Broncos Win Four Titles, Widen Lead
Feb. 17, 2017
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Boise State will take a 203-point lead into Saturday's final night of the 2017 Mountain West Swimming and Diving Championships after a Friday night in which it stayed perfect in relays and won three individual events. The Bronco foursome of Ally Kleinsorgen, Laura Williams, Brittany Aoyama and Katelyn Martin smashed the field in the 400 medley relay for a 5.15-second victory, leaving Boise State just one relay away from sweeping the five relay events at the championship meet.
The Broncos sit atop the team standings with 972 points, 203 ahead of second-place San Diego State (769), Nevada (748) and Wyoming (669). Seven events remain for Saturday's program: platform diving, the 400 free relay, the 1,650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast and 200 fly.
"We just have to worry about ourselves. We have to swim our races, take care of business in the morning like we did today, that's all we have to do," Kipp said about going into the final day with the lead. "Tomorrow night is a whole 24 hours away, we have to win tomorrow morning."
Along with the relay win, Boise State claimed three more individual titles Friday as Aoyama won the 100 fly for the third-straight year, Emma Chard repeated as 200 free champion and Kleinsorgen closed the night with the 100 back title.
"The first relay was a great way to start off the meet. We had a little bit of revenge on our mind, to be honest, it was the one relay we kind of walked away from last year thinking we could've gotten that one," said Boise State head coach Jeremy Kipp. "For the girls to fire up like that and set a new conference record was a good way to start, and it just got the ball rolling. Every swim wasn't perfect, but they were swimming pretty good."
Kleinsorgen, Williams, Aoyama and Martin opened the finals session with a resounding victory in the 400 medley relay, clocking a Mountain West and Boise State-record time of 3:34.40. Kleinsorgen opened with a split of 53.13 to hand a slight lead to Williams on breaststroke. Wyoming's Maria Harutjunjan was able to pull just ahead of Williams on the second leg, but Willams did her job in handing Aoyama a favorable position for the third leg, and Aoyama did not disappoint. The Bronco senior lit up the field with a butterfly split of 51.87, handing off a lead of nearly three second to Martin, who turned in a blazing anchor leg of 47.75 to seal the win for the Broncos.
Boise State now has a chance to join the 2014 San Diego State team as the only teams to sweep all five relay events at a single conference championship meet as it heads into Saturday night's 400 free relay.
Aoyama picked up the first individual title of the night for the Broncos, becoming the first swimmer in Mountain West history to win the 100 fly three times, taking her latest crown in 52.04, tying her own school record. Fellow senior Katelyn Martin came in fourth at 54.21.
"Last year, Brit had a lot of stress on her, she almost hadn't gone a fast enough time to make the meet, and so for her she was kind of playing with house money," Kipp said. "She was a lot more relaxed. It's not easy being a defending champ, much less a two-time one, there's a lot of pressure, a lot of people gunning for her."
That win was followed by Chard successfully defending her 200 free title, claiming her second in a row with a time of 1:45.59. The junior trailed Nevada's Teresa Baerens by a tenth of a second at the halfway point until putting together a final 100-yard stretch in 53.69 to outlast Baerens by 0.73 of a second. Senior Felicity Cann finished fifth in 1:48.15.
"Emma, she gets a little nervous out there and she was certainly taken to the mat early in that race with Baerens, but it was good to see her rise up to that challenge and fulfill what she could do," Kipp noted.
The night concluded with Kleinsorgen capturing the first individual title of her career, taking the 100 back in 53.24. She jumped out to a slim lead after the opening 25 yards and remained there, out-touching Colorado State's Tonicia Thomas by 0.55 of a second. Fellow sophomore Abbey Sorensen took sixth overall in 54.34.
"Earlier in the year she was seeded first in a 100 back final with some Olympians, and she was really nervous and it really affected her. The number one seed doesn't mean anything except that you have the center lane, you still have to race. She did a really good job of keeping things simple and focusing on fundamentals [tonight]," Kipp said.
The Broncos got plenty of great swims on the night in addition to the event victories. Emily Mathis fought her way up from the back of the field in the 400 IM A final, closing strong to take fourth in 4:18.22. Williams (1:02.29) and Robin Pinger (1:02.46) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the 100 breast to round out the Broncos in A Finals Friday. Sophomore Cody Evans won the 200 free B Final for a ninth-place overall finish, while Alyssa Schultz was 14th overall. In the 100 fly B Final, Emmie Jennings took 13th overall.
"It's huge. We've been battling a leg injury with Laura all year and we don't know what we're going to get, but this morning she swam herself onto the really, and she comes out and set that relay up for success. And she has her freshman buddy, Robin Pinger, they work really hard and they went fourth and fifth," Kipp said. "Mathis is swimming out of her mind, and she has her best event tomorrow, the 200 breast, she's primed to go really fast."
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