Boucher Sets MW Record, Broncos Take Second
COLUMBIA, Mo.-Amber Boucher set a Mountain West record to highlight the final day of the Missouri Invitational Saturday, for Boise State women's swimming and diving. The Broncos set three school records and won two events. Boucher set the conference's all-time mark in winning the 100-yard freestyle. The Broncos finished second in the team competition, behind 15th-ranked Missouri.
Boucher won the 'A' Final of the 100 freestyle in 49.01, fifth on the all-time list at Boise State. Her preliminary time of 49.16 was also faster than the previous MW record (49.21) set at the 2009 conference championships. Fellow senior Stephanie North finished right behind Boucher in the finals, taking second place in 49.24, 10th-fastest at Boise State, making her the third-fastest 100 freestyler in conference history. Boucher and North also bookended the Broncos' winning 400-yard freestyle relay team.
Jennifer Cahill set the school record to take third in the 1650-yard freestyle, finishing in 16:47.44. Cahill also set the record in the 1000-yard freestyle en route to the mile time at 10:10.74. Freshmen Megan Myers (17:20.28) and Emily Blasko (17:22.80) swam the seventh- and eighth-fastest times in school history in the 1650 freestyle.
Amanda Burnett posted the top two platform scores in school history, finishing second in the event and earning her second NCAA Zone Championships qualifying score in as many days. Burnett set the school record with a 257.45 in the prelims to lead a quartet of Broncos into the finals. Tana Loan qualified eighth and moved up to fourth in the finals with a career-best 204.65. Erin Kohlbeck finished fifth and Ciera Cortney took seventh in the finals.
"Amanda has been working a lot of dry land for tower and it was great to see it pay off in her first tower meet of the season," said head diving coach David Legler. "The divers took advantage of our opportunity to gain some more experience and they showed some great improvements from the Wildcat Invite."
Breanna Hemming and Lexi Pfeiffer set season bests in the prelims. Burnett, Loan and Kohlbeck rank 1-2-3 in the MW in the platform event.
The meet ended with the Broncos' victorious 400-yard freestyle relay in 3:19.77, the second-fastest time in school history. Boucher led off in front of Stevie Hughey and Jessica Bottelberghe before North made up nearly a half second in the final leg to overtake Missouri for the win.
Bottelberghe continued her strong freshman campaign with a second-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke in 1:59.65, third-best all-time at Boise State. She ranks second in the conference in the event. Fellow freshman Heather Harper clocked the No. 5 time in the MW in the 200-yard breaststroke.
"Our freshmen responded well and now have a lot more experience swimming fast in a big-meet atmosphere," said head coach Kristin Hill.
Sophomores Rachel Heaney and Chelsea Miller led the way for Boise State in two events. Heaney finished runner up in the 200-yard butterfly in 2:01.33, the fourth-fastest time at Boise State and No. 2 in the conference this season. Miller took eighth in the 200-yard breaststroke, but her preliminary time ranks No. 5 at Boise State and fourth in the conference.
Boise State scored 819 points in the meet, well ahead of Big 12 foe Kansas (604 points) in the first meeting between the two schools. The Tigers led the way with 999 points, but Boise State closed the gap from a year ago. The Broncos lost to then-25th-ranked Missouri by 361 points at the 2010 Missouri Invitational, this year's deficit was less than half.
"Across the board this was by far our best December invitational, and that's saying a lot after our great swims here last year," Hill said. "It was great to defeat a team like Kansas in our first meet with them and I'm happy with the way we competed against Missouri."
In all, Boise State placed 55 times on the school's top-10 lists with 30 lifetime-bests, four school records and 12 NCAA 'B' cuts. The Broncos now hold 43 top-10 times in the conference this season, including the top time in nine events. All five Boise State relays rank at the top of the conference.
"We had a lot of great accomplishments this weekend," said Hill. "The Mountain West record by Amber was awesome and our relays were clearly highlights."
The Broncos will take part in long-course time trials Sunday, at the Mizzou Aquatic Center.
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