USA Swimming National Team swimmer Sarah Denninghoff will return to the University of Texas for her final year of eligibility, she revealed in an interview on Tuesday with USA Swimming’s inquisitor extraordinaire Bob Schaller.
In the conversation in the 20 Question Tuesday feature, Denninghoff discusses the hip injury that cost her last season.
My hip was a little too big, so they had to shave down the bone a little bit as well as replace the labrum,” Denninghoff said. “So there was some overuse, and it got to the point where I couldn’t handle it anymore. But they really did a great job repairing it, and I am grateful to everyone involved in fixing it and helping me heal and get better.”
In her time away, the backstroker also talks about her recent marriage to Josh Bennett, making her now “Sarah Denninghoff Bennett.”
Denninghoff first earned the injury in October, 2013 after a breakout summer that left her on the USA Swimming National Team. In the interview, she discusses that while it was disappointing to lose a season right after her breakthrough, it was that success that motivated her to not just walk away after the injury.
The return on a red shirt (she had no official swims for the Longhorns’ NCAA program last season) of Denninghoff comes at a great time for Texas. The team is graduating both their best sprint backstroker (Lily Moldenhauer) and their three best sprint freestylers (Ellen Lobb, Sam Tucker, Moldenhauer) from last year’s team.
Denninghoff is a 13-time All-American in two seasons at Arizona and one at Texas. At her best, if she can pick up those long course improvements made in the summer of 2013, she will be an NCAA scorer in the 50 free (22.62) or 100 free (48.17) and a title contender in the 100 back (51.33) and 200 back (1:52.49). With a 1:44.9 in the 200 free on a flat-start, she’s going to be a big, big part of at least 4 Texas relays at NCAA’s.
The Texas women were 9th at the 2014 NCAA Championship meet, but as mentioned have those three big graduations, plus diver Maren Taylor, to try and fill in for to remain in the top 10.