Swimming and Diving: Lobos-Utes: Showdown in the Pool
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- The Lobos gear up for their third consecutive home dual-meet this weekend with a conference contest against the visiting Utes of Utah. Meet time is set for 1 p.m. at the Seidler Natatorium in Albuquerque and the Lobos hope to improve upon their remarkable 7-2, 4-2 MWC record by knocking off their fifth MWC team this year.
•Last year, the Lobos lost to Utah by a disappointing score of 134-99 in Salt Lake City.
•Utah’s record currently stands at 7-6 (2-1 MWC) which puts them in third spot, just ahead of New Mexico.
•The Utes are coming off two losses to Pac-10 powerhouses, Washington and Oregon State last weekend. The team fell 125-90 to the Cougars and lost by a close 148-134 to the Beavers.
•Utah is being led by Marta Stepanczuk, Neringa Statkeviciute and Loren Sweny. Stepanczuk’s times in the 500 and 1000 free this season have already put her on the all-time list at Utah. Statkevicuite and Sweny combined for five wins vs. their Pac-10 opponents last weekend.
LAST WEEKEND VS. HOUSTON
•The UNM swimming and diving team blew Conference-USA opponent Houston out of the water on Jan. 10 by winning nine of the eleven events at the dual-meet and finishing with a score of 142 to the Cougars’ 101.
•Robyn Miller continued to swim away from the pack, as she won the 200 free and 200 back in times of 1:55.07 and 2:07.75 respectively. Her time in the 200 back was a personal best for the freshman this season.
•Aimee Dunavant, a mainstay in the sprint events, won the 200 fly in a time of 2:11.80, over five seconds faster than the second-place finisher from Houston. She also claimed the first-place spot in the 200 IM ( 2:15.11).
•Four other Lobos also captured top spots in their respective events. Sophomore Nicole Overeem was victorious in her best event, the 1650 free (18:04.28), and was second in the 500 free with a time of 5:18.46. Myra Will displayed her talent for the short distance events by winning the 50 free (24.06) and claiming second in the 100 free (54.74). Kelsey Leckovic finished just ahead of Will in the 100 free with a winning time of 54.46.
• Junior Heather DiLuzio was dynamite in the breaststroke, winning the event in 2:26.20.
• UNM divers were up against stiff competition vs. Houston, most notably from senior All-American Yulia Pakhalina who was last year’s NCAA champion on the 3-meter springboard and runner up on the 1-meter. Pakhalina led the pack in both events, winning the 3-meter with a score of 378.52 and the 1-meter with 247.40 points. Lobos Becca Barras and Kaley Knafelc held their own, finishing fourth and fifth respectively in both events. Barras finished the 3-meter event with 250.96 points, falling just short of third place to Houston’s Veronica Smith, and had a score of 235.80 on the 1-meter. Knafelc scored 214.65 points on the 3-meter and 186.67 points on the 1-meter.
DOWNING AIR FORCE
• The Lobos won an important conference battle on Jan. 11 vs. Air Force. UNM topped the Falcons, 162-135, with seven different Lobo victories in the dual-meet competition.
• Becca Barras controlled the flow in both the 1-meter and 3-meter springboard events. She won the 1-meter with a personal best score of 280.42, almost 50 points ahead of teammate and second-place finisher Tracey Berghian and 75 points ahead of Air Force’s top finisher, Jessica Williams. Barras and Berghian proved again, on the 3-meter board, that they were head and shoulders above the competition. Barras scored 293.41 points for a first-place spot, while Berghian was close behind with 259.13 points.
• Myra Will came out in her usual fashion, winning both sprint free events handily. She bettered her second place time in the 100 free from yesterday’s meet against Houston, clocking in at 53:36 for the win. She also led the group in the 50 free with a time of 24.07, just over a second better than second-place finisher and teammate Kelsey Leckovic. Leckovic also finished behind Will in the 100 free with a time of 54.17.
• Robyn Miller had another outstanding performance with wins in the 200 back and 200 free. Miller won the 200 back, recording a time of 2:10.83, a good three seconds ahead of runner-up Emily Heidgerd of AFA who swam the race in 2:13.16. In the 200 free, Miller again beat her closest opponent solidly. She had a time of 1:55.11 in the race and finished just under five seconds faster than Falcon Sarah Thilo (2:00.05).
• Freshman Whitney Thomson made her mark on the scoreboard grabbing first place in the 100 back with a time of 1:01.33.
• The distance, fly and breast events were also Lobo-dominated. Nicole Overeem completed the 1000 free in 10:44.39 which was good enough for first place while Heather DiLuzio clinched first in both the 100 breast (1:08.66) and the 200 breast (2:28.00). Sophomore fly specialist, Aimee Dunavant, was the winner in the 200 fly, finishing in 2:11.29 and earned second-place in the 100 fly (59.83).
TWO LOBO FIRSTS
Freshman swimmer Robyn Miller garnered Mountain West Conference Swimmer of the Week honors this week for the first time in her career. The honor was also the first for the Lobo women’s swimming team this season.
The backstroke and freestyle specialist helped lead the Lobos to a pair of dual-meet victories at home last weekend, contributing four individual wins and two more in the relays. New Mexico (7-2, 4-2 MWC) defeated Houston 142-101 and got a crucial win over conference opponent Air Force, 162-135 at the Seidler Natatorium in Albuquerque.
On Friday, Jan. 10, Miller captured the top spot in both the 200 free (1:55.07) and the 200 back (2:07.75). The time she set in the 200 back that day was a new personal best for the Yountville, Calif. native.
Miller’s results on Saturday, Jan. 11 were equally impressive. Her first-place time in the 200 free (1:55.11) was almost five seconds faster than the time set by her closest opponent. In the 200 back, Miller dominated again, grabbing first place with a time of 2:10.83 which was over three seconds faster than the second-place finisher.
Becca Barras • So-1L • Kitchener, Ont.
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 previousrecord 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).