Boucher's Big Day Puts Broncos in Second After Day One

GOBRONCOSDOTCOM
GOBRONCOSDOTCOM

GOBRONCOSDOTCOM

COLUMBIA, Mo.-Boise State women's swimming and diving sits in second place after the first day of the Missouri Invitational, Friday. The Broncos were led by junior Amber Boucher who captured the individual title in the 100-yard butterfly and set two school records. Freshman Ciera Cortney also set a record during the three-meter diving competition.

Boucher's winning time of 53.44 in the 100 butterfly makes her the first Bronco to break 54 seconds in the event. In addition to being a school record, the Keizer, Ore., native lowered her NCAA provisional qualifying mark and set a Missouri Invitational record.

The defending Western Athletic Conference Swimmer of the Year also finished second in the 50-yard freestyle with another school record at 22.80. Boucher broke the record each of the three times she swam the event, Friday, including leading off the 200-yard freestyle relay. Each was also a NCAA 'B' mark, the first time a Boise State swimmer has achieved the honor in the 50 freestyle.

Cortney broke her own school record on the three-meter diving board. The freshman posted a score of 251.85, the best recorded by a Bronco at a championship-style meet. Her score bests the mark of 226.35 she scored at the Wildcat Diving Invitational, Nov. 19. Her score Friday also lands at No. 5 on the all-competition list at Boise State, which includes dual-meet scores. Cortney finished eighth in the event.

Boucher started her record-setting day with a strong morning when she set two then-school records during the preliminary events, clocking NCAA provisional qualifying standards in the 100-yard butterfly and 50-yard freestyle. Her NCAA 'B' cuts were the first of the season for the Broncos. She improved both of them later in the day.

"We had an awesome morning with so many lifetime bests," said head coach Kristin Hill. "I knew we'd be faster this weekend than we have been all season, but this exceeds expectations."

In all, Bronco swimmers combined for 18 career bests in the individual preliminary events.

Boise State carried the momentum into the evening session which started with a second-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Boucher led off with a blistering 22.89 to lower the school record and NCAA 'B' cut she achieved in the 50-yard freestyle during the preliminaries. That time was again bested in the final heat of the 50 freestyle. Sophomore Stevie Hughey, senior Kelly Forrester and junior Stephanie North followed to turn in the fastest relay time of the season, and the second-fastest time in the event in school history, finishing in 1:33.54. The Boise State 'B' team of junior Kelsy Diener, sophomore Shanelle Choi, junior Morgan McLain and senior Jenny Nowatzke finished sixth, posting the No. 10 time on the all-time list.

Sophomore Jennifer Cahill led a trio of Broncos to qualify for the A Final of the 500-yard freestyle. Cahill registered the third-fastest time in the event during prelims and again in the finals where she placed third. Both times turned in by the Wailuku, Hawaii, native narrowly beat out the marks she posted at last season's Missouri Invitational, one of which was a then-school record.

Freshman Rachel Heaney finished fifth with a lifetime best of 4:58.58 in the finals. Heaney's time is tied for seventh all-time, matching the effort of senior Denise Green in Friday's preliminary swim. Green finished seventh in the finals.

Redshirt sophomore Madison Gray also scored in the 500 freestyle for the Broncos, swimming a career-best 5:00.76 in the B Final.

Hughey placed 11th overall in the 100 butterfly in 56.12, giving her the ninth-fastest time in school history, the only top-10 time not owned by Boucher in the event.

McLain swam a lifetime best in the 200 individual medley to finish fifth and lead the Broncos in the event. McLain's time of 2:04.79 is the fifth-fastest in Boise State history. Diener also qualified for the A Final, finishing seventh. Diener's preliminary mark of 2:05.48 is No. 10 all-time. Freshman Chelsea Miller and sophomore Christine Raininger also scored for the Broncos in the 200 IM, placing 10th and 11th, respectively.

North also scored in the A Final of the 50 freestyle, while Hughey and Choi set career bests during the finals of the event. Hughey finished second in the B Final.

The Bronco swimmers finished the first day of competition with a third-place finish in the 400-yard medley relay. The team of Green, Forrester, Boucher and North clocked the second-fastest time in school history. Boise State 'B' placed seventh, and No. 8 on the all-time list behind the efforts of McLain, Miller, Heaney and Hughey.

"The goal in finals is to see if you can swim faster than your prelim time and move up a spot," said assistant coach Justin Brosseau. "We accomplished that across the board. Considering how fast we went out in the morning, it was awesome to see the girls come back and swim even faster in the evening."

Individually, nine of the career bests set in the preliminary heats were lowered or matched in finals competition, while six additional personal bests were achieved in the evening session to raise the total to 33 career bests recorded on the day.

"We had more lifetime bests today than we've ever had at a mid-season invite," Hill said. "It was a fun, exciting day for us. We're really looking forward to more racing tomorrow."

Boise State returns to the pool Saturday and Sunday for the remaining two days of the Missouri Invitational.