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2011 Western Athletic Conference
Swimming & Diving Championships
Feb. 23-26
Palo Alto Natatorium
San Antonio

Boise State women's swimming and diving heads to the 2011 WAC Championships seeking to defend its title. Follow all of the action as it happens, right here on

We will be bringing you up-to-the-minute results as well as interviews and pictures starting Monday, Feb. 21, from San Antonio.

5 p.m. Wednesday, May 18
Sorry for the lengthy delay. It just took that long to add up all of the superlatives from the WAC Championships.

2011 WAC Championships by the Numbers
67 career bests
63 top-10 times
20 school records
20 NCAA 'B' Cuts (8 individual, 12 relay)
6 Palo Alto Natatorium Pool records
3 WAC Meet records

Of course, the big news was sending Amber Boucher and Stephanie North to the NCAA Championships. It was the first time the Broncos qualified a student-athlete for the prestigious meet and they represented Boise State well.

Boucher scored All-America status with a 12th-place finish in the 100 fly. Her five points in the eventh were good enough to put the Broncos at 39th in the team standings.

For more on the season in review, click HERE.

6 p.m. Thursday, March 3
Apologies for the delay in posting. Here is the final photo gallery from the 2011 WAC Championships. Of course, the buzz now is the invitations received by Amber Boucher and Stephanie North to the NCAA Championships. A huge accomplishment. Congratulations to them.

We hope to wrap up this blog tomorrow afternoon with a final breakdown of record performances.

For now, enjoy the pictures.

2:50 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 27
The celebration is finally dying down here in San Antonio as Boise State successfully defended its WAC Championship. The Broncos won 10 events total, including all five relays. It is the first time a school won every relay race at the WAC meet since SMU in 2003, the same year the Mustangs placed fourth at the NCAA Championships.

We hope to bring you more tomorrow. It is a quick turnaround to get back to Boise. We will be leaving the hotel at 6:15 a.m.

Lots of pictures still to be uploaded.

Thanks to everyone who followed along all week, hope you enjoyed reading as much as we enjoyed bringing it to you.

1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26
The Broncos qualified 13 swimmers for tonight's final heats. Big drops and school records in every event swam this morning. More on the web site shortly.

11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 26
As everyone readies for prelims here on the final day of the WAC Championships, we bring you superlatives from yesterday's events.

Boise State set five school records on its way to winning three events and extending its lead in the meet as a team.

School Records
400 IM: Christine Raininger, 4:16.75
100 Fly: Amber Boucher, 52.05
100 Breast: Kelly Forrester, 1:01.94*
100 Back: Denise Green, 54.53
400 Medley Relay: Green, Forrester, Boucher, North, 3:37.88

Career Bests
400 IM:
Christine Raininger (4:16.75)- NCAA B Cut
Chelsea Miller (4:21.71)
Madison Gray (4:25.42)
Brooke Balogh (4:27.34)
Andrea Thiltgen (4:29.49)
Tara Hahto (4:32.44*)

100 Fly:
Amber Boucher (52.05)- NCAA B Cut
Stevie Hughey (54.64)
Rachel Heaney (54.70)
Lily Donohue (55.66)
Shanelle Choi (55.85)
Emily Irvin (56.12*)

200 Freestyle:
Stephanie North (1:46.96)- NCAA B Cut
Kelsy Diener (1:50.22)

100 Breast:
Kelly Forrester (1:01.94*)- NCAA B Cut
Chelsea Miller (1:03.46)
Erin Stotts (1:05.29)

100 Back:
Denise Green (54.53)- NCAA B Cut
Lily Donohue (56.21)
Morgan McLain (56.68)
Andrea Thiltgen (57.73)
Jenny Nowatzke (57.93)

Additional Season Bests
200 Free:
Jennifer Cahill (1:50.87)
Olivia Harrell (1:52.12)

100 Breast:
Emily Irvin (1:04.43)

Prelims start momentarily with the Broncos competing in 19 swims. Boise State swimmers own the top seed in three of the four events taking place this morning. Jenn Cahill is also the top seed in the 1650 freestyle that will take place tonight. Not to mention the Broncos have the No. 1 time in the 400 free relay that will close the meet.

