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Cowboys eying strong performance at WAC championships

* University of Wyoming Athletics media relations release

LARAMIE — The University of Wyoming men’s swimming & diving team competes at the Western Athletic Conference championships this week in Houston. The action commences Wednesday at CRWC Natatorium on the campus of the University of Houston and wraps up Saturday.   

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The Cowboys enter the championships looking to duplicate what the women’s team did at the Mountain West Conference championships this past week. The Cowgirls showcased their best self with numerous career-best times and podium finishes in College Station, Texas.  

The men’s team hopes its training and taper pays off in a similar way. 

“The women swam fast, and while COVID had an impact, I think we have seen that our team is racing really well,” head coach Dave Denniston said. “This meet will come down to who out-touches the other in prelims. I think several close races, top to bottom, will come down to hundredths of seconds.  

“It’s going to be a fun meet.” 

Wyoming finished last year’s conference championships in third place. That was a byproduct of the Pokes having 12 All-WAC performers, and of those 12, 10 return for this year’s championships hoping to parlay last year’s effort into a strong showing this year.   

Seniors Thomas Diaz, Miller Browne, Brendan Byrnes, Ryan Netzel and Grant Sloan, juniors Payton Lee and Andrew Rodriguez and sophomores Max DeYoung, John Wargin and Juan Gonzalez earned All-WAC recognition a season ago. Those aforementioned student-athletes will lead the charge at this year’s championships.  

“Going into the WAC Championships, I think our men are going to do very well,” Denniston said. “All of the teams in the conference have a lot of fast swimmers, so it’s going to be a battle. A very good team is going to get fourth place, and I know our guys intend to battle for a top-two spot.” 

UW diving head coach Ted Everett echoes a similar sentiment for his trio of divers. 

“They have worked hard, and I feel like their preparation has been great,” Everett said. “We have been fortunate in that we have gone up against some of the best teams in the country this season, so I think we won’t be too phased by the pressure of the competition.” 

The WAC released a Pre-Championships Coaches Poll. The Cowboys were selected fifth with 10 points.  

UNLV was picked to win the conference championships, collecting 25 points and five first-place votes. Grand Canyon checked in at No. 2., garnering one first-place vote and a total of 18 points, while Air Force and Cal Baptist tied for third with 16 points.  

Action gets underway Wednesday with women’s 1-meter diving prelims at 10:30 a.m. Men’s finals that take place Wednesday include the 200-yard medley relay, the 800-yard freestyle relay and 3-meter diving. 

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