Amber alert

By By Tony Pizza

By Tony Pizza

In light of Amber Walter’s dominance this year, head coach Mike Litzinger might want to just call up the Mountain West Conference and have them get the MWC Swimmer of the Year award ready for departure to Salt Lake City.

The MWC shouldn’t have any trouble spelling Walter’s name, either. Though it’s not a difficult name to spell, if the MWC did run into trouble, it doesn’t have to look any further than last year’s award.

Walter added three more wins to her belt as she helped the women Utes stay undefeated with a 135-100 win over New Mexico, capping off a busy weekend for the Utes.

The Utes (7-0, 5-0) continued their stranglehold over Mountain West opponents, winning nine of the 13 events on Saturday. They have emerged as one of the deepest teams in the Mountain West this season, and they were able to use their depth to give some of the stars a rest–which allowed some of the lesser-known swimmers to gain experience.

“We saw very good things from our young swimmers today,” Litzinger said. “Our depth is starting to show through, and that is exactly what we needed to see at this stretch in the conference.”

Walter took first place in all three events she competed in. The sprint events have been Walter’s forte this season, and she comfortably swept both the 50- and 100-meter freestyle against the Lobos.

The only Ute that did not experience her typical success was diver Kelsey Patterson.

Last year’s Mountain West Female Diver of the Year was defeated for the first time this season on the 1-meter diving board by .75 points by New Mexico diver Carrie Quinn.

Quinn’s defeat broke Patterson’s streak of 12 straight diving wins this season.

Patterson did not wait long to establish a new streak, as she quickly found her old form by taking first in the 3-meter dive with a score of 277.8–more than 18 points better than her closest competitor.

Alison McInturff also continued to be a big contributor to the Utes’ wins as she–like Walter–placed first in three events.

McInturff teamed up with Walter, Shannon McQueen and Jennifer Fredsall to win the 200 medley relay for the second time this weekend.

The four women also helped the Utes start strong in a meet against Colorado State on Thursday, which they won 180-120.

McInturff also took first in the 100-butterfly before helping the Utes close out the meet with a win in the 200-freestyle relay.

The Utes are now just three home meet victories away from the second perfect regular season in three years.

“I’m very pleased with this road trip and how we competed,” Litzinger said. “Now it’s time to turn our focus to Wyoming and Air Force.”

The women will reconvene with the men on Friday for a meet with the Wyoming Cowboys at 5 p.m. The Utes then turn around Saturday to play hosts to the Air Force Falcons in a meet that begins at 1 p.m. These will be the first two home meets the U has had since the season began in mid-October.

Notes: Walter took first place in all seven events that she participated in this week and now seems poised to take home her second Mountain West Swimmer of the Week award, which will be announced Wednesday.

Kim Peterson

The swim team practices Dec. 4 in anticipation of its first home meet of the season this Saturday. The Swimmin’ Utes will face Wyoming at 5 p.m. at the Ute Natatorium.