May 25, 2004
Rebuilding was the main goal for the 2003-04 New Mexico Lobo women's swimming and diving team. With a large freshman class (13), nine sophomores, five juniors and only three seniors at the helm, the young squad went into the regular season looking to gain more experience in collegiate competitions.
UNM Head Coach Bill Spahn knew the schedule of dual meets and invites would be a tough challenge for the new team, but Spahn, who is in his 23rd year at UNM, also knew that stiff competition would help form a solid group of athletes for the future. With Spahn's track record for success, the future looks bright. The 37-year coach has brought huge amounts of success to the UNM program, including a Western Athletic Conference Championship in 1986, runner-up status in 1990 and 1993, and four WAC Coach of the Year honors. Most notable is during Spahn's tenure, a Lobo swimmer has been crowned WAC champion 54 times and has earned All-American status 12 times. This season, four Lobo swimmers and two divers were named to all-Mountain West Conference teams for their efforts at the conference championships in Oklahoma City, Okla.
During the 2003-04 campaign, the young squad powered its way through a relentless schedule of road meets. UNM also held its own at the 2004 MWC Championship, keeping its fifth-place spot from the previous season. Overall, the Lobos finished the season 1-8 (0-5 MWC), but ended the season with several notable accomplishments by several young hopefuls.
On the freshman front this season, true potential were shown through the performances by Crystal Weiland, Jessica Brown, Corinne Ellis and Jenna Syverson. Weiland an Albuquerque product, proved to be one of UNM's top swimmers in the backstroke events. During the regular season, she held Lobo top-times in the 100 and 200 back and also held a top time in the 100 fly. Fellow Albuquerque native, Brown also turned out to be a versatile swimmer for New Mexico. The UNM freshman captured the Lobo top-time in the 100 breaststroke at the MWC Championships, four seconds away from breaking the record set by Willa Bostock in 1997. She also ranked among other Lobo swimmers for top-times in the 200 breaststroke and 200 IM. Ellis and Syverson also found themselves on the list for Lobo top-times. Ellis had top-times in the 1650 free, 200 breast, 200 IM and the 400 IM while Syverson made her mark in the 50 and 100 free. At the MWC Championships, Brown, Ellis and Syverson helped three of the four relay teams break school records. Brown and Syverson swam in the 200 medley relay and aided the team in breaking the school record (1:47.61) with a time of 1:47.17. Syverson also helped the 400 free relay team break the school record (3:32.06) with a time of 3:29.47 while Ellis helped the 800 free relay team swim to a final time of 7:33.61, slashing the previous record of 7:37.46.
Veterans, sophomore Robyn Miller, junior Nicole Overeem, sophomore Kelsey Leckovic, junior Aimee Dunavant and senior Heather DiLuzio kept a consistent flow of competitiveness in the pool this year. Miller remained as UNM's No. 1 swimmer in the fast lane, breaking school records in the 200 butterfly and the 400 IM at the MWC Championships. Overeem, who holds school records in the 1000 and 1650 free, continued to stay on top in her events, earning respectable times in the 1000 and 1650 free for UNM. During the season, Leckovic held Lobo top-times in the 50, 100 and 200 free while Dunavant held the Lobo top-time for the season in the 100 fly and captured the second best Lobo top- time in the 200 fly behind record-breaker Miller. As one of the three seniors of the team, DiLuzio had high expectations set on her for the season. Her experience in the pool showed as she held top-times for UNM in the 100 and 200 breaststroke.
The UNM diving squad had to adapt to a big change this season after the resignation of head diving coach Jeff DiNicola. The change seemed to have little effect on the diving team as new head coach Carlos Castillo led the talented group of divers to another stellar season. Junior Becca Barras and senior Tracey Berghian continued to be powerful forces on the boards, dominating the MWC Championships at the No. 1 and 2 spots and Barras earning a berth into the 2004 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships for the first time in her career at UNM.
LEADERS OF THE PACK
Robyn Miller * So-1L * Yountville, Calif.
