The Grand Canyon University women’s swimming team climbed to the top step on the podium tonight, knocking off three-time defending champion Incarnate Word at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Championships in San Antonio, Tex.
The Antelope men’s swimmers capped off another strong day in the pool, finishing second overall.
The women’s meet was tightly contested throughout and came down to the 400 free relay swim between the Antelopes and Cardinals. GCU’s Catherine Polito, Stacey Rudman, Samantha Magnani and Mychala Lynch put down a meet and school-best 3:25.01 to win the relay and secure the title. The squad finished almost a full 2.5 seconds better than second-place UIW.
Inha Kotsur earlier captured the 1650 free crown with a RMAC best 17:00.30. Stacey Wymer eclipsed the school and RMAC record in winning the 200 back with a 2:01.12. Jaclyn Branning won the 200 breast, setting a new meet record while besting her own school record (2:21.48). Teammate Aime Osterberg took second.
The women have steadily risen at the RMAC Championships, going from seventh in 2008, sixth in 2009, third in 2010, second last season to the top spot this year.
The women finished the meet with 906 points. UIW finished second with 861.
The men were hampered by the lack of diving points this meet, but clearly served notice that they will be in contention at the NCAA Championships next month.
As has become the norm, the ‘Lopes continue to dominate the speed events. Tonight the fast men took the top four spots in the 100 free, led by winner Buddy Turner (43.94). Turner’s time was a RMAC best and also dethroned previous school best-time holder Artem Tretiakov, who finished second (44.67). Michael Branning (44.84) took third and Kyle Shores took fourth (45.00).
Ivan Nechunaev won the grueling 200 fly with a 1:48.54.
The 400 free relay team of Shores, Tom Wahlers, Branning and Tretiakov closed out the meet with a winning 2:58.64.
The GCU men finished with 898.5 points, compared to UIW's 976.
In addition to the team successes, GCU captured numerous individual awards. They are as follows:
2012 RMAC Women's Swimmer of the Meet: Stacey Wymer & Inha Kostur, Grand Canyon
2012 RMAC Men's Swimmer of the Meet: Mark Rubin, Incarnate Word & Buddy Turner, Grand Canyon
2012 RMAC Women's Swimmer of the Year: Mychala Lynch, Grand Canyon
2012 RMAC Men's Swimmer of the Year: Buddy Turner, Grand Canyon
2012 RMAC Women's Swimming & Diving Coach of the Year: Steve Schaffer, Grand Canyon
The teams will now prepare for the NCAA Championships in Mansfield, Tex. from March 14-17. The men will be looking to climb higher on the podium after finishing fourth last year. The women will look to replicate their success this weekend and improve upon last season’s school-best 10th-place finish.