LOS ANGELES-Junior Stephanie North claimed two individual wins and classmate Amber Boucher added another Friday, as Boise State women's swimming and diving suffered its first dual meet loss of the season to No. 23 UCLA. The Broncos added a relay championship in the day's final event, and freshman Ciera Cortney added the one-meter diving title Saturday, but it was not enough to overcome the Bruins who won 178-116.
"That was the best team we have ever had a dual meet with," said assistant coach Justin Brosseau. "Being able to grab some solid victories and race like we did through the meet was a big step for our program. No one backed down to the challenge and it was evident in every race."
North won back-to-back events in sweeping the sprint freestyle races. She out-touched a pair of Bruins by less than two tenths of a second in the 50-yard freestyle for her fourth victory in the event this season. North finished in 23.55 The Klamath Falls, Ore., native used a strong kick to distance herself in the 100-yard freestyle, pulling away with the win in 50.97. North is the two-time defending Western Athletic Conference Champion in the event, and has notched five wins in the 100 this season.
Boucher continued her dominance in the 100-yard butterfly, an event she is yet to lose this season. The reigning WAC Swimmer of the Year trailed by nearly half a second at the turn, but turned in a blazing final 50 yards to claim the win and the fifth-fastest time in school history, 54.63.
Boucher could not run down UCLA's Ting Quah in the 200-yard freestyle. The Keizer, Ore., native was more than a full second faster in the final 50 yards than anybody else in the field, finishing in 1:50.09, second to Quah's 1:49.95.
Both swimmers were members of the Broncos' two relay teams. The meet began with the 200-yard medley relay. Seniors Denise Green and Kelly Forrester joined Boucher and North to clock the No. 4 time in Boise State history, 1:44.74, in finishing second. At the end of the meet, Boucher, Forrester, North and sophomore Stevie Hughey combined to win the 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:27.97, No. 5 on the all-time list.
Freshman Ciera Cortney led the Bronco divers with 251.95 points in the three-meter event. Cortney's total marks a school record for a championship-style meet, and is good for No. 6 all-time. It is the third time in as many competitions the Las Vegas native has set the record.
The Boise State swimmers return to action Sunday, at the San Diego Relays. The divers will remain in Los Angeles to complete the three-day Bruin Diving Invitational.
Washington State also competed at the meet, but the Broncos and Cougars did not score against each other. The two teams will meet Jan. 21, in Pullman, Wash.