Denver, Colo. - San Jose State University’s Heather Denman and Jo Thibodaux have been named the Western Athletic Conference Swimmer and Diver of the Week, respectively, for the week of October 13-19.
The selections mark the first of Denman’s career and the second already for Thibodaux, who earned the WAC’s inaugural Diver of the Week award for the week of September 29-October 5, as the conference had combined the top swimming and diving performances into one for a weekly Swimming & Diving Athlete of the Week distinction prior to this season. This is also thus the first time that San Jose State has ever swept the two awards. With that first honor for Thibodaux, the Spartans have now been recognized with weekly distinction by the conference three times already this year.
San Jose State comfortably got past host UC Santa Cruz and Fresno State to improve to 7-1 on the dual season in Santa Cruz, Calif., on Saturday, October 18. Both opponents were competing in their season openers, with Fresno State re-introducing its program for the first time after a four-year hiatus.
Denman, a true freshman out of Brookeville, Md. (Sherwood HS), was the top Spartan for a third straight week, finishing a perfect 6-0 in sweeping her three individual events over both UC Santa Cruz and Fresno State. She first won the 200 butterfly in 2:06.90, with her next closest competitor being senior teammate Beste Erener over three seconds behind in 2:10.23. The time was Denman's best by 0.20 seconds and kept her in ninth on the all-time Spartan chart in the event.
Denman later took her first 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley races of the season. She won the 100 fly in 58.48 as the only finisher among eight others in under a minute. The time is already the best by any Spartan this season by over a full second. The Maryland native then won the 200 IM in 2:10.26. The mark is the best on her team this season by over two seconds, and was the fastest Saturday by more than four seconds over freshman teammate Kristin Yamaguchi.
Thibodaux, a sophomore from Alvin, Texas (Alvin HS) went a perfect 4-0 in Santa Cruz, sweeping the two diving events against both UC Santa Cruz and Fresno State. She first posted a score of 259.00, her season best by 24.47 points, in taking the three-meter event over teammate Jessica Holden, three Fresno State divers and one UCSC competitor. The mark was the second-best this season among all WAC divers from three meters, and 11 points short of an NCAA B’ cut. She then won the one-meter event with 228.80 points over two teammates, four UCSC divers and four Bulldogs.
The Spartans’ only loss thus far has come at national powerhouse Stanford, last year’s third-place squad at the NCAA Championships, to begin the year on Friday, October 3. They are now in the midst of a 13-day hiatus from competition. San Jose State will next contest its 2008-09 home opener against WAC foe Boise State at The Aquatics Center on campus on Saturday, November 1, beginning at 11:00 a.m.
Other swimming nominees: Nevada’s Margaret Doolittle won the 100 breaststroke and the 200 individual medley events at the Pacific Invitational to help the Wolf Pack to a third-place finish. Northern Arizona’s Rachael Foe took two individual second-place finishes as well as two relay second-place finishes in a 193-103 loss to Kansas. Fresno State’s Heidi Gjoen defeated UC Santa Cruz in the 100 back in the first collegiate meet of her career.
Other diving nominees: Fresno State’s Kendra Weeks defeated UC Santa Cruz in the three-meter diving event with a score of 177.5.