Swimming & Diving Set For WAC Championship

The San Jose State University women’s swimming and diving team traveled to San Antonio, Texas, early on the morning of Monday, February 23, for the 2009 Western Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championship. The four-day meet will begin on Wednesday night, February 25, and run through Saturday, February 28, at the Palo Alto College Natatorium.

With the re-introduction of a women’s swimming and diving program at Fresno State this year, nine teams are set to compete in the 2009 edition in San Antonio. Nevada will attempt to defend its 2007 and 2008 crowns. Last year, the Wolf Pack finished with 725.5 points, ahead of second-place Northern Arizona (605). Hawaii finished in third with 574.5, while San Jose State (480.5) stormed back on the final night to clip New Mexico State (460.5) for fourth. Idaho (305), Boise State (243) and San Diego (241) rounded out the final three spots at the meet.

San Jose State has posted three consecutive best-ever fourth-place finishes at the WAC Championship in head coach Sage Hopkins’ first three seasons in charge, and will be looking to crack the top three, at minimum, at this year’s event.

San Jose State is led by freshman Heather Denman, who enters her first WAC Championship with the fastest times in the conference this season in four different events: the 100 back, 200 back, 100 fly and 200 fly. She will compete for golds in three of those four, seeking to become only the second swimmer in program history, after four-time champion Brie Marhenke, to take the top spot on the podium in an individual event. The Brookeville, Md., native, who last swam in competition in a dual meet at Cal State East Bay on January 16, will also be a factor for Hopkins in the relay events. Denman has posted the only NCAA B’ cuts by a Spartan this season (100 back, 100 fly), and is the school record-holder in the 100 back (54.84), 200 back (2:01.71), 100 fly (53.97) and 200 fly (1:59.69). In addition to accumulating points toward SJSU’s team total, Denman will hope to improve her times and give herself the best chance to gain an invitation to the NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas, March 19-21.

Fourth-year senior Lauren Mar is the top seed in the 100 free (50.87), and has the second-fastest 50 free time (23.63) behind sophomore teammate Meghan McCurley (23.52), and the second-fastest 100 back time (56.47) after Denman. Both sprinters have had remarkable seasons. Mar enters her fourth and final WAC Championship with 103.5 individual points over her previous three appearances, the most by any swimmer in program history. McCurley has the fourth-fastest 100 free mark (51.80). The 50 free will be contested on the first full day of competition on Thursday, February 26, with the 100 freestyle to follow on the final day.

Amy Friedhoff (Federal Way, Wash.), like Denman a true freshman, is the top seed in both the 500 free (4:54.67), as well as the difficult 1650 free (17:04.56) on the last day. She has the sixth-fastest 200 free time (1:53.13).

Sophomore Julia Koch, who produced a breakout performance at this meet a year ago, is the top seed in the 200 free (1:52.42), has the third-fastest 500 free mark (4:59.62), and will lead the 800 free relay on the first night.

In all, Spartan swimmers head into the WAC Championship with the top times in nine of the 13 individual swimming events that will be contested in Texas. There will be a total of 21 events, with three diving and five relay events.

Tri-captain Kirsten Trammell is seeded second in the 200 breaststroke with a school-record mark of 2:17.78, and fourth in the 100 breast (1:04.36), while fellow sophomore Caitlin Macky is fourth in the 200 (2:19.09) and sixth in the 100 (1:05.10). Trammell also has the second-fastest times in both the 200 (2:04.65) and 400 (4:27.83) individual medley. Fourth-year senior Katey Nelson is the fourth seed in her best event, the 200 back (2:03.61).

San Jose State enters the meet with the fastest 400 freestyle relay (3:26.86), and the second-fastest marks in the other four relays that will take place at the WAC Championship.


San Jose State’s highest finish all-time at the WAC Championship is fourth, which it has achieved in each of the last three years. The Spartans concluded the 2006 event with an all-time highest score of 524.5 points before compiling 430.5 points in 2007 and 480.5 in 2008.

In 2006, the Spartans produced their first-ever WAC champions in swimming, both individually and as a relay, with Brie Marhenke sweeping the 50 and 100 freestyle events and anchoring the 200 free relay to a first-place finish, with current senior Lauren Mar also a member. The Spartans collected six gold medals, four silver medals, five bronze medals, seven first-team and 22 second-team All-WAC honors, and seven school records at the highly-successful 2006 meet.

