds now hold the second- and third-fastest times in school history, while Deacon ranks eighth in the Academy record books.
With a pair of finalists and a consolation finalist in the men's 200 butterfly, Air Force was able to move past BYU into second place in the team standings. Freshman J.H. Vivadelli (Richmond, Va.) was the Falcons' top performer, placing sixth after registering a career-best mark of 1:50.82 in the prelims. Meanwhile, Eric Robinson (Jr., Lakewood, Colo.) took eighth place, after posting a season-best mark of 1:50.95 in the prelims. Also scoring for Air Force in the event was Mark Hansen (Fr., Berkeley Heights, N.J.), who placed 14th overall.
The Falcons were able to clinch their second-place team finish with a strong showing in the 400 freestyle relay. Gunn, O'Keefe, Morin and Dawson combined to record an NCAA `B' standard of 2:59.86 to take third place in the race.
The Air Force women were led on Saturday by record-breaking performances in the 200 butterfly, as three Falcons surpassed the previous school record of 2:04.50. Senior Becky Gleason (Ballwin, Mo.) was the top finisher for Air Force, placing fifth with a time of 2:03.00, while Katharine Ernst (So., Folsom, Calif.) took seventh place with a mark of 2:03.54. Meanwhile, freshman Haley Holcombe (Snellville, Ga.), who came just short of a spot in the finals, won the consolation final with an Air Force record time of 2:02.85.
Freshman Katrina Castellanos (Roseville, Calif.) advanced to the consolation finals in the 200 breaststroke, finishing 15th overall. Her mark of 2:21.10 in the morning preliminaries ranks third-fastest in school history. Also reaching the consolation finals on Saturday was senior diver Chelsea Tompkins (Grand Junction, Colo.), who finished 10th on the platform with a season-best mark of 214.05.
In the women's 200 backstroke, two Air Force swimmers added Academy top-10 marks. Junior Kaeli Kluesner (Denver, Colo.), who finished 17th overall, posted the second-fastest time in school history with a mark of 2:03.65. Meanwhile, Shelby Schaefer (Fr., Roseville, Calif.), who placed 25th, clocked in at 2:09.99, which ranks 10th in the Academy record books.
Leading Air Force in the women's 100 free was sophomore Cassie Fletcher (Durham, N.C.), who posted a mark of 52.80 to place 29th overall.
Finally, the Falcons' 400 free relay team of Alison Ceranski (So., Marinette, Wis.), Lauren Delaney (So., Panama City, Fla.), Castellanos and Fletcher clocked a season-best mark of 3:32.77 to finish ninth.