Cowgirls Set Sights On 2019 Mountain West Championship

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Photo courtesy of Wyoming Swimming and Diving.

Laramie, Wyo. (Feb. 19, 2019) – The Cowgirl Swimming and Diving will be on the road this week to compete at the 2019 Mountain West Championship. The meet is scheduled to begin on Wednesday beginning at 11:30 a.m. MT at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center in Minneapolis, Minn.

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“I think the women’s team have set some pretty lofty goals in terms of trying to get someone to the NCAA Championship,” head coach Dave Denniston said. “The way the conference is set up this season there are a lot of good teams that are on the rise and getting better. Colorado State has really improved, UNLV has become a big factor with its freshman class they brought in and there are always, Boise State, Nevada and San Diego State. We are right there with the conversation and the ladies want to be in the top three and I think that’s a realistic possibility.”

The Cowgirls will be looking to finish in the top three at the conference meet for the first time since 2013. Last year, Wyoming finished behind Boise State, Nevada and San Diego State. Boise State is the two-time defending MW Championship and will be looking for a three-peat this season. On the year, the Cowgirls did not face SDSU or Nevada in dual action, however the Broncos beat them 162-138 in Laramie in January.

Wyoming has seven competitors currently ranked in the top ten in the conference in at least one event. Amongst those is senior Samantha Burke who is the defending MW 100 backstroke champion. Not only is Burke the defending champion in that event but she is also ranked third in the conference in the 200 backstroke as well. The Cowgirls will also be looking for a strong performance from fellow senior Isobel Ryan who has been a versatile competitor for the Brown and Gold. She is ranked in the top 10 in three events, the 50 and 100 freestyle and a B qualifying standard in the 100 backstroke.

Junior Daniela Luna Rocha is the lone Cowgirl to hold a top time in the Mountain West Conference as she is the ranked first in the 1000 freestyle event. Her best time of the year in the event is 10:05.91. Luna Rocha is also ranked in the top ten in the conference in the 1650 freestyle event.

Sophomore Hannah Mclean-Leonard will be another competitor to watch at the MW Championships as she is ranked second in the conference in the 100 butterfly. The 100 butterfly events has belonged to Mclean-Leonard this season as she has taken first in the 100 butterfly in every dual meet she had competed in this season. She is also ranked in the top ten in the conference in the 200 butterfly.

“Hannah (Mclean Leonard) is undefeated in the 100 butterfly and will try to do anything she can to win it. She is a position to do so,” Denniston added. “Samantha (Burke) is the defending champion in the 100 backstroke. It will be a tough field but she has a shot to repeat. Isobel (Ryan) is one of the top freestyle swimmers in the conference. Between the three of them I think you will see some great swimming. Daniela (Luna Rocha) has come back and is one of the best distance swimmers as well. Our team is as strong as ever and the freshmen need to step up again and swim really fast.”

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On the diving side of the competition, the Cowgirls will be led by the senior duo of CeeJay Harris and Peyton GrandPre. Harris has recorded the highest score by a Cowgirl this season in all three diving events while GrandPre holds the second highest score in the platform and 3-meter events. Freshmen McKenna Houlihan holds the second highest score on the season by a Cowgirl in the 1-meter event.

Follow @wyo_swimdive for updates and live stats.

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