SDSU Swim and Dive unable to capture back-to-back Mountain West titles

by Joseph Faria, Staff Writer

The San Diego State swim and dive team placed third at the 2016 Mountain West Championships, which took place in College Station, Texas, last Wednesday through Saturday.

The University of Nevada claimed their first MW championship by overcoming a 39.5-point deficit on Saturday to overtake Boise State University, and edged out the Broncos by 13 points, 664-651. SDSU’s 511 points were enough to claim third and with 457 points the University of Wyoming ended in fourth.

While the Aztecs did not bring back the hardware, they made a string of highlights over the four-day stretch.

It started on Wednesday with the foursome of sophomores Kate Santilena, Cecilia Zaccarelli, Summer Harrison and senior Taylor Johnson, who set the tone for the SDSU by finishing third in the 200-yard medley relay. Their time of 1:39.25 goes as the fourth fastest in school history.

On the 1-meter board, it was sophomore Alexandra Caplan who captured third place in the finals with 330.15 points. Her score established a new school record as she bettered her own record (323.78) in which she set in the dual meet against the University of San Diego in late January.

On Thursday, the 200-yard freestyle relay team placed second behind Boise State with a time of 1:29.25. The team consisted of Johnson, junior Samantha Guttmacher and seniors Whitney Weisz and Savannah Miller.

Johnson carried the Aztecs’ success into the 50-yard freestyle as she was victorious. Her time of 22.16 seconds bested second place swimmer Emily Ridout of Wyoming. The time places second all-time in MW history, behind only SDSU alum Anika Apostalon’s time of 21.76 set in the 2014 MW championships.

As for Friday, the 400-yard medley relay team of junior McKenna Garfein, Zaccarelli, Harrison and Weisz placed fourth, clocking in a time of 3:38.86.

SDSU also had two second place winners in Harrison and freshman Rachel Kelch that day. Harrison swam the 100-yard butterfly and finished with a time of 52.84 seconds, .11 seconds behind Brittany Aoyama of Boise State.

Kelch swam the 400-yard individual medley and had a time of 4:13.96, which was behind Nevada Reno’s Yawen Li.

And finally on Saturday, two Aztec swimmers shined individually: Weisz and Kelch.

Weisz lost by a fingernail in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 49.14 seconds, finishing behind UNLV’s Michelle Troup by .02 seconds. Kelch ended her tournament with a second place finish in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:59.41.

Caplan was SDSU’s top diver, capturing fifth place with a score of 235.05 points. Her mark of 246.50 in the preliminary round goes into the school record book as third-best all-time. She was also the only Aztec diver to crack the top six in each of the diving events during the meet.

The MW named 14 Aztecs to its All-Conference Swimming and Diving team based on their performance at the MW championships. Twelve were named for their individual events and two were honored as members of SDSU’s relay teams.

The Aztecs must now wait for the announcement of the swimmers that qualify for the NCAA Championships to be held March 16-19 at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta.