Athletics & Recreation / Magazine Feature

Men’s swimming and diving team wins conference championship, women finish second

The University of Denver men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams turned in one of their best performances in program history during the 2009 Sun Belt Conference Championships this past weekend at the Centennial SportsPlex/Tracy Caulkins Pool in Nashville, Tenn.

The men’s team captured its first-ever Sun Belt Conference (SBC) swimming championship as they finished with 1,226 points, ahead of Missouri State, breaking every DU record in the books during the four-day championship. The women’s team finished second with a score of 766, behind the Western Kentucky team, which finished with 851 points.

After finishing as the 2008 runner-up, the men’s team used eight event wins, 19 new DU records and eight new SBC records to grab their first-ever SBC crown. Head coach Brian Schrader was honored for the third consecutive year as the SBC Coach of the Year, while diving head coach Erik Cook took home his second consecutive honor.

“We are so proud to have won a team championship for our men here at Denver, and to have our women perform the way they did and bring home a trophy made it even more special,” Schrader said.

Senior Blake Worsley of Steamboat Springs, Colo., closed out his SBC career in record fashion, winning three events, setting four DU records and posting three SBC records. Worsley also earned his second consecutive men’s swimmer of the year honor. Worsley was instrumental in the Pioneers’ 800 freestyle, 400 freestyle and 400 medley relay teams.

Also turning in a career performance was senior Daniel Vollmer of Ajax, Ontario, as he broke a 13-year-old DU record in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:46.57, which was also good enough for a new SBC record.

Senior diver and NCAA All-American Aaron Feight of Littleton, Colo., finished in second place overall in the 3M diving event and captured a first-place finish with a score of 376.85 in the 1M event.

Building off their third-place finish from last season, the women’s team notched 10 event wins, broke 6 DU records and set nine SBC records in route to their second-place finish.
“We had such a great meet as a team — so many wins, but we had lots of improvement and personal bests out of athletes that made the consolation and bonus finals to score points, and those are so critical to what we do in training and as a team in a championship,” Schrader said.

Senior Michele Lowry of Hailey, Idaho, was honored as female swimmer of the year after posting new SBC and DU records in both the 400 individual medley and the 1,650 freestyle. She also set a new DU record for the 1,000 freestyle for her split time during the 1,650 freestyle.

Also turning in outstanding performances were sophomores Katy Motsinger of Charleston, S.C., and Melissa Greeves of Melbourne, Australia. Motsinger posted wins in the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke, setting new SBC and DU records in both. Greeves won the 200 freestyle in record fashion while also turning in a first-place finish in the 100 freestyle.

“Our underclassmen really stepped up to help send our seniors out with wins,” Schrader said. “I think we just have a really good core group of good students and hard working talented swimmers that want to make something special keep happening here at Denver.”

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