Swimming and Diving: Lobos Gear Up For First Meets Of The New Year
Albuquerque, N.M. - The Lobos are gliding into 2003 at the fourth spot in the Mountain West Conference (3-2) and have all the elements necessary to move up and bump out leader UNLV, as well as second-place Colorado State and third-seeded Utah. UNM is coming off a 137-106 dual meet win at UC-San Diego on December 20 and will play host to Conference-USA opponent Houston and MWC standard Air Force this weekend. The Lobos will take on the Cougars at noon on Friday, Jan. 10 and will engage in their first conference battle of the season on Jan. 11 at noon against the Falcons.
SUCCESS IN SAN DIEGO • After the conclusion of a week-long training trip in southern California, the Lobos took on UC-San Diego on Friday, Jan. 20.
• New Mexico finished with 137 points to the host team’s 106. Several Lobos had top performances, including senior Myra Will who won both the 100 free and 50 free and freshman Robyn Miller who grabbed the top position in the 200 free and the 500 free. Sophomore diver Becca Barras won the 1-meter and 3-meter diving events, while junior Tracey Berghian captured second in both.
• Overall, the team had eight first-place finishes out of 13 possible events.
A LOOK AT THE INDIANA INVITE (Nov. 22-24)
Myra Will had the most successful Lobo swimming performance of the day. In the 50 free she had a preliminary finish of fifth (23.63), matching her best time set to date. She went on to place seventh in the finals of the same event.
Lobo diver Becca Barras had a solid performance in the cherry and silver on the first day of the meet. She placed third on the 1-meter with a preliminary score of 271.60. Barras placed even higher on the 3-meter springboard, grabbing fourth place with 459.10 points in the preliminaries and scored 451.65 in the finals later that day.
Miller lead the Lobos with a tenth place finish overall in the 400 IM on the second day. Her preliminary time of 4:31.89 left her in 12th place, but in the finals Miller set a time of 4:28.04, bettering her first time by almost four seconds to give her the tenth spot.
Will and freshman Miller had impressive performances on the third day of the Indiana Invite. The two concluded the meet with top times in the championship finals of their events. Will earned ninth place in the 100 free with a final time of 52.50. Miller's time of 2:08.70 in the 200 back finals was good enough to give the Lobo newcomer 15th place among a group of talented swimmers.
On the platform, divers Barras and Tracey Berghian fared well despite being at a disadvantage in relation to the other competitors. The UNM diving facilities at the Seidler Natatorium do not include a platform for Lobo divers to practice on, so instead they gain experience at every meet at which they compete
Barras had the top Lobo score on the platform with 336.80 points, giving her seventh place. Berghian finished in tenth with a score of 296.75.
Houston Cougars • The Cougars finished fourth in the Conference USA ranks last season behind Cincinnati, East Carolina and TCU.
• By Friday, Houston will have had more than a month off from competition. The last time the Cougars took to the pool was on December 7th at the Texas Invitational. There, the squad placed eighth out of 13 teams.
• The Cougars have won only two of their seven meets so far this season, defeating North Texas and Louisiana-Monroe.
• Senior All-American diver Yulia Pakhalina is the 2002 NCAA National Champion on the 3-meter springboard and earned second-place on the 1-meter board last year at the NCAAs.
• Pakhalina recently dove to her 48th career victory at Houston. Of her last 50 dives, she has only missed out on two first-place finishes.
Air Force Falcons (11-3, 0-1 MWC) • UNM looks to continue its reign over Air Force. Last year the Lobos defeated the Falcons in Colorado Springs, 74-65
• Air Force finished last season at the fifth spot in the MWC, just ahead of New Mexico who finished sixth.
• The Falcons had a strong first-half of the season, beating New Mexico State, Denver, North Texas and Western Kentucky at the Sun Belt Classic. The team has also beaten North Dakota State and Colorado College.
• Two of AFA’s three losses have been on the road at San Diego State and San Diego. AFA conceded their first home defeat of the season on Nov. 2 vs. Colorado State.
• Air Force lost last season's MWC Diver of the Year and top Falcon performer, Sarah Law, to graduation in 2002. Returning to the squad is sophomore Jessica Williams who was the MWC Platform Champion in 2002 and will challenge for top spots in all three diving events this season.
Becca Barras • So-1L • Kitchener, Ontario
UNM sophomore diver Becca Barras has garnered three Diver of the Week honors (Oct. 31, Nov. 15 and Nov. 27) after performances at the UNLV dual meet on Oct. 6, the Lobos’ two home meets Nov. 7 and Nov. 8-9 as well as the Indiana Invite Nov. 22-24. The scores Barras put up at the UNLV meet were good enough to give her two firsts in the 1-meter and 3-meter events as well as a berth into the Diving Zones, March 13-15 in Oklahoma City, Okla. Barras’ performances Nov. 7, 8, 9, helped UNM capture its first-ever win over four-time MWC Champions, BYU, as well as accumulate points in the third place Lobo Invitational finish. Her final honor came at the stiffly competitive Indiana Invite. The meet featured numerous top-25 teams including Clemson, Arkansas, Tennessee and Indiana. The sophomore placed third on the 1-meter springboard and fourth on the 3-meter there, proving that she could compete with some of the top divers in the nation.
Robyn Miller • Fr-HS • Yountville, Calif.
Miller made history on Nov. 23 when she broke the UNM school record in the 400 IM at the Indiana Invite in Bloomington, Ind. The freshman swam the event in an incredible 4:28.04, slashing the previous record of 4:30.24 set by Leslie Eide in 1998.
Miller currently holds the top time for UNM this year in the 200 free (1:53.12), 500 free (4:58.60), 200 back (2:07.96), and the 200 IM (2:11.65).