2020 BIG 12 SWIMMING & DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- When: Wednesday, February 26th to Saturday, February 29th | Prelims 10:00 am | Finals 6:00 pm
- Where: Aquatic Center at Mylan Park, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV (Eastern Time Zone)
- Defending Champion: University of Texas Men (40x), University of Texas Women (8x) – results
- Live Streaming Links: Thursday finals / Friday finals / Saturday finals
- Championship Central: Here
- Detailed Timeline: Here
- Psych Sheets: Here
- Live Results: Here
It’s day 2 of the Big 12 Championships, with our first individual events of the meet. Thursday will feature the 500 free, 200 IM, and 50 free for both men and women.
Texas swept the relays last night, and the Longhorn women notably hitting an NCAA B cut in their medley relay to lock themselves into an NCAA berth in all five relays.
A few of the big names we should see on day 2:
- NCAA All-American Evie Pfeifer will lead the 500 free after pulling double-duty on both relays last night. She’s got talented freshmen Miranda Heckman and Mary Smutny on her heels.
- Drew Kibler was 9th at NCAAs in the 50 free as a freshman, but the Big 12 meet has previously allowed him to go after the 500 free instead. Kibler is the top seed in front of Sam Pomajevich.
- Texas freshman Kelly Pash leads the 200 IM, but Kansas has its best event set up with seeds #2 (Kate Steward) and #3 (Dannie Dilsaver).
- In the 200 IM, sophomores Matthew Willenbring and Braden Vines lead for Texas, but we also get to see our first postseason appearance for #1-ranked recruit Jake Foster.
- Freshman Bridget Semenuk is the top 50 free seed on a loaded Texas sprint roster that also includes returning NCAA scorer Grace Ariola.
- The men’s 50 free features Texas’s trio of transfers (Maxime Rooney, Alvin Jiang, Chris Staka) along with last year’s freshman standout Daniel Krueger. Keep an eye on West Virginia rookie Hunter Armstrong.
Swimmers with an asterisk (*) appear to be exhibition entrants who can’t compete in the A final. We’ll include them below, but will also note who should make the A final in their place.
Women’s 500 Free – Prelims
- NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 4:35.76
- 2019 NCAA Invite Time: 4:40.92
Top 8 Qualifiers:
- Pfeifer (TX) – 4:40.13
- Nusbaum (KAN) – 4:47.20
- Shiller (TX) – 4:49.65
- Case (TX) – 4:52.65
- Smutny (TX) – 4:52.93
- *Ritch (TX) – 4:53.85
- Bliss (WVU) – 4:54.16
- *Tierney (TX) – 4:55.50
- Blomquist (KAN) – 4:56.70
- Clough (TCU) – 4:56.84
Texas junior Evie Pfeifer easily qualified #1 in the 500 free, going 4:40.13 this morning. Pfeifer was 4:38.4 at mid-season and ranks 13th nationally in the event for now, and her morning swim is a good indicator that she could be bettering that time tonight. It’s very similar to what she was in prelims (4:40.00) of the Minnesota Invite at mid-season.
Kansas senior Jenny Nusbaum returns to the A final after going 4:47.20. She was 4:45.5 for 5th overall last season, the highest non-Texas finisher. Lauren Case of Texas was 6th last year and sits 4th heading into finals.
Junior Logan Shiller of Texas had a nice breakthrough swim, going 4:49.65. Shiller was 4:45 out of high school, but her best collegiate time so far has been a 4:48.9 in-season in February of 2018. She should be able to challenge that in the final tonight. West Virginia’s Emma Bliss (4:54.16) also set herself up well. Bliss was 4:55 in prelims last year before hitting a career-best 4:53.22 in finals.
Texas’s big-name freshmen were well off their best times. Mary Smutny made the A final, but was only 4:52 – she was 4:42 out of high school and 4:45 at mid-season. Miranda Heckman (4:41 out of high school; 4:43 at mid-season) missed the final in 11th at 4:57.07.
Men’s 500 Free – Prelims
- NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 4:11.82
- 2019 NCAA Invite Time: 4:16.04
Top 8 Qualifiers:
- J. Larson (TX) – 4:18.34
- *P. Larson (TX) – 4:19.43
- Kibler (TX) – 4:23.14
- Katz (TX) – 4:24.00
- Neri (TX) – 4:24.97
- Babic (TCU) – 4:25.24
- Pomajevich (TX) – 4:25.87
- *Andrade (TCU) – 4:28.36
- Collins (TX) – 4:29.40
- Chao (TCU) – 4:31.17
Brothers JohnThomas Larson and Peter Larson went 1-2 in the 500 free heats for Texas. JohnThomas, a junior, was 4:18.34. He went 4:15.9 at mid-season and has been 4:15.6 at Big 12s in both of his collegiate seasons so far. Younger brother Peter is a freshman who went 4:19.43 – his third-best swim behind a 4:17.9 and 4:18.6 at the Minnesota Invite in December.
Top seed Drew Kibler was a casual 4:23.14 this morning, well off his mid-season best, but plenty enough to qualify into the A final. Texas took six of the top eight spots, though no Longhorns dropped from seed this morning.
TCU’s Joao Andrade was the only swimmer to better his seed time in prelims. The junior was 4:28.36, seven tenths better than his mid-season rest meet time. Andrade was 4:22 way back in 2017, but only went 4:24.6 last season. He’s into the A final along with freshman teammate Dusan Babic.
