Spartans Ready To Defend WAC Championship

            As a national-ranked dual meet women's swimming and diving program during the regular season, San Jose State University now defends its Western Athletic Conference (WAC) title at the conference championship beginning Wednesday, February 27. The four-day, nine-team meet takes place at the Palo Alto College Natatorium in San Antonio, Texas, through Saturday, March 1.

            Live coverage of final events will be available on www.wacsports.com. Preliminary round swimming begins at 11:00 a.m. (CT)/9:00 a.m. (PT) each day starting Thursday, February 28. Finals each night starting February 27 commence at 6:30 p.m. (CT)/4:30 p.m. (PT).

HOPKINS TALKS ABOUT THE 2013 MEET

            "We are very ready and anxious to get started. We've been doing everything right to get ready for this meet," said San Jose State women's swimming and diving head coach Sage Hopkins, the 2012 WAC Coach of the Year who believes staying relaxed, calm and composed will be important going after a second title in as many years.

            "We have strength in a number of areas. We have depth from event to event and expect to be strong across the board."

            The Spartans won the 2012 WAC Championship at the same pool a year ago. It was San Jose State's first conference championship in program history. The Spartans took the lead after the first night of relay competition, was ahead at the completion of days two and three before finishing off their best week of team competition ever touching first in the 400 freestyle relay - the final event of the championship for a 106-point victory over second-place Northern Arizona.

AN IMPRESSIVE REGULAR SEASON

            San Jose State had a 9-1 dual-meet record in 2012-13. This year's Spartans have four relay swimmers starting with senior Marisa DeWames back from winning relay teams at the 2012 WAC Championships. DeWames, the 2012 WAC Women's Swimmer of the Year, is the defending champion in the 50 and 100 freestyles and anchored San Jose State's victories in the 200 and 400 freestyle and 400 medley relays at last year's meet. Senior Kiley Foster and junior Erika Harvey teamed with DeWames on the sprint freestyle relays and junior Ashlyn Acosta preceded DeWames on the winning 400 medley relay quartet.

            The Spartans' championship experience going into the meet goes beyond its possible relay combinations. Seniors Julia Craddock and Amy Friedhoff, juniors Darcie Anderson and Briana Swinney and sophomore Michaela McLean competed in 2012 championship final events and scored significant points for the San Jose State victory.

            With the regular season in the books, the Spartans have the top times in each of the five relay races to be contested in San Antonio. DeWames has the best regular-season clockings in the 50 and 100 freestyles, both of which are NCAA Championship "B" cuts at 22.80 and 49.52, respectively. Anderson in the 200 breaststroke, Craddock in the 200 butterfly and 200 individual medley, and diver Amy Kilby in the 3-meter board also top the conference competition presently in their respective events.

            Hopkins expects Northern Arizona and Denver, in its first WAC Championship, to be with San Jose State as the top competitors for the team title. New Mexico State, Idaho, Seattle University, CSU Bakersfield and North Dakota also are battling for the championship.