Jan. 27, 2005
FINAL FAREWELL: Shortly before the start of the 2004-05 season, head coach Bill Spahn announced this season would be his last. Coaching pool-side has become a way of life for the UNM swimming and diving team's biggest fish. A fixture in the local and regional swimming community, head coach Bill Spahn is in his 37th year of coaching, and his 24th season as the mentor of the New Mexico swim program. He coached the Lobos to a Western Athletic Conference Championship in 1986, making the University of New Mexico one of only four teams in the WAC to win a championship in the last 14 years. Spahn also led the Lobos to runner-up status in 1990 and 1993. His ability to consistently produce teams that were able to compete for a championship resulted in four WAC Coach-of-the-Year honors for Spahn.
During Spahn's tenure, including his stint as men's coach, a Lobo swimmer has been crowned WAC or Mountain West Conference champion 54 times. This total does not include the women's titles in the High Country Athletic Conference, UNM's conference affiliation before the WAC and MWC started women's swimming. Lobo swimmers have earned All-American status under Spahn's guidance 12 times. Last season, five Lobo swimmers and two divers were named to All-MWC teams for their efforts at the conference championships in Oklahoma City, Okla.
This Saturday will be Spahn's final meet as the leader of the Lobos in the Seidler Natatorium. The New Mexico swimming and diving teams end the regular season hosting in-state rival New Mexico State this Saturday at 1 p.m.
REGULAR SEASON ROUND-UP: New Mexico is 2-5 overall and 2-4 in the Mountain West Conference after its 165-124 win at Air Force last Saturday. Freshman Tori Clarridge led the hunt for New Mexico with two individual and one relay win. Clarridge placed first in the 100-yard backstroke (59.33) and the 100-yard freestyle (54.26). She swam the first leg of the winning 200-yard medley relay as the team, consisting of freshman Rachel Evans, senior Aimee Dunavant and sophomore Jenna Syverson, turned in a time of 1:49.64.
Junior Robyn Miller also won two individual events, taking the 200-yard butterfly (2:10.30) and 500-yard free (5:10.97). Syverson earned a first place finish after turning in a time of 24.62 in the 50-yard free. Junior Whitney Thomson took first in the 200-yard back (2:11.33) while sophomore Jen Hale grabbed the top spot in the 100-yard butterfly (1:00.13).
New Mexico State is 0-1 after a 166-116 loss at Northern Arizona. Coached by John Fedena, the Aggies are led by junior Alexandra Goransson and freshmen Carolyn Bohm and Nicolin Lillhage.
Bohm finished third at NAU in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 28.14. Her other top-three finish came two events later in event nine, the 100-meter freestyle (1:01.39).
Lillhage added two first place finishes for the Aggies. She swam the 200-meter breaststroke in a time of 3:01.20 to finish first and the 100-meter butterfly in a time of 1:08.31.
Goransson finished second in the 100-meter breaststroke in a time of 1:17.12. Sophomore Ilka Baur added a second, a third and a first place finish (100-meter backstroke, 1:08.73; 200-meter backstroke, 2:33.22; 200-meter individual medley, 2:32.26), while Megan Woodworth had the final first place finish for the Aggies (200-meter freestyle, 4:41.92), adding a fourth place finish (200-meter butterfly, 2:41.48).
TOTAL DOMINATION: New Mexico junior Robyn Miller and senior Becca Barras have been named Mountain West Conference Women's Swimmer and Diver of the Week, respectively. Miller is a two-time award winner, while Barras is a 13-time recipient.
Miller, a Yountville, Calif., native, won a pair of individual events and helped the UNM 200-yard medley relay team to a third place finish vs. Air Force in the Lobos' conference dual meet victory last week. She won the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:10.30 and followed with a victory in the 500-yard freestyle, clocking in with a time of 5:10.97. Miller also swam the second leg for the 200 medley relay squad which clocked in at 1:51.97.