Women’s 200 IM – Prelims
- NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:53.66
- 2019 NCAA Invite Time: 1:56.79
Top 8 Qualifiers:
- Pash (TX) – 1:57.79
- Steward (KAN) – 1:59.99
- Dilsaver (KAN) – 2:00.02
- Pollok (TX) – 2:00.68
- Bullock (WVU) – 2:00.69
- Downey (KAN) – 2:01.56
- Riekhof (KAN) – 2:02.53
- Rice (TCU) – 2:03.34
Texas freshman Kelly Pash is the top qualifier in the IM, going 1:57.79 this morning. That’s solidly faster than she was in prelims at the mid-season rest meet (1:58.11) and suggests she could challenge her lifetime-best (1:57.10) tonight, considering she swam that time in finals at mid-season. Pash is currently 35th in the nation in this event and probably needs to go faster to procure an NCAA invite, though she’s likely already in through the 200 fly.
Kansas had its best event of the meet so far, stacking four swimmers into the A final. Kate Steward was fourth last year without breaking two minutes, and went 1:59.99 this morning to sit second. That’s seven tenths from her career-best and just her second swim ever under two minutes. Cal transfer Dannie Dilsaver went 2:00.02 – that’s the best swim she’s had since the 2017-2018 season, when she broke two minutes three times between mid-season and the Pac-12 Championships. Haley Downey (6th) and Paige Riekhof (7th) are also into the A final. Downey would have been in the A last year but took a DQ, and Riekhof was 8th in 2019.
Men’s 200 IM – Prelims
- NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 1:41.34
- 2019 NCAA Invite Time: 1:43.82
Top 8 Qualifiers:
- Willenbring (TX) – 1:45.26
- *Artmann (TX) – 1:45.88
- Corbeau (TX) – 1:45.94
- Foster (TX) – 1:46.17
- *Harder (TX) – 1:46.42
- Vines (TX) – 1:48.04
- Dixon (WVU) – 1:48.89
- Harlan (WVU) – 1:48.93
- Kay (WVU) – 1:49.55
- Silins (TCU) – 1:49.91
Texas showed off its youth in the men’s IM, putting three freshmen and two sophomores in the top six. Sophomore Matthew Willenbring is the top qualifier at 1:45.26, very similar to his prelims time last year (1:45.33) before he went 1:43.4 for second place.
Rookie Caspar Corbeau dropped a little more than a second off his best, going 1:45.94 for third. Fellow freshman Jake Foster was fourth (1:46.17) and Ethan Harder fifth (1:46.42) in a good showing for the Texas freshman class. Foster was about three seconds from his best, set at mid-season, but Harder is only about a half-second from a career-best time.
Senior Josh Artmann is the lone upperclassman at the top, going 1:45.88. Braden Vines (sophomore) also made the top 8, returning after a third-place finish in 1:44.0 last year.
West Virgina’s David Dixon and Josh Harlan also return to the top 8 from last year.
Women’s 50 Free – Prelims
- NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 21.66
- 2019 NCAA Invite Time: 22.24
Top 8 Qualifiers:
- Semenuk (TX) – 22.34
- Haimes (WVU) – 22.87
- Leibel (TX) / Nilton (WVU) – 22.98
- Straight (KAN) – 23.02
- Manning (KAN) – 23.03
- Wheeler (TX) – 23.10
- Ariola (TX) – 23.11
Texas freshman Bridget Semenuk was 22.34 this morning, only about a tenth off her season-best from December. Semenuk is right on last year’s NCAA invite times in both the 50 and 100 frees (Invite times last year were 22.24 and 48.56; she’s been 22.23/48.51), so she’s probably got reason to shave down and gear up for a big swim tonight.
It was a great morning for youth in this race – West Virginia rookie Emily Haimes dropped almost four tenths of a second, going from 23.24 at mid-season to 22.87 this morning. Haimes is a British prospect with limited short course yards experience.
Texas freshman Kyla Leibel tied for third with West Virgina senior Julia Nilton. Nilton was third last year in 22.4, so she should have room to drop from 22.9 this morning. Leibel has been 22.8 already this year.
Last year’s Big 12 champ and NCAA scorer Grace Ariola nearly missed the A final here, going just 23.11. That’s more than a second slower than her winning time (22.09) from last year.
Senior Claire Adams, meanwhile, swam exhibition but put up a 22.36, the second-best time of the prelims field.
Men’s 50 Free – Prelims
- NCAA ‘A’ Cut: 18.96
- 2019 NCAA Invite Time: 19.38
Top 8 Qualifiers:
- Krueger (TX) – 19.33
- Rooney (TX) – 19.53
- *Huerta (TX) – 19.82
- *Bowman (TX) – 19.87
- Staka (TX) – 19.93
- Armstrong (WVU) – 20.20
- O’Shea (WVU) – 20.22
- Van Wyk (WVU) – 20.28
- Neaveill (WVU) – 2.040
- *Varozza (TX) – 20.42
- *Park (TX) – 20.49
- *Crane (TX) – 20.56
- Pedersen (TCU) – 20.57
Texas swept the top five spots here, with all five under twenty seconds, though multiple exhibition swimmers will appear to be bumped from that A final. Defending champ Daniel Krueger was a quick 19.33 – that’s actually better than his winning time from last year (19.40), close to the 19.31 he put up at NCAA prelims last year, and tonight he could challenge his 19.19 career-best.
Florida transfer Maxime Rooney was 19.53 for second, and Alabama transfer Chris Staka will follow him into the A final. 19.8 Jacob Huerta and 19.8 Luke Bowman appear to be exhibition swimmers with asterisks on live results, but qualified 3rd and 4th.
West Virginia rookie Hunter Armstrong was 20.20 and could challenge his lifetime-best 19.75 tonight in the final. His teammate Christopher O’Shea is also into the top 8 in 20.22.