To no one's surprise, the University of Utah continued to dominate the Western Athletic Conference swimming championships during Friday's second-day competition. Though other schools had their individual moments, the Utes used their depth to ring up an impressive lead going into the final day.
Utah boosted its point total to 349 to far outdistance second-place BYU. The Cougars claimed back-to-back victories in the 100-yard breaststroke and 100 backstroke to finish in second place with 246 points. BYU was followed by Hawaii (244), New Mexico (222), Wyoming (178) and Air Force (166).Today's final-day prelims are at noon with finals at 7 p.m. in the Cougar pool.
Ute Coach Don Reddish was customarily cautious about declaring the race over, despite the big lead. "We can't go home yet," he said. "We'll have to be back tomorrow."
After winning the 50-yard freestyle and anchoring the winninng 200-freestyle relay and 400-medley relay teams on Thursday, Utah's Anders Bladh returned fresh on Friday to take up where he left off. Bladh anchored Utah's winning 200 medley relay team in the day's first event, as the Utes clocked a 1:32.15 time.
Utah continued to run up its point total by winning the 400-IM and 100 butterfly. Arne Miles turned in a 4:00.23 winning time to edge out BYU freshman Gary Van Boxtel by .69 of a second in the IM and freshmen Sal Castro and Jim Giottonini finished one-two in the 100 butterfly, beating defending WAC champ Mikael Holmertz of New Mexico.
"We're doing very well," said Ute Coach Don Reddish. "Castro and Giottonini did very nicely and Bladh, well, there's nothing more to be said about him. He does everything."
The Cougars had their moments, as well. Sophomore Ng Hue Meng qualified for the NCAA championships by clocking a :55.90 winning time in the 100 breaststroke. In the next event Cougar senior Robert Doman came in at :51.38, shading Utah's Giottonini and Miles.
"Yue Meng did kind of bad in preliminaries this morning," said BYU Coach Tim Powers. Yue Meng's finals time was almost two seconds faster than his morning time.
Powers continued, "He got kind of fouled up somewhere. We talked about it and it made all the difference tonight."
Hawaii stayed in the race for second place by claiming two events. The Rainbows got first places from George Haydu (1:39.56) in the 200 freestyle and the 800 meter freestyle relay team of Otto Voettiner, George Steuer, Glenn Wachtel and Haydu won with a 6:40.03 time - well below the time needed to qualify for the NCAA's.
Powers said Utah's depth should be the difference in this year's meet - as it usually is. "Utah is so deep it's really hard to bang heads with them. We can win some individual races, but they're so deep, it's hard to outscore them."