Barras, a native of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, turned in a first place finish in the 3-meter springboard and a second-place finish in the 1-meter board in the Lobos conference dual meet win over Air Force. She scored 323.33 in the 3-meter for the victory and a score of 272.55 in the 1-meter. Barras holds the top point total in the 3-meter board, scoring 484.15 at the Texas Invitational earlier this season.
SWIMMING SUCCESS: Senior Becca Barras sits atop the Mountain West Conference leaderboard, holding the top scores for the 1- and 3-meter boards and platform. On the 1-meter board, Barras turned in a score of 280.95 when competing Jan. 15 vs. Utah. She scored 484.15 on the 3-meter board at the Texas Invite where she competed against the country's top divers. Finally, she is tops on the platform after scoring a whopping 33.85 points in her first time participating in that event this year.
Fellow diver, sophomore Carrie Quinn is keeping up with Barras, holding the second best scores of the season on the 3-meter board and platform. Quinn turned in scores of 409.65 and 327.80, respectively, at the Texas Invite. Just last weekend at Air Force, Quinn handed Barras her first loss of the season with a score of 278.63 on the 1-meter board.
Junior Robyn Miller also has claim to two of the second best times in the MWC. Miller has the second best time in the 200-yard butterfly (2:05.91) and 400-yard individual medley (4:27.14). She has a time of 1:53.23 in the 200-yard freestyle which is fourth but with the altitude conversion taken into affect, her time drops to 1:52.04 which would place her in second.
Freshman Tori Clarridge is having a breakout year with two of her times equaling the third best in their respective events this season. Clarridge put up a time of 52.15 in the 100-yard free and 57.97 in the 100-yard backstroke while she was competing in the Speedo Cup Invitational in Nov.
As a whole, the Lobos have shown great strength despite their record. New Mexico has at least one person in the top-10 of 15 of the 22 events the MWC keeps track of. While represented on the scoreboard 23 times, 11 placings are in the top-5. Nine different women are in the conference's top-10 as well as five four-woman relay teams.
OVEREEM HONORED: The 2003-04 Leslie Self Inspirational Award has been awarded to three recipients this year: Amanda Barnes from track and field, Cassie Chavez from softball and Nicole Overeem from swimming.
Started in 1997-98, the award is presented annually to UNM female student-athlete based on leadership, character, determination and commitment to team.
This year's recipients will be recognized before the men's basketball game on Monday, Jan. 31, against San Diego State. Presenting the award will be Randy Self.
A native of Hutchinson, Kansas, Nicole Overeem is a senior co-captain on the Lobo swim team. Despite a rare disease that affects her joints, inflicts chronic pain and requires daily injections, Overeem is the school recordholder in 1000 free and 1650 free. She is an active participant in campus activities, serving as the president of the UNM Student Lettermen's Association and as vice-president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
Carlsbad native Cassie Chavez is a junior on the Lobo softball team. After a challenging start to collegiate life, Chavez took the 2002-03 school year off as she and husband, Jeremy, celebrated the birth of their daughter, Keyannah. Since that time, Chavez has successfully juggled school, sports and parenthood. The Lobos' starting third baseman for the third straight season, Chavez led the team with eight home runs and 25 RBI last year. She also made the Honor Roll.
Also from Carlsbad, Amanda Barnes is a senior on the Lobo track team. In addition to being a three-time academic all-conference selection with a double major in applied math and biology, Barnes is a two-time Mountain West Conference outdoor champion in the shot put. She is the UNM indoor and outdoor recordholder in the shot put and the only female thrower in school history to win a conference title. And, somehow, Barnes has been able to accomplish all of this while raising her 6-year-old daughter.
Leslie Self was the wife of Randy Self, who is the former President of the Lobo Club and owner of Spectator's Sports Bar and Grille. Leslie also passed away in 1998 after a long battle with cancer.
Leslie Self Award
1997-98 Tamika Stukes - basketball
1998-99 Aimee Hites - tennis
1999-00 Nikki Heckroth - basketball
2000-01 Quinn Michie - swimming
2001-02 Kristi Larsen - golf
2002-03 Jennier Delich - skiing
2003-04 Amanda Barnes - track and field; Cassie Chavez - softball; Nicole Overeem - swimming