Broncos Open Season With Record Breaking Times But Fall to Competition
BOISE, Idaho The Boise State swimming & diving team kicked off its season with a splash as the Broncos shattered several school records, but despite the their accomplishments, they fell to the University of Utah, 68-173, and the University of Washington, 96-139, Friday.

“We had an outstanding night that definitely exceeded my expectations for the first meet,” said head coach Kristin Hill.

The competition began with the divers taking the boards, with the women on the 1-meter and the men on the 3-meter. A trio of divers made their debut with the Broncos, but leading the way was freshman Erin Lionberger who finished second in the event with a score of 218.99. Brittney Jones placed fifth with a 202.72, while teammate Tana Loan made her diving debut and scored a 159.60 to notch seventh place.

The Broncos got off to a stellar start of their third season as they set a school record with a second place finish in the 200 medley relay with  a time of 1:47.46 (Denise Green, Tara Hahto, Chelsea Lopus, Amber Boucher).  Just three lanes over was the Boise State relay team that took third which clocked the second-best time in the record books with a 1:48.91 (Morgan McLain, Sammy Sanchez-O'Dell, Emily Irivin, Stephanie North).

Following the relay was the 200 free, which showcased the talents of several Boise State swimmers.  Making her presence known was sophomore Nathalie Rohling who recorded a 2:00.22 to take ninth in the event

Leading the way for the Broncos in the 400 individual medley was newcomer Lopus, who recorded a 4:37.87 to place eighth overall, edging out teammates Hahto (4:39.88), Lauren Keele (4:47.26) and Rachael Meisner (4:51.13).

Making her Boise State debut was freshman Stephanie North who lead the Broncos in the 50 free with a time of 24.10 to place third overall. Also making their debut were freshmen Boucher, who recorded a 24.34 to place fifth,  and McLain, who clocked a time of 24.98 in the event for 10th.

While the swimmers took a break in the action, the divers returned to the boards as the men took to the 1-meter and the women the 3-meter. Leading the was for the Broncos was Jones who took third with a score of 228.22, while Lionberger placed sixth with a 211.49 and Loan finished seventh with a score of 142.75.

After the diving break, the Broncos returned to the starting blocks to compete in the 100 butterfly, which was led by freshman Kirdy Franco as she outreached the competition to complete the race knotted in a tie for sixth overall with a time of 59.16.

Leading the way in the100 free was freshman Stephanie North, who set a school record in the event after clocking a time of 52.11 in the event to place fourth overall. Also competing for the Broncos was Tisha Taylor who notched a career-best 55.79, crushing her previous best by nearly four seconds.

The 500 free followed with sophomore record-holder Rachael Meisner leading the way with a time of 5:15.03 and placing sixth overall. Not to be overshadowed was junior team captain Katelyn Lofland who clocked a time of 5:15.97 to place seventh.

The competition was fierce in the 200 free relay, but the Broncos pulled out all the stops as they clocked a record-time of 1:38.49 (Boucher, North, Sanchez-O’Dell, Nowatzke) to not only take third in the event, but crushed the previous school-record by a little over one second. 

Proving to be a fierce competitor in the 100 back was McLain who clocked a 58.93 to finish third overall in the event and cracked the Boise State top-five times list. Also making a splash was Green as she finished the event in fourth with a 59.20 to notch a top-five time in the record books as well.

The 100 breast featured the talents of several returners to the Broncos, but separating herself from the pack was newcomer Irvin who finished the event in third with a time of 1:07.39. Her time also ranks among the top-five in the Boise State record books.

Closing out the first day of competition was the 400 free relay where Boise State placed fifth with a time of 3:45.84 (Green, Rohling, Johanna Wubbena, Paige LaPorte).

“The highlights were many, but starting off with a team record in the 200 medley relay and then getting another in the 100 free was unexpected and a lot of fun,” added Hill. “We look forward to more great swims tomorrow.”

The Broncos will not get much of a break in the competition as they now prepare for the WAC Shootout hosted by New Mexico State in Las Cruces, N.M. The two-day competition begins Friday, Oct. 10 and concludes Saturday, Oct. 11.

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