Last year, Marhenke took both sprint freestyle events again, while guiding the 200 and 400 free relays to to the top of the podium. Mar and Tarolyn Robertson, herself a current fourth-year senior and team tri-captain, were parts of both foursomes, with then-freshmen Meghan McCurley and Julia Koch on the 200 and 400 relays, respectively. The Spartans had 10 gold and nine bronze medals, 11 first-team and 22 second-team All-WAC honors, and three school marks.

Prior to this recent stretch of success, the Spartans had registered a trio of fifth-place finishes, the last time being at the 2004 meet. The WAC crowned a new champion in 2006 with the departure of SMU, as Hawai’i took its first conference team title with 775.5 points. SMU had won all nine titles since San Jose State’s first year of WAC membership in 1996-97.

In dual competition in 2008-09, San Jose State went a perfect 8-0 against opponents it will see in San Antonio, including two triumphs over two-time defending WAC champion Nevada. Also included were three wins over Fresno State, and one each over Boise State, New Mexico State and Northern Arizona. San Jose State produced a final dual record of a program-best 16-1 this season. The Spartans won their last 16 dual meets in a row following a season-opening defeat at No. 2 Stanford, including a first win over UC Davis since 2004, and a second straight win over Pacific.

Individual events will be scored on 16 places: eight places (20-17-16-15-14-13-12-11) for finals and eight places (9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1) for consolation finals. Relay scores will count double.

Results will be posted following every heat on the WAC’s website at wacsports.com. Links will also be available through the San Jose State website at SJSUSpartans.com.

The Western Athletic Conference, in conjunction with its website partner, JumpTV Sports, will stream the finals of all four nights of the 2009 WAC Swimming & Diving Championship, February 25-28. Viewers can sign up by visiting http://www.wac.tv.

On Wednesday, February 25, there will be finals in two relays, the 200 medley and 800 freestyle. Viewers that sign up, will be able to watch those two events for free. Full schedules begin Thursday, February 26, with finals in several events the next three nights. Each of those three nights can be viewed individually for a subscription of $5.95, or a full championship package can be purchased for $9.95. Finals begin at 4:30 p.m. PT on all four nights.

All-session passes (includes all 10 sessions) are $35 for adults and $25 for children ages 18 and under. Single-session tickets will be available for purchase at the event (the pool will be cleared at the conclusion of each session). Prices are as follows:
Relays Wednesday evening: Adults $6, Children $4
Prelims: Adults $6, Children $4
Diving: Adults $6, Children $4
Finals: Adults $7, Children $4

Tickets can be purchased by logging on to wacsports.com and clicking on the Championships tab. Scroll down to Swimming and Diving and select Ticket Order Form.

Apparel from the 2009 WAC Swimming & Diving Championship is available for purchase on-line, as well as at the site of the event. Items available include t-shirts, long-sleeved t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts.

    The order of events for the 2009 WAC Championship: (All times are Pacific.)
    Wednesday, February 25
    Finals            4:30 p.m.
    200-Yard Medley Relay (40-minute break)
    800-Yard Freestyle Relay

    Thursday, February 26
    Swimming Preliminaries    9:00 a.m.
    500-Yard Freestyle
    200-Yard Individual Medley
    50-Yard Freestyle

    Diving Preliminaries        11:00 a.m.

    Finals            4:30 p.m.
    500-Yard Freestyle
    200-Yard Individual Medley
    50-Yard Freestyle (20-minute break)
    1-Meter Diving (10-minute break)
    200-Yard Freestyle Relay
    Friday, February 27
    Swimming Preliminaries    9:00 a.m.
    400-Yard Individual Medley
    100-Yard Butterfly
    200-Yard Freestyle
    100-Yard Breaststroke
    100-Yard Backstroke

    Diving Preliminaries        11:00 a.m.

    Finals            4:30 p.m.
    400-Yard Individual Medley
    100-Yard Butterfly
    200-Yard Freestyle
    100-Yard Breaststroke
    100-Yard Backstroke (20-minute break)
    3-Meter Diving (10-minute break)
    400-Yard Medley Relay

    Saturday, February 28
    Swimming Preliminaries    9:00 a.m.
    200-Yard Backstroke
    100-Yard Freestyle
    200-Yard Breaststroke
    200-Yard Butterfly

    Diving Preliminaries        10:30 a.m.

    1650-Yard Freestyle        2:40 p.m.
    (All but last heat of timed finals, slow to fast.)

    Finals            4:30 p.m.
    1650-Yard Freestyle (final heat)
    200-Yard Backstroke
    100-Yard Freestyle
    200-Yard Breaststroke
    200-Yard Butterfly (20-minute break)
    Platform Diving (10-minute break)
    400-Yard Freestyle Relay