After sweeping the relays last night, the Texas men and women picked up right where they left off. They’re living up to the hype of being the heavy favorites for conference champions, having 44 total swimmers coming back for tonight’s finals. While rust orange and white may be the majority of the colors you see going up and down the pool tonight, it’s worth noting that they don’t have the top seed in every event tonight (it’s nice to have a little variety).
Kaitlin Pawlowicz and Kelsey Leneave of Texas led the way in prelims going 1-2 in almost mirror image times, 4:46:16 and 4:46.16. A freshman from Iowa State broke up Texas’s reign of the top eight. Karyl Clarete had a big swim, breaking 4:50 for the first time this season, touching in at 4:49.36. Texas’s Kimmy Phillips swam a 4:49.54 to lock up fourth while another freshman, this time Emma Skelley from West Virginia, touched in fifth with a time of 4:51.62. Megan Sharp (4:51.71) of Kansas sits sixth while Lyndsie Gibson (4:52.39) and Mikayla Winkler (4:52.65) of TCU round out the top 8.
The men’s event showed a little less variety of teams with Texas holding seven of the top 8 spots. Same Lewis took charge, finishing first with a 4:16.16 while Jake Ritter (4:16.30), Clay Youngquist (4:18.27), and Clark Smith (4:18.67) were close behind. Jack Conger currently sits fifth with a 4:18.96 but expect a much bigger swim tonight. Bobby Botton was the final Texas swimmer in the A final, touching in a 4:21.58. West Virginia was able to withhold an ll-Texas final with Deaton Davenport sneaking into the eighth spot with a time of 4:25.79.
Texas freshmen Madisyn Cox took charge in the IM, securing the top seed by over two seconds, touching in a 1:56.29 while her teammate Gretchen Jaques came in second with a 1:58.42. Kansas’ Chelsie Miller had a great swim for herself, shaving off five seconds from her seed time and breaking Kansas’ six year old school record. Miller touched in a time of 1:58.98, eclipsing the old record by a second and a half. Texas would pick up the next four spots: Tasija Karosas (1:59.83), Victoria Cassidy (2:00.40), Skylar Smith (2:01.40), and Shelby Webber (2:01.91). Sarah Deis of Iowa State would pick up the eighth spot with a time of 2:03.34.
Just like the women, Texas picked up another six spots in the men’s A final with Austin Vacek (1:46.50), Will Glass (1:46.76), Will Licon (1:47.14), Grant Rogers (1:47.21), and John Martens (1:47.29) leading the way. Nate Carr, a freshman from West Virginia earned his spot in the final with a time of 1:48.06. Matt Korman of Texas was seventh with a 1:48.16 while another Mountaineer, Jake Querciagrossa, rounded out the top eight in a time of 1:48.69.
The women’s splash and dash will feature the most variety tonight with only four swimmers from Texas, one from Iowa Sate, and two from TCU. Senior Ellen Lobb is seated first by quite a big gap with a 22.18. Second seed went to Amanda Paulson of Iowa State, swimming a 22.86 with Texas’ Sam Tucker the only other swimmer under 23 with a 22.91. Jaimee Gilmore of West Virginia (23.02), Lily Moldenhauer of Texas (23.05), WVU’s Courtney Parenti (23.06), TCU’s Julia Sanders (23.19), and Cheyenne Low of Texas (23.22) finish out the top eight.
West Virginia was the first team to steal away a top seed from Texas. Tim Squires will be in lane four tonight, swimming an impressive 19.45 and breaking WVU’s 8 year old school record. (previous record-19.57). The next five swimmers, all from Texas, were all sub 20 with Charlie Moore (19.57), John Murray (19.72), Kip Darmody (19.75), Matt Ellis (19.85), and Keith Murphy (19.98) securing spots 2-6. Longhorn Tripp Cooper is seated seventh with a 20.03 while West Virginia gets another A final spot with Julien Vialette‘s 20.13
Tune in tonight as finals kick off at 6:00 PM.