200 yard medley relay
The meet couldnt’ve gotten off to a better start for the Texas Longhorns and Missouri Tigers, and couldn’t have gone worse for Texas A&M. The Longhorns got a great lead-off split of 21.77 from Cole Cragin en route to a 1:25.40 winning time. This was probably the most doubtful event for the Longhorns, and with a relatively easy win here, they appear lined up for a sweep of the meet. Additionally, this time ranks them fourth in the country this season, Missouri had four solid splits on their relay, including a 20.75 from senior Anders Melin that was the fastest in the field.
You can’t overestimate the importance of one race, but this is one that A&M didn’t expect to lose. The silver lining is a fantastically fast 24.06 split from the relay’s lone senior, Nathan Lavery, on the breaststroke leg. The A&M would later time-trial the race in a much-faster 1:26.41. In that redo, Lavery split an astounding 23.87.
Texas A&M bounced back in the diving thanks to a great performance of 426.00 from Grant Nel. In past years, this was Nel’s weaker of the two springboard events, but that weakness seems to have disappeared. He improved roughly 50 points off of his score from Big 12’s last year, and broke Drew Livingston’s year-old Championship record in the event. Livingston didn’t compete in this event, and Texas could only pick up 5th and 6th place points. Livingston, you will recall, was the 2009 NCAA Champion in this event and placed third last season.
The Missouri Tigers placed second and third in this event, with Dante Jones taking silver at 404.10 points and freshman David Bonuchi in third with 368.10 points. Their ability to keep fighting off A&M’s Cam McLean will be very important in their battle for second place overall.
800 yard freestyle relay
For the first 400 yards, it looked like A&M was going to make a race out of the 800 free relay, as they held a lead at the halfway point. This is thanks in no small part to a solid 1:35.13 leadoff from Balazs Makany. Texas edged ahead thanks to a 1:35.51 on the third split from Scott Jostes, but A&M hung on their hip. That is, until Dax Hill hit the water on the anchor. He pulled away in 1:34.51 to give the Longhorns a handy win in 6:21.67. A lot of people expected a better time from the Longhorns, especially after Florida posted a 6:13 at SEC’s, but they likely didn’t show all of their cards in this race. They also have a nice little habit of sticking someone totally unexpected on this relay at NCAA’s that comes out of nowhere with a 1:33 split (it was Caskey last year).
Thanks to an great 1-4-7 placing on the 1-meter, the Texas A&M men actually have a lead at this point. This reaffirms the notion that relays don’t mean a whole lot in team scoring in conference meets. Missouri sits second, and the Longhorns are in third. It should take about two events tomorrow for Texas to erase this deficit.
1. Texas A&M 122
2. Missouri 117
3. Texas 107