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UW swimmers compete amid tragedy

(via Wyoming Swimming and Diving X)

HOUSTON, Tex. — The University of Wyoming women’s swimming and diving team, a resilient group who’s competing with a heavy heart, wrapped up the Mountain West Championship on Saturday.

The program set numerous top-10 times and boasted one individual champion and one relay champion for the week along with four school records.

“Our team is struggling to comprehend the reality of losing three of our friends and teammates so suddenly,” head coach Dave Denniston said. “I am proud of the compassion and resilience of every single member of our program along with our coaching staff as we mourn the passing of Charlie Clark, Carson Muir and Luke Slabber. We appreciate the outpouring of support from the University of Wyoming community, the state of Wyoming, the coaches, athletes and members of the Mountain West Conference and swimming and diving programs throughout the nation as we try to navigate our way through this difficult time.”

Day Four Recap

Brynlee Busskohl set a new school record with her third-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke. She clocked in at 2:11.41. Sydney McKenzie also claimed a third-place finish in the B-final of the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:16.10.

The Cowgirls’ 400-yard freestyle relay team ended the night with a third-place finish. The team of Carly Palmer, Kali Franckowiak, Veronika Ozimek and Tara Joyce set a Cowgirl school record with a time of 3:19.25.

Four Cowgirls scored in the 200-yard backstroke, including Heidi Billings, who secured a sixth-place finish with a time of 1:58.18. Kayla Cunningham and Emily Giles finished as the top two swimmers in the B-final. Cunningham claimed the top spot with a time of 1:59.41, with Giles finishing closely behind in a time of 1:59.43. Tessa Bendokas sat atop the C-final with a time of 2:00.59.

Tara Joyce and Carly Palmer took third and fourth place, respectively, in the 100-yard freestyle. Joyce’s time of 48.99 moves her into second all-time among Cowgirls, while Palmer’s 49.38 positions her at fourth all-time. Veronika Ozimek finished the 100 freestyle in a 51.35 with a sixth-place finish in the C-final.

Nettie Knapton placed sixth with a score of 255.90 in platform diving. Knapton beat her previous score of 250.20 for fifth-best in school history. Alicia Gonzalez took 16th, and Natalie Six checked in at No. 24 as both collected points for the Cowgirls on the platforms.

Day Three Recap

Tara Joyce earned a Mountain West Championship with a school record time of 1:46.11 in the 200 freestyle, winning the event by a body length to win the second title of the championship for the Brown and Gold, with UW winning the 800-freestyle relay on the opening day with a school record time.

The Cowgirls opened the third night of competition with a fourth-place finish in the 200-freestyle relay. The group of Joyce, Veronika Ozimek, Kali Franckowiak and Lauren Schwartz clocked in with a time of 1:31.99.

Kayla Cunningham finished with a mark of 4:18.76 in the 400 individual medley to finish ninth. She cut 2.44 off her time from the preliminaries. Her time in the event was the third-fastest time in program history. Heidi Billings finished 12th in the event at 4:21.62, a mark that ranks fifth in school history.

Carly Palmer finished fifth in the 100-breaststroke with a time of 1:00.49, a mark that ranks second in school history behind Mara Harutjunjan’s time set in 2016. Bryn Busskohl finished fifth In the race at 1:01.31 for sixth in school history, also cutting nearly a half-second off her prelim time.

Emily Giles finished ninth in the 100-backstroke with a time of 54.68 for seventh in school history. Billings finished 13th with a time of 55.52.

Tessa Bendokas scored points for the Cowgirls in the 100-fly, finishing 13th in the 100-fly with a time of 55.21.

Day Two Recap

The Cowgirls had a number of career-best marks as well as a few top-10 finishes on Thursday. Alicia Gonzalez led the way, checking in with a final tally of 317.75 in the 3-meter to place fourth.

Palmer also placed in the top five. She took fifth in the 200-yard IM after clocking in at 2:02.05.

Joyce placed in the top 10, taking ninth in the 500-yard freestyle. She boasted a time of 4:49.59, nearly five seconds faster than her previous best.

Cunningham checked in at 13th in the 200 Individual medley. She recorded a career-best time of 2:02.74.

Busskohl rounded out the Cowgirls that finished in the top 20. She logged a career-best time in the 200 Individual medley, going a 2:03.36.

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