Check back for results.

2:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 26
It's been a long night, but here is something to hold everyone over until morning. Check out this video  of the Broncos' winning 400-yard medley relay, courtsey of Mr. Thiltgen.

A breakdown of record performances will come tomorrow. For now, what you really need to know is Boise State is in first with 585 points. The Broncos lead second-place Hawai'i by 181 points. The final day of competition should be a lot of fun.

Stay tuned.

4:15 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25
Boise State head coach Kristin Hill talks about the Broncos' big morning, what it means for the weekend and the performance of the Bronco freshmen.

The Broncos are about to head off to the pool for the evening session. We will bring you as many updates as possible from Palo Alto Natatorium as Boise State looks to extend its lead in the team scoring.

3:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25
Ciera Cortney finished 10th in the three-meter diving preliminaries with a score of 243.8. There is no consolation final in diving at the WAC Championships, so Cortney's position will stand.

For swimming tonight, the Broncos lead the way with 20 scoring swims. Here is a breakdown of all of the teams.

Boise State- 20 (15/5)
NM State-    14 (6/8)
San Jose-    13 (7/6)
Hawai'i-       12 (4/8)
No. Ariz.-       8 (3/5)
Nevada-        6 (2/4)
Fresno-         4 (2/2)
Idaho-          3 (1/2)

1:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25
What a morning for the Broncos. Boise State heads to the evening session with 15 swimmers poised for a shot at a gold medal. We will do a full breakdown of school records, career bests and season bests after the evening session, like last night.

Highlights from day three prelims:
-Amber Boucher led four Broncos into the championship final of the 100 fly, including the top three. Boucher's No. 1 qualiifying mark of 52.46 is a school record. Stevie Hughey qualified second, Rachel Heaney third and Lily Donohue seventh.
-Christine Raininger is the top qualifier in the 400 IM. Raininger, the defending champion in the event, is joined by three teammates in the A final. Chelsea Miller is third, Madison Gray is sixth and Brooke Balogh is eighth.
-Stephanie North is the top qualifier in the 200 freestyle. North was head and shoulders above the competition with a 1:48.12. Kelsy Diener will also swim in the championship final as the six seed.
-Kelly Forrester qualified second in the 100 breaststroke. She will be joined in the A final by Miller (fifth) and Emily Irvin (eighth).
-Denise Green also qualified second in the 100 backstroke. Lily Donohue snuck into the A final at No. 8.

The Bronco divers are competing in the prelims of the three-meter event right now. Results will be posted when available.

10:45 a.m. Friday, Feb. 25
Prelims at day three of the WAC Championships brings us five events. The Broncos will have 27 swimmers taking part in the morning festivities.

400 IM (School record- 4:20.46, Christine Raininger)
Tara Hahto (Heat 2)
     -No. 18 in WAC
Andrea Thiltgen (Heat 3)
     -No. 17 in WAC
Brooke Balogh (Heat 3)
     -No. 10 in WAC
Madison Gray (Heat 4)
     -No. 8 in WAC
Christine Raininger (Heat 4)
     -No. 1 in WAC, defending WAC Champion
Chelsea Miller (Heat 4)
     -No. 5 in WAC

100 Fly (School record- 53.44, Amber Boucher)
Emily Irvin (Heat 3)
Stevie Hughey (Heat 3)
     -No. 3 in WAC
Lily Donohue (Heat 3)
     -No. 14 in WAC
Amber Boucher (Heat 5)
     -No. 1 in WAC, defending WAC Champion
Rachel Heaney (Heat 5)
     -No. 4 in WAC
Shanelle Choi (Heat 5)
     -No. 12 in WAC

200 Free (School record- 1:45.22, Amber Boucher)
Olivia Harrell (Heat 3)
Jennifer Cahill (Heat 4)
     -No. 10 in WAC
Kelsy Diener (Heat 5)
     -No. 9 in WAC
Stephanie North (Heat 5)
     -No. 3 in WAC, 2010 silver medalist

