By LESLIE ARMSTRONG
The BYU women’s swimming and diving team is swimming in “fresh” water this year with fourteen freshman recruits.
After losing many of its swimmers to graduation and missions the women’s swimming team has no seniors this year. Swimming Head Coach Steve Crump expects a successful year, though.
Last year the team was second in the WAC, and coach Crump is looking to defend that title.
“We’ll be as good a team as we were last year — perhaps even better,” Crump said. “We’ll be on the hunt for second place again.”
Seniors are also hard to come by on the women’s diving team. The team is left with one senior who Head Diving Coach Keith Russell says is the one the team is looking to for leadership this year.
Cristina Conn, the only senior on the team, is a diver who made it to the NCAA nationals last year and who is expected to return to nationals again this year.
Another NCAA national championship competitor is transfer student, Jenny Rogers. Rogers is a platform diver from Georgia.
Although seniors are hard to come by for the Cougars, talent is not. Coach Crump said swimmers like Sarah McKeever, a junior from New York, are a great strength to the team.
Crump also feels that the freshmen will be a benefit to the program this season. “One-third of the team is freshmen, and freshmen really help because they aren’t burned out,” he said.
Freshman backstroker Melissa Beliston is optimistic about the talent on the team this year also. “Since the WAC expanded, the competition has gotten a lot harder,” Beliston said. “But it seems like we’re pretty good this year.”
Diving Coach Russell said, “It’s going to be a good year.” Russell said he hopes to send a few of the six BYU divers to the NCAA national championships this year; divers such as sophomores Rachelle Smith and Rachel Degener, junior Jenny Rogers, and senior Cristina Conn.
The women’s diving team was ranked in the top five in the western U.S. region last year.
The Cougar swimmers and divers begin their season Friday with an alumni meet at the BYU pool at 6 p.m. Official competition begins Thursday, Oct. 23 in Laramie, Wyo.