Boise State Set for First MW Championships

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Boise State women's swimming and diving heads to its first Mountain West Championships Feb. 22-25, in Oklahoma City. The Broncos were picked to finish second in the preseason coaches' poll, behind defending-champion San Diego State.
The meet begins Wednesday, with one-meter diving and a pair of relay events. For the final three days of the meet, preliminary heats will begin at 11 a.m. and finals will start at 6 p.m.

About the Broncos: Boise State finished the 2011-12 regular season with a 4-1 record in duels. The lone loss came Jan. 7, at UCLA. The Broncos are 31-6 in duels the past three seasons. Boise State added one invitational win in an event the Broncos hosted against New Mexico and Seattle. They also finished second at three invites- the Rice Invitational (behind Arkansas), the Missouri Invitational (behind Missouri) and the San Diego Relays (behind UCLA).

Seniors Amber Boucher and Stephanie North were named MW Swimmer of the Week three times each in 2011-12. Boucher leads the conference in the 100-yard freestyle and North leads the MW in the 200-yard freestyle. Boucher's time in the 100 free is an all-time MW record. North ranks third all-time in the 100.

Senior Amanda Burnett posted the top platform diving score in the conference during the regular season. Her 257.45 ranks her third all-time in the event in the MW.

Boise State returns 16 letterwinners from last year's Western Athletic Conference Champions. The Broncos won 10 events, including all five relays, en route to posting the ninth-highest point total in meet history (835) and taking their second-straight conference crown.

Amber Boucher was named the WAC Swimmer of the Year for the second-consecutive season, and head coach Kristin Hill was named Coach of the Year. Boucher and fellow senior Stephanie North competed at the 2011 NCAA Championships.

Follow it Live: Behind-the-scenes coverage of the Broncos' trip to the MW Championships can be found all week long at ‘Live from OKC' on the Swimming & Diving Page of BroncoSports.com, you can also find real-time results there. For complete coverage see the Swimming & Diving Championship Central page at TheMWC.com.

Last Time Out: The Broncos defeated Colorado State 185-106, Jan. 28, in the final regular season meet of the year. Boise State won all 16 events, including two each from Amber Boucher, Jennifer Cahill, Heather Harper and Stephanie North. Boucher and North were also members of two winning relay teams.

About the Meet: Defending-champion San Diego State returns the reigning MW Swimmer of the Year (Kelly Marquenie) and Diver of the Year (Kristen Meier). Marquenie, a sophomore, won the 200-, 500- and 1650-yard freestyle events and led off the Aztecs' winning 800-yard freestyle relay at the 2011 Championships. All four members of the relay team return this season. Meier won both springboard events at the 2011 Championships and cranks in the top three of the conference on all three boards heading into the 2012 meet.

Wyoming's Kelsi Conci (100-yard backstroke) and TCU's Sabine Rasch (100-yard freestyle) also enter the 2012 Championships as defending individual event champions. Colorado State's Breann Fuller won the 200-yard backstroke at the 2011 meet, but has not competed yet this season.

Only two MW Championships have been won by current member schools (San Diego State, 2011; UNLV, 2005). For a complete schedule of events at the championships, see page 3.

Broncos in Oklahoma: Boise State has never competed in the state of Oklahoma. Freshman Megan Myers hails from Broken Arrow, Okla., and is the only student-athlete in program history from the Sooner State. The MW Championships have been held in Oklahoma City since the conference's inception in 1999-2000.

Boucher Tops in MW History: Senior Amber Boucher set an all-time Mountain West record in the 100-yard freestyle on the final day of the Missouri Invitational (Dec. 3). Her winning time of 49.01 bested the previous mark of 49.21 set at the 2009 MW Championships.

Bronco Relays: Boise State ranks first in the conference in three relay events, and is second in the other two. The Broncos are the only school in the conference to achieve an NCAA ‘B' cut in all five relays. The Broncos are undefeated this season in the 400-yard freestyle relay and ranked No. 19 in the country before the start of conference championships. All five relays ranked in the top 30 entering February. Boise State returns all four members of last year's 400 free relay team that was one of the last four teams not invited to the NCAA Championships.

North Triples up MW Weekly Honors: Senior Stephanie North earned her third MW Swimmer of the Week honor Feb. 1, after winning two individual events and two relays in the Broncos' 185-106 victory against Colorado State.

Boucher's Third MW Weekly Honor: Senior Amber Boucher earned her third MW Swimmer of the Week honor Jan. 25, after setting two pool records in the Broncos' 148-114 win against Oregon State.

World Class Broncos: A lofty mark of excellence in the swimming world is Olympic Trials qualifying times (cuts). The Broncos enter the 2011-12 season with five student-athletes already qualified for their respective Olympic Trials, four from the United States and one Canadian. Amber Boucher, Rachel Heaney, Chelsea Miller, Stephanie North and Christine Raininger attained or improved upon their qualifying times this past summer, firmly supplanting the Broncos on the national radar.

Fresh Faces: Head coach Kristin Hill and the Broncos welcome nine freshmen to the fold this season. Seven swimmers and two divers look to make their mark on the program and follow in the footsteps of those before them. A Boise State freshman has won at least one individual conference championship each of the past three seasons. Who could it be this year?

"It's hard to say who is going to stand out in this group," Hill said. "We are really looking forward to what they can do in our training program. These girls all need something different and we work hard to make sure they get that."

Jessica Bottelberghe (five), Sydney Johansen (three) and Heather Harper (two) all rank in the top 10 of the conference in multiple events.