100 Breast (School record- 1:03.57, Emily Irvin)
Kim Nelson (Heat 1)
Emily Irvin (Heat 2)
Erin Stotts (Heat 2)
     -No. 17 in WAC
Chelsea Miller (Heat 2)
     -No. 7 in WAC
Tara Hahto (Heat 2)
     -No. 20 in WAC
Kelly Forrester (Heat 4)
     -No. 5 in WAC

100 Back (School record- 55.74, Denise Green)
Jenny Nowatzke (Heat 2)
Lily Donohue (Heat 2)
     -No. 15 in WAC
Andrea Thiltgen (Heat 2)
Denise Green (Heat 2)
     -No. 5 in WAC
Morgan McLain (Heat 3)
     -No. 8 in WAC

San Jose State looks to make its move today with a pair of swimmers in the top three of each the backstroke and breaststroke events; three of the top six in the 200 free; and the second-ranked 100 fly and 400 IM participants.

After swimming prelims, the preliminary rounds for three-meter diving take place, with Boise State represented by Amanda Burnett, Ciera Cortney and Tana Loan.

Stay tuned for more updates.

8:55 a.m. Friday, Feb. 25
Here it is, a photo gallery from the Thursday evening session. The Broncos are back in action for prelims this morning in about two hours. We leave for the pool in 30 minutes. Updates to followe.

12:20 a.m. Friday, Feb. 25
Putting things in perspective...
The 200 free relay time of 1:30.63 is the second-fastest in WAC Championship Meet history. The time was also better than the marks posted by UCLA and Missouri at their respective conference championhips, Thursday. Boise State lost to Missouri head-to-head in the event at the Mizzou Invite. The Bruins and Broncos did not swim the event in Boise State's only dual-meet loss of the season.

Amber Boucher's 22.30 in the 50 free was not only a school, pool and meet record, it would be a Mountain West Conference record. The time also would have taken third at the Pac-10 Conference Championships and would have been fast enough to win the Big 12 Conference Championship.

Ciera Cortney was 3.45 points away from doing more than just winning the one-meter diving competition. Cortney's school-record score of 288.75 narrowly missed the winning score of 292.20 posted by Emma Friesen of Hawai'i. Friesen has the 2008 NCAA Championship in the one-meter to her credit and now owns four WAC Championships in the event. She is just the latest in a long line of impressive Rainbow Wahine divers. Friesen's win gives Hawai'i eight-straight WAC Championships in the one-meter diving event. Cortney, who became the first Bronco to reach the finals in a springboard event Thursday, almost brought it all to a screeching hault. Her second-place finish is the first time a Boise State diver has earned a medal in any event, and was just another instance of a Boise State student-athlete outperforming expectations and helping the team inch closer to defending its WAC title.

Check back in the morning for a photo gallery of Thursday night's events.

Midnight Friday, Feb. 25
Highlights for Boise State from the first full day of competition at the 2011 WAC Championships.

-Boise State finished 1-2-3 in the 50-yard freestyle, with each swimmer (Amber Boucher, Stephanie North and Stevie Hughey) going faster than Boucher's winning time from 2010.
-Boucher's 22.30 is a school, pool and meet record.
-The Broncos won the 200 free relay in a blistering 1:30.63.
-Ciera Cortney became the first Bronco diver to reach the finals in a springbaord event. Cortney took second in the one-meter competition, just 3.45 points behind the winner.
-Kelsy Diener placed second in the 200 IM with a school-record 2:01.95.
-Jenn Cahill finished third in the 500 free with a school-record 4:51.96.
-Rachel Heaney finished fifth in the 500 free in her first scoring event at the conference championships.
-Seven Broncos scored top-six finishes.
-Boise State won two consolation finals (Denise Green, 500 free; Emily Irvin, 200 IM).

11:50 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24
Back with some wrap up from Thursday night's swimming events. The Broncos lead the meet after two days with 281 points. Hawai'i is in second with 215. There were a lot of school records, career bests and season bests that contributed to the big scores for Boise State. To recap...

