Denver, Colo. - San Jose State University sophomore Heather Denman was named the Verizon Wireless Western Athletic Conference Swimmer of the Week on Wednesday, November 25.
The weekly honor is a first by a Spartan this season, and the fifth such distinction already for Denman in her career. The reigning Most Outstanding Female Swimmer of the former Nike Cup, newly re-named Toshiba Classic, she was San Jose State's top performer at this year's event in Long Beach, Calif., last week.
The native of Brookeville, Md. (Sherwood HS), guided the Spartans to a sixth-place team finish behind the likes of Pacific-10 Conference powers Stanford, defending national champion California and UCLA, and ahead of Western Athletic Conference foes Hawai'i, Fresno State, University of San Diego and three-time defending league champion Nevada.
Denman's weekend was highlighted by two more school records added to her resume, as well as the first two NCAA consideration qualifier marks of any Spartan swimmer so far. She set three WAC individual season bests, and was a member of three relays that also posted top times in the conference this year. Her blistering 50-yard backstroke split of 25.41 to open the 'A' 200 medley relay on Friday night, November 20, bettered former teammate Lauren Mar's school standard of 25.63 from the 2009 WAC Championship. It helped lead the Spartans to a fourth-place showing in the event in 1:43.37, second-fastest all-time at San Jose State.
Later that same evening, Denman turned in the top individual performance by a Spartan on the weekend, placing second behind Stanford's Betsy Webb in the 100 backstroke, which she won a year ago. She swam 54.06 in the championship final for the first 'B' cut by a Spartan this year, one full second behind Webb's meet-record time.
She also placed eighth on Friday in the 100 fly, which she won in 2008, timing 54.63 in prelims and 54.90 in the championship final.
On the meet's final night on Saturday, November 21, Denman achieved her second school-record mark and consideration qualifier of the weekend, swimming 1:58.54 in the championship final of the 200 backstroke to take over a second off of her own standard of 1:59.58 from the 2009 WAC Championship. She placed third in the event.
In her last race of the meet, Denman swam the second leg of the fourth-place Spartan 'A' 400 freestyle relay. Her foursome fell just .04 seconds shy of matching the school mark, going 3:25.31.
Denman's Toshiba Classic began as the 100-yard opening backstroke leg of the Spartans' 'A' 400 medley relay on the first night on Thursday, November 19. She turned in a split of 55.32, combining with junior teammates Caitlin Macky, Rudie Guerrero and Meghan McCurley for a fifth-place finish behind Stanford (3:38.06), Cal, San Diego State and UCLA in a season-best time of 3:46.54, the second-fastest in program history.
The San Jose State swimmers and divers are now idle from competition for the remainder of the 2009 calendar year. The Spartans will head to Bakersfield, Calif., for a dual meet at Cal State Bakersfield on Saturday, January 2.
Northern Arizona University junior Taryn Harris was tabbed the WAC Diver of the Week. San Jose State freshman Amy Kilby was also a candidate.