SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – New Mexico wraps up the fourth and last day of the 2014 Swimming and Diving MW Championships with a final score of 303 points to take fifth place in this season’s conference standings.
Boise State finished at the top of the team rankings with a first place title (735 points), San Diego State claimed second for the fourth year in a row (633.5 points), and Nevada took third place (507 points).
University of New Mexico senior diver Megan Haper scored her team's first victory Thursday at the 2014 Mountain West Swimming and Diving Champinships, winning the 3-meter springboard competition.
Harper, who scored 337.20 points to outlast Nevada's En-tien Huang by 6.18 points, brings the trophy back to UNM after a year's absence. Ashley Erickson won the event for UNM in 2012.
On the final day, UNM began event 15 with a third place finish as four-year swimmer Monica Dudley clocked in at 16.33.61 in the 1650-yard freestyle.
Four Lobos competed next in the 200-yard backstroke. In the A-finals, Caitlin Gardiner and Kaela McKee placed in the top eight of the event touching the wall with a time of 1:58.38 and 1:59.07, respectively. Junior swimmers, Sarah Weihi clocked in at 2:03.81 and Amber Amr raced at 2:04.07, both were in the C-finals.
The Lobos moved onto the C-finals of the 100-yard freestyle with Anna Lilliestrom and Heidi Zeiger. Lilliestrom moved up from 37th-place in the prelims and took 23rd-place at 52.43. Zeiger made a similar trend and moved up from a 41st-place prelim spot and was right behind finishing for a final 24th-place at 52.54.
The 200-yard breaststroke saw Lindsey Englestead racing in the B-finals. Ashley Blanchette and Kristin Walker were in the C-finals of the same event. Englestead finished with a time of 2:17.01. Blanchette and Walker came in at 2:19.19 and 2:21.58, respectively.
Anna Lengyel, Samantha Moss, and Abigail Wheeler hit the water next competing in the 200-yard butterfly.
Lengyel came in for 12th-place, a slight drop from her 11th-place for prelims, in the B-finals with a time of 2:01.95. Moss followed with a 16th-place final finish at 2:05.59. In the C-finals, Wheeler came in for a 23rd-place title clocking in at 2:06.42.
Megan Harper represented the Lobos in the 20th event of the day placing eleventh in the platform diving. She collected a final score of 210.06 points.
The final event of the four-day competition and this season’s MW Championships was the 400-yard freestyle relay. UNM’s team of sophomores, Shayla King and April Chee, and seniors, Monica Dudley and Jorgi Hobson, placed in the top eight of the event with a seventh-place title at 3:22.88.
New Mexico’s Swimming and Diving program made an excellent show out this season. They made recognizing improvement from previous years as the team broke their two consecutive season streak of placing sixth place.
(Two years ago- 285 points, one year ago- 296 points)
Head Coach Kunio Kono says at the completion of the competition, "I didn't keep track of how many people swam in the final sessions but we had many swimmers and divers who made the final sessions and competed very well. We had a few top 3 finishers and a lot of top 16 finishers. This is my 2nd year and I don't think the UNM Swimming and Diving team has had a 5th place finish for more than a decade. We have also never beat UNLV until this year. Lastly we had 17 school records during the championship meet."
"This is the best outcome ever for UNM Swimming and Diving history. I am so proud of our swimmers, diver, and staff. All of our hard work was paid off with outstanding performances," includes Kono.
The Lobos will have some break from competition but will start back up again for the NCAA Diving Zones in Colorado Springs, Colo. on March 13.