* Undoubtedly UNM's top all-around swimmer * On Lobo top-times list for 200 free, 500 free, 100 breast, 200 fly and 400 IM * Broke her own school record this season in the 400 IM at the MWC Championships - new time of 4:25.42 was over two seconds faster than the time she set at the 2003 MWC Championships (4:27.06). * Broke the school record at the MWC Championships in the 200 fly- new time of 2:04.59 slashed the previous record of 2:04.92 set by Alissa Johnson in 1999 * Had four regular season times (the most for any UNM swimmer) that ranked among the top-ten best in the MWC: ninth in 200 free, third in 500 free, eighth in 200 fly and third in 400 IM * Broke NAU's pool record in the 500 free (5:04.67) and 400 IM (4:33.17)
Becca Barras * Jr-2L * Kitchener, Ontario
* Took first place in the 1-meter and platform at the 2004 MWC Championship, giving her three career MWC titles * Named to the 2004 all-MWC first team for her strong performances at the championships * Garnered Player of the Week two times * Qualified for the NCAA Diving Zones for the third time in her career at UNM * Qualified for the NCAA Championships for the first time in her career at UNM- placed in the top-25 in both the 3-meter and 1-meter springboards * Held Lobo top scores in the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform
Tracey Berghian * Sr-3L * Phoenix, Ariz.
* Strong all-around diver * Took first place in the 3-meter at the conference championships, giving her two career MWC titles * Named to the 2004 all-MWC first team for her solid showing at the championships * Named MWC Diver of the Year for the third time in her career with the Lobos * Qualified for the NCAA Diving Zones for the fourth time in her career at UNM- placed 13th in the 1-meter finals and 15th in the 3-meter finals
Whitney Thomson * So-1L * Allen, Texas
* Proved to be a versatile competitor for UNM * Set UNM top times in the 200 back, 100 fly, 200 IM and 400 IM * Held a top-MWC time: eighth in the 400 IM * Was part of the 200 medley relay team that broke the school record at the MWC Championships with a time of 1:47.17-previous record was clocked in at 1:47.61 in 1997
Crystal Weiland * Fr-HS * Albuquerque, N.M. * Strong competitor in the backstroke, butterfly and IM events * Held UNM top times in the 100 back, 200 back and 100 fly * Held eighth-place spot in MWC ranks in the 200 back
Aimee Dunavant * Jr-2L * El Paso, Texas
* Came close to breaking the school record in the 100 fly at the MWC Championship with a time of 57.34 (record: 56.58) * Held the second best time for UNM in the 200 fly with a time of 2:06.29 * Earned all-MWC second team honors for her strong finishes in the 100 and 200 fly at the MWC Championships
Kelsey Leckovic * So-1L * Burnaby, B.C.
* Master of the sprint free events * Held Lobo top times in the 50, 100 and 200 free * Earned all-MWC second team honors for her performance in the 100 free at the MWC Championships * Was part of the 800 free relay team that broke the school record at the MWC Championships with a time of 7:33.61-previous record was recorded at 7:37.46 at the 2002 MWC Championships
Corinne Ellis * Fr-HS * San Diego, Calif.
* One of the strongest freshman swimmers on the team * Held Lobo top times in the 1650 free, 200 breast, 200 IM and 400 IM * Was close to breaking Quinn Michie's 200 IM time of 2:05.09 set at the 2002 MWC Championships * Earned all-MWC second team honors for her outstanding performance in the 400 IM at the MWC Championships * Was part of the 800 free relay team that broke the shcool record at the MWC Championships
Nicole Overeem * Jr-2L * Hutchinson, Kan.
* Top performer in distance freestyle events * Holds school records in the 1000 and 1650 free * Held ninth-place spot in MWC ranks in the 1650 free * Held the Lobo top time for the 2004 season in the 1000 free and held a top time in the 1650 free
Jessica Brown * Fr-HS * Albuquerque, N.M.
* Versatile swimmer for UNM * Was close to breaking Willa Bostock's 200 breast time of 1:05.37 set in 1997. * Held Lobo top times in the 100 breast, 200 breast and 200 IM * Helped the 200 medley relay team break the school record at the MWC Championships with a time of 1:47.17-previous record was 1:47.61 set in 1997
2004 FIRST TEAM ALL-MWC
Junior Becca Barras*1-meter,3-meter,platform
Senior Tracey Berghian*1-meter,3-meter,platform
Sophomore Robyn Miller*400 IM,200 butterfly
2004 SECOND TEAM ALL-MWC
Junior Aimee Dunavant*100 butterfly,200 fly
Freshman Corinne Ellis*400 IM
Sophomore Kelsey Leckovic*100 freestyle
Sophomore Robyn Miller*500 freestyle
2004 MWC DIVER OF THE YEAR
At the championships, Berghian claimed silver in the 1-meter finals with a score of 249.45 and captured first place on the 3-meter springboard with 485.50 points. On the final day of competition, she placed second on the platform with a solid 342.90 score.
Last season, Berghian was named 2003 MWC Co-Diver of the Year with teammate Becca Barras and BYU's Kelli Einfeldt.