Late Wins Carry Broncos Past Utah
Oct. 8, 2014

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BOISE, Idaho - Boise State head coach Kristin Hill had a pretty simple reason for why her Broncos were able to put up late wins in the final two events of Wednesday night's season opener against Utah: experience.

Four of the six Bronco swimmers that competed at the NCAA Championships last spring played vital roles in wins in the 200 IM and 200 free relay that sealed a 156.5-143.5 win over Utah at the Boise West YMCA. Junior Sam Wicks, making a rare appearance in the 200 IM, cruised to a three-second win over the field with a final time of 2:04.69, giving Boise State nine crucial points. In the final event of the night, the 200 free relay, the team of freshman Emma Chard and 2014 NCAA participants Jessica Bottelberghe, Katelyn Martin and Brittany Aoyama pulled away just enough in the final two legs to touch in 1:33.49, earning 11 points by just 61-hundredths of a second before Utah.

"The 200 free relay team did phenomenal. From start to finish they had a lot of speed, which is a bit unexpected for this time of year, so for them to find that speed was good to see," Hill said. "With the exception of Emma Chard, these were swimmers that all competed at the NCAA Championships, so that experience helps when a meet comes down to a relay like that."

It was another relay that got Boise State off to a flying start Wednesday night, as the 200 medley relay foursome of Wicks, Aoyama, Chard and Heather Harper touched first in 1:42.46, the eighth-fastest time in school history. Chard and Wicks would add individual wins to their accounts in the 200 free and 100 back, respectively, soon after to give the Broncos a 57-36 advantage through five events.

In the 200 free, Chard led a Bronco sweep of the first three positions, worth 16 points, with a time of 1:49.99 and was followed by sophomore Felicity Cann (1:50.28) and fellow rookie Monica Bottelberghe (1:53.69). Cann would also finish second in the 500 free with a time of 4:59.99.

"Emma Chard in the 200 free in the first dual of the season was outstanding, and Felicity in the 500 free is faster than where she was at the beginning of last season," Hill added. "Sam Wicks in the 200 IM, she doesn't typically swim that race but we needed her to tonight and she performed really well."

Wicks collected a third individual win on the night with a 51.42 in the 100 free, while Aoyama captured the 50 free (23.24) and the 100 fly (54.94). The wins energized a strong pro-Bronco crowd of over 400 fans that filled the Y with chants of "Boise! State!"

"Utah's a great team and to come away with a win in a head-to-head competition against a team with their strength is very exciting," Hill noted. Our relays were outstanding and this was definitely the highest-level opening-season meet that we've ever had. And I have to thank our great fans for coming out in such numbers to support us tonight, it made for a great atmosphere."

The Broncos finish the campaign's opening week Saturday in Moscow, taking on in-state rival Idaho at 1 p.m. MT.

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