Feb. 14, 2006
In its second season in the Sun Belt Conference, Florida Atlantic University's women's and men's swimming and diving teams head to the conference championships this weekend in Denver, CO. The University of Denver is hosting the event at the El Pomar Natatorium Feb. 16-18.
Both the men and women hope to improve on third place finishes from a year ago. The women's team returns the 500 and 1650 free winner from last season. Geni Burts (Pembroke Pines, FL) won both events and holds the second fastest time in the 500 free this year behind teammate Lauren Shue. Shue (Fort Myers, FL) posted a time of 4:59.01 at the Georgia Tech Invite in the event. Her time of 17:03.55 in the 1650 free is also second in the conference behind Denver's Caitlin Summers.
Besides the 500 free, FAU leads the conference in six other events. Ellie Weberg (Bloomington, MN) holds the fastest times in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. The junior advanced to the NCAA Championships as a freshman and hopes to return. In the 100 breast her time of 1:03.49 is just ahead of teammate Halle Kiehlmier. In the 200 breast, Weberg's time of 2:17.31 is four seconds faster than the next competitor and is an NCAA B Standard time.
The Owls hold the top times in both the 200 and 400 individual medleys. In the 400 IM, Burts recorded the top time in the Sun Belt on Dec. 17 at the FAU Invite with a time of 4:26.80. Freshman Lindsey Alexander (Fort Myers, FL) holds the top time in the 200 IM with a 2:06.24.
Diver Lisa Thompson (Livonia, MI) has posted the highest score in 1-meter diving this season with an NCAA Zone qualifying score of 270.83 on Jan. 20.
On the men's side Kevin Bartell (Bakersfield, CA) posted a time of 55.09 in the 100 breast. The time is more than one second ahead of Denver's Marcu Christianson and is a NCAA B Standard time. He also holds the fastest time in the 100 fly at 49.40. Senior Kenny Anderson will challenge in the event. His time of 50.40 is third in the conference behind Bartell and Western Kentucky's Kyle Peterson.
Another senior, Christian Baker, will vie for championship in the 200 breast. On Jan 28, he posted a time of 2:08.67 to place him third in the Sun Belt.
The meet will be over three days with each day consisting of a preliminary session to be held in the morning and a final session in the evening. Preliminaries will begin at 10:30 each morning and finals will begin at 6:00 each evening. Diving competition will take place between the swimming sessions beginning at 1:30 each afternoon. Awards will be presented throughout the competition.
Teams competing in the conference championship include: University of Arkansas-Little Rock (women only), Florida International (women only), New Orleans (women only), North Texas (women only), Denver, Florida Atlantic and Western Kentucky.