June 2, 2005
It was an unforgettable year for those connected to the swimming and diving program. Many records were set, awards were won, and the leadership of head coach Bill Spahn came to an end.
Just prior to the start of the season in October, Spahn announced that this season, his 24th, would be his last at New Mexico. Spahn, who guided the Lobos to Western Athletic Conference Championships in 1986 and 1990, won Coach of the Year honors four times and produced 12 All-American swimmers, wasted no time in preparing the program for a future without him.
Spahn brought in assistant coach Tracy Ljone, who made an immediate impact on the athletes with her friendly and hard-working nature. Ljone inspired the women to train harder than ever before and her rapport with the team led to the head coaching position following Spahn's retirement. Shortly after Ljone, former Olympian Abel Sanchez, an All-American diver from the Univ. of Michigan, joined the staff and rejuvenated the divers, reaching levels the program had never seen before.
Senior Becca Barras contributed extensively in making it a memorable year for the program. Barras became the University of New Mexico's first-ever women's diving All-American, placing 15th with a score of 265.15 on the 1-meter springboard at the NCAA Championships. She also competed on the 3-meter board and platform, finishing 19th and 23rd after turning in a score of 457.20 and 346.40 points, respectively. Barras was just three points from a 16th-place finish on the 3-meter board and her second All-America honor.
Barras' final collegiate season also saw her recognized on the all-MWC first team thanks to her gold medals on the 1-meter board and platform and a silver medal on the 3-meter board. She was honored with the Co-Diver of the Year award and Senior Recognition Award by the MWC. Barras, a four-time all-conference performer on all three boards, won the MWC Co-diver of the Year award for the second time in her career. She won the MWC Diver of the Week award 16 times over her career, including four consecutive times as a senior, getting the award more times than any other athlete in any sport in the MWC's history.
Senior Nicole Overeem was the recipient of the MWC Sportsmanship Award and the 2004 Leslie Self Inspirational Award. Overeem was the first Lobo to receive the sportsmanship award from the MWC and the second swimmer to earn the inspirational award.
New Mexico also had five placed on the all-conference first team and eight on the second team. Junior Robyn Miller was placed on the first team for her finishes in the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard butterfly, 400-yard individual medley and 400-yard free relay. She also qualified for the second team as a member of the 800-yard free relay team. Overall, Miller won three silver and two bronze medals, breaking five Lobo records. Barras was also recognized on the first team thanks to her performances on the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform dives.
Junior Kelsey Leckovic, sophomore Jenna Syverson and freshman Tori Clarridge also made the first team because of their contribution to the 400-yard free relay team that finished second and set a new UNM record. Clarridge, senior Aimee Dunavant, junior Whitney Thomson and freshman Carrie Quinn were honored on the all-conference second team. Clarridge took fourth in the 100-yard free, Dunavant placed fourth in the 200-yard fly, Thomson took eighth in the 400-yard IM, and Quinn had top-8 finishes on the 1-meter, 3-meter and platform.
Leckovic, sophomore Jen Hale and freshman Andrea Zarins also made the all-conference second team because of their performance in the 800-yard free relay. The team earned bronze medals and set a new UNM record.
The Lobos show great promise for the 2005-06 season with a young and talented coaching staff in place and the return of 20 lettermen, including four highly touted seniors. Coming off an emotional season that ended with lots of success, the Lobos expect the momentum to carry them into the future as they prepare to take the program to new levels.
NEW TOP-TIMES SET IN 2004-05
200-yard freestyle, Robyn Miller, Feb. 24, 1:05.52
500-yard freestyle, Robyn Miller, Feb. 24, 4:54.70
200-yard butterfly, Robyn Miller, Feb. 26, 2:04.07
400-yard individual medley, Robyn Miller, Feb. 25, 4:22.50
200-yard freestyle relay, Jenna Syverson, Kelsey Leckovic, Robyn Miller, Tori Clarridge, Feb. 24, 1:35.28
400-yard freestyle relay, Tori Clarridge, Kelsey Leckovic, Robyn Miller, Jenna Syverson, Feb. 26, 3:26.47
800-yard freestyle relay, Robyn Miller, Kelsey Leckovic, Andrea Zarins, Jen Hale, Feb. 23, 7:29.42
200-yard medley relay, Tori Clarridge, Rachel Evans, Aimee Dunavant, Jenna Syverson, Feb. 23, 1:46.23
AWARDS RECEIVED IN 2004-05
All-American, Becca Barras
MWC Co-Diver of the Year, Becca Barras
MWC Senior Recognition Award, Becca Barras
MWC Sportsmanship Award, Nicole Overeem
Leslie Self Inspirational Award, Nicole Overeem
MWC Platform Champion, Becca Barras
MWC 1-meter Springboard Champion, Becca Barras
All-MWC First team, Becca Barras
All-MWC First team, Tori Clarridge
All-MWC First team, Kelsey Leckovic
All-MWC First team, Robyn Miller
All-MWC First team, Jenna Syverson
All-MWC Second team, Tori Clarridge
All-MWC Second team, Aimee Dunavant
All-MWC Second team, Jen Hale
All-MWC Second team, Kelsey Leckovic
All-MWC Second team, Robyn Miller
All-MWC Second team, Carrie Quinn
All-MWC Second team, Whitney Thomson
All-MWC Second team, Andrea Zarins
MWC Swimmer of the Week - Jan. 26, Robyn Miller
MWC Diver of the Week - Feb. 10, Becca Barras
MWC Diver of the Week - Feb. 2, Becca Barras
MWC Diver of the Week - Jan. 26, Becca Barras
MWC Diver of the Week - Jan. 19, Becca Barras
MWC Diver of the Week - Dec. 8, Becca Barras
MWC Diver of the Week - Nov. 11, Becca Barras
MWC Diver of the Week - Oct. 28, Becca Barras
TOP 10 PERFORMANCES IN MWC (EXCLUDING MWC CHAMPIONSHIPS)
1st - Becca Barras, 1-meter (311.10, Jan. 29)
1st - Becca Barras, 3-meter (506.20, Feb. 5)
1st - Becca Barras, Platform (366.85, Feb. 5)
2nd - Robyn Miller, 200-yard free (1:52.03, Jan. 15)
2nd - Robyn Miller, 400-yard IM (4:27.14, Nov. 19)
2nd - Carrie Quinn, 3-meter (469.85, Feb. 5)
2nd - Carrie Quinn, Platform (327.80, Dec. 5)
3rd - 800-yard Free Relay team (7:38.77, Nov. 19)
3rd - Tori Clarridge, 100-yard back (57.97, Nov. 19)
3rd - Robyn Miller, 200-yard fly (2:05.91, Nov. 20)
3rd - Carrie Quinn, 1-meter (286.20, Jan. 29)
4th - Tori Clarridge, 100-yard free (52.15, Nov. 20)
5th - Robyn Miller, 500-yard free (4:58.03, Nov. 18)
5th - Robyn Miller, 1,000-yard free (10:24.70, Nov. 3)
6th - 400-yard Free Relay team (3:34.15, Oct. 22)
7th - 200-yard Free Relay team (1:37.40, Nov. 18)
7th - Joanna Garcia, Platform (203.60, Feb. 5)
T-7th - Jenna Syverson, 50-yard free (24.28, Jan. 29)
8th - 200-yard Medley Relay team (1:49.64, Jan. 22)
10th - Tori Clarridge, 50-yard free (24.40, Nov. 18)
10th - Aimee Dunavant, 100-yard fly (58.35, Nov. 19)