School Records
500 free: Jenn Cahill, 4:51.96
200 IM: Kelsy Diener, 2:01.95
50 free: Amber Boucher, 22.30
1-meter diving: Ciera Cortney, 288.75
200 free relay: Boucher, Hughey, Diener, North, 1:30.63

Career Bests
500 free:
Jenn Cahill (4:51.96)
Rachel Heaney (4:53.20)
Denise Green (4:55.64)
Madison Gray (4:58.93)
Brooke Balogh (4:59.66)

200 IM:
Kelsy Diener (2:01.95)
Emily Irvin (2:04.28)
Andrea Thiltgen (2:06.89)

50 Free:
Amber Boucher (22.30)
Stephanie North (22.75)
Stevie Hughey (23.01)
Kelly Forrester (23.74*)
Shanelle Choi (23.67*)
Jenny Nowatzke (24.54*)
Olivia Harrell (24.63*)

1-Meter Diving:
Ciera Cortney (288.75)

Additional Season Bests
200 IM:
Christine Raininger (2:04.38)
Chelsea Miller (2:04.76*)
Kim Nelson (2:09.24*)
Tara Hahto (2:10.74*)

*-Prelim time

9:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24
It was a great day at the pool for Boise State on day two. Perhaps the most impressive performance was Ciera Cortney in the one-meter diving event. Cortney became the first Bronco to reach the finals of a springboard event and made the most of it. The freshman earned the silver medal with a championship-meet-school-record 288.75. Cortney was just 3.45 points away from champion Emma Friesen of Hawai'i, the 2008 NCAA Champion in the event.

Head diving coach David Legler talked about the accomplishment and previewed tomorrow's three-meter competition.

We will have swimming analysis soon.

6:05 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24
Final preparations are underway here at Palo Alto for the evening session of day two. The Broncos have 16 swimmers competing tonight in individual events, 12 in scoring races. Six Bose State swimmers look to take home championships when they take the pool in the 'A' finals. Freshman diver Ciera Cortney will also vie for a conference title when she competes in tonight's one-meter diving final.

Here is a breakdown of the events:
500 Freestyle (School record- 4:54.56)
C Final
Brooke Balogh, lane 5

B Final
Madison Gray, lane 1
Denise Green, lane 4

A Final
Rachel Heaney, lane 7
Jennifer Cahill, lane 2

200 IM (School record- 2:02.45)
C Final
Kim Nelson, lane 7
Andrea Thiltgen, lane 5

B Final
Morgan McLain, lane 6
Emily Irvin, lane 4

A Final
Christine Raininger, lane 8
Kelsy Diener, lane 5

50 Freestyle (School record- 22.51)
C Final
Shanelle Choi, lane 4

B Final
Kelly Forrester, lane 8

A Final
Stevie Hughey, lane 2
Stephanie North, lane 5
Amber Boucher, lane 4

After diving the swimmers will return to the pool for the 200-yard freestyle relay. Boise State is seeded second in the relay.

Boise State and SJSU lead the way with six swimmers each in the championship finals. The Spartans do not have a diver in the top eight.

Stay tuned for results. Races start at 6:30.

4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24
The preliminary scores for one-meter diving are in. Freshman Ciera Cortney qualified fourth with a 244.55. Cortney is withing striking distance of becoming the first Boise State diver to medal at the conference championships. Tana Loan came in 21st as in exhibition. Amanda Burnett returned to competition for the first time since Dec. 5, at the Missouri Invitational. Burnett placed 27th after failing her second dive. With her first competition in months out of the way, and the cobwebs off, Burnett will look to improve on the three-meter and platform events. Burnett is the school-record holder on the platform and placed eighth at the 2010 WAC Championships

The Broncos are headed into a team meeting shortly before we depart for the pool for the evening session.

We will bring you updates as often as possible.

1: 30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24
Apologies for the delay. More internet problems. We will try to post as often as possible. It's not looking good, though.

