Relays Keep UW In Top 20 at NCAAs

March 27, 2009

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The University of Washington men's swim team kept its hopes alive of its first top-20 NCAA finish in 30 years, earning points in both the 200 medley relay and 800 free relay Friday to finish day two of the NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in 17th place.

The Huskies, who have not finished in the top-20 since a ninth-place showing in 1978, earned 13 more points Friday to sit 17th out of 36 teams heading into the final day of competition.

UW scored in the 200 medley relay, finishing 15th in 1:27.27, and the 800 medley relay, where they placed 12th in 6:24.73. Senior Jon Banker, sophomore Russ Mahan, sophomore Andre Blyth and senior Evan Bernier led the 200 medley relay team to four points while Bernier, Scott Spansail, David Bai and Ben Aaberg earned UW nine points in the 800 free relay as they earned honorable mention All-American status in both event.

UW had six individuals competing in events, led by Mahan and Yonatan Cohen, who both posted top-25 finishes in the 100 breast. Mahan finished 19th in 53.62, just .03 shy of his personal-best. Cohen was not far behind in 24th, touching the wall in 53.83.

Bernier also had a top-25 finish, placing 24th in the 100 fly in 46.43. Banker, meanwhile, placed 28th in the 100 back in 47.39.

Also competing Friday for the Huskies was Spansail, who finished 40th in the 200 free in 1:36.86. Blyth also competed individually, placing 42nd in the 100 fly in 47.90.

The Huskies wrap up competition on Saturday with five more individual races. Banker will compete in the 200 back, Bernier swims in the 100 free, Cohen competes in the 200 breast, Blyth in the 200 fly and Spansail in the 1650 where he is seeded fourth. Prelims get underway at 10 a.m. PT while finals take place at 5 p.m. PT.

The NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championships will be broadcast tape-delayed on ESPN2 on April 1 at Noon PT.

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