After the first preliminary round the Broncos will have 12 scoring swims tonight, the most of any team, in addition to the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Highlights of the prelims:
-Amber Boucher and Stephanie North qualified 1-2 in the 50-yard freestyle with Boucher tying the pool and WAC Championship record at 22.51.
-Stevie Hughey joins Boucher and North in the championship final. Kelly Forrester qualified for the consolation final.
-School records fell in the other two qualifying events. Jenn Cahill broke her own record in the 500-yard freestyle (4:54.56). Freshman Rachel Heaney was right behind her at 4:54.92 to also qualif for the championship final.
-Kelsy Diener set the mark in the 200-yard individual medley at 2:02.45. Christine Raininger joins her in the championship final.
-Denise Green and Madison Gray will swim in the consolation final of the 500 free. Emily Irivin and Morgan McLain will swim in the consolation final of the 200 IM.

Divers are currently competing in one-meter prelims. We will give you updates when possible.

11:25 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 24
Cahill comes in second in heat three, with the second-fastest qualifying time so far, a school-record 4:54.56. Green finished fourth in the heat at 4:56.28, a career best. Gray is in the pool.

11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 24
The first prelim swim is about to get going. The 500-yard freestyle is up first. Boise State has five swimmers entered in the event, all ranking in the top 18 in the conference.

No Bronco swims unitl the third heat, with Jennifer Cahill (No. 3) and Denise Green (t-No. 6). In heat four Madison Gray (No. 8) will represent Boise State. In the fifth and final heat a pair of freshmen swim for the Broncos, Rachel Heaney (t-No. 6) and Brooke Balogh (No. 18).

With four Broncos seeded in the top eight, the 500 has all the makings of a high-scoring event for the Broncos. As the coaches have been stressing all week, it starts with the morning swims. If you finish in the top eight in the prelims you are guaranteed top-eight points. Nine through 16, guaraneed to score. Outside of the top 16, no scoring.

Boise State's depth is what makes it among the favorites on paper. If everyone can move up a spot or two,, the 500 free could give the Broncos a nice cushion.

We will be back with results and analysis.

8:40 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23
With one day in the books, Boise State sits in first place with a perfect 80 points. The Broncos lead a three-way tie for second between Hawai'i, New Mexico State and San Jose State, all with 62 points.

7:50 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23
Another race, another win for Boise State. The Broncos clocked a 7:12.91, seven seconds faster than the previous school record. Hawai'i edged out Northern Arizona for second.

Amber Boucher led off with a 1:45.22, more than two and a half seconds faster than her own school record in the 200 free. It is also currently a top-15 time nationally.

The race for second was too close to call, but the order of finish will be updated when available.

In time trial action, Harrell, Diener, Balogh, Gray, Green and Donohue posted career bests. Raininger scored a season best.

6:55 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23
Boise State's 800 free relay team will be Amber Boucher, Jenn Cahill, Stevie Hughey and Stephanie North. The Broncos are the top seed in the event.

Before that starts, there will be seven Broncos swimming time trial events. Olivia Harrell (100 fly), Christine Raininger (100 fly), Kelsy Diener (100 back), Brooke Balogh (200 free), Madison Gray (200 free), Denise Green (200 free) and Lily Donohue (200 fly).

6:47 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23
Broncos win. With a great butterfly leg from Stevie Hughey and a strong finish from Kelsy Diener the Broncos scored a win in the 200-yard medley relay to start the 2011 WAC Championships where they left off last season.

Boise State's winning time of 1:41.36 is a school record by more than two seconds. The Broncos were followed closely by New Mexico State. San Jose State placed third.

The 800 free relay will go off in about 30 minutes.

6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23
Everyone is getting riled up on the pool deck as the parents who are present are starting to get into it. The first event of the week will be the 200-yard medley relay. Boise State comes in as the No. 2 seed behind San Jose State. The Broncos will roll out Denise Green, Kelly Forrester, Stevie Hughey and Kelsy Diener.

6:15 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23
Things are about to get started here at Palo Alto Natatorium. The 200-yard medley relay is about 10 minutes away. Unfortunate internet circumstances have put the "up-to-the-minute" results in jeopardy. We will do everything possible to keep you updated and sort out the technical difficulties.

For now, watch what head coach Kristin Hill has to say in advance of this week's event.

2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23
Boise State freshman Rachel Heaney ranks in the top six in the WAC in five events this season, including a conference-best time in the 200-yard butterfly. Heaney talks about the difference between the conference championships and the big meets she swam at growing up; joining a team with championship experience and aspirations; and her personal progression throughout the season.

Noon Wednesday, Feb. 23
All eight WAC swimming and diving teams gathered at the Sunset Station for a breakfast banquet this morning. The menu was bacon, eggs and potatoes. Each coach addressed the crowd about his or her seniors. Bronco head coach Kristin Hill went first, highlighting the team's eight seniors for their accomplishments in and out of the pool. The most memorable speech of the morning went to Nevada head coach Mike Richmond for his spin on the "Wolf Pack" speech from the movie The Hangover.

The conference then honored the 2010-11 WAC Swimmers and Divers of the week. Boise State claimed five of the awards, three for swimmer Amber Boucher, one for swimmer Stephanie North and one for diver Amanda Burnett.

The Broncos got in one more morning tune-up swim after breakfast, perfecting their strokes and turns before the meet gets officially underway tonight with two relay events.

The practice ended with assistant coach Justin Brosseau addressing the team and getting everyone ready for the task at hand.

We will be providing live results and analysis of every meet session, starting tonight. Be sure to stay tuned. The photo gallery linked above includes shots from this morning's events.

12:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23
Boise State junior Amber Boucher, the reigning WAC Swimmer of the Year, talks about the difference that comes with entering the meet as defending conference champions and any goals she has, as a team and individually.

Midnight Wednesday, Feb. 23
Most of the Broncos returned to the pool in the afternoon to continue getting their bearings and feeling out the pool at Palo Alto Natatorium.The divers also made use of the extra practice time, sticking mostly to the three-meter springboard.

One swimmer, freshman Brooke Balogh, competed in one of the first timed events of the week. Balogh swam in the third heat of time trials Tuesday night, swimming the 100-yard butterfly. She clocked a career-best time, breaking 58 seconds for the first time.

Tomorrow will bring the first scoring competitions of the championships with the 200-yard medley and 800-yard freestyle relays. The Broncos have the top time in the conference in the 800 free relay (7:26.32) and are less than two-tenths of a second off San Jose State's WAC-leading time in the 200-yard medley relay. Boise State's best time in the medley relay is 1:43.39. 

Wednesday starts with a banquet breakfast for every team, hosted by the conference. There will be a slideshow video of each team, as well as ceremonies honoring each conference swimmer and diver of the week during the 2010-11 season and the seniors for each team. Boise State earned four WAC swimmer of the week awards and one diver of the week honor.

2 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22
The team took a few hours away from the pool to enjoy some of the San Antonio landmarks. The Broncos split up and walked around the River Walk to find food and shopping. Some managed to make it to The Alamo while others took in a leisurely stroll along the city's famed pathways.

Kelsy Diener, Kim Nelson and Brooke Balogh stand above the San Antonio River Walk.

10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22
The Broncos' morning practice is in full swing at the Palo Alto Natatorium. After this session, the team will make its way to Downtown San Antonio for lunch on the River Walk. After some exploring and eating everyone will be back to the hotel for a little R&R before an afternoon swim.

We will have more after lunch.

1:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 22
Boise State swimming and diving landed in San Antonio Monday afternoon. After an early morning, the team took the first few hours in Texas to relax and get ready for an afternoon swim. The Broncos got their first practice in at Palo Alto Natatorium on the campus of Palo Alto College in the late afternoon.

The divers headed over to the pool early with head diving coach David Legler to take advantage of the facilities on hand. The photo gallery below showcases the pool which was not used for the WAC Championships a year ago as it underwent construction.

After the swimmers finished getting a feel for their turns and relay starts, the team loaded up the vans and headedto dinner. Rudy's Bar-B-Q was the destination of choice as everyone enjoyed a wide range of authentic Texas barbecue with turkey, brisket, chicken and ribs.

The Broncos will swim twice more Tuesday, in preparation for the first day of competition Wednesday.

More updates to come tomorrow. Be sure to check back for a meet preview. In the meantime, CLICK HERE to see a photo gallery of Monday's practice.


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