2020 Women’s Big 12 Fan Guide: Texas Looking at 8th Straight Title

Big 12 – Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships

  • Wednesday, February 26 – Saturday, February 29
  • Mylan Park, Morgantown, WV (Eastern Time Zone)
  • Defending Champion: Texas men (23x) & Texas women (7x) (results)
  • Live Results
  • Streaming: ESPN+ (Paid Web Service)
  • Championship Central: Here
  • Detailed Timeline: Here
  • Psych Sheets: Here

The Texas Longhorns are poised for an 8th consecutive Big 12 title, not having lost this meet since Texas A&M moved to the SEC in 2012. The Big 12 is the smallest Power Five (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC) for swimming, with only 5 women’s teams and 3 men’s teams. West Virginia’s brand new natatorium at Mylan Park is playing host to the meet this year.

SCHEDULE

Wednesday (2/26):

  • 200 Medley Relay
  • Men’s 1-meter diving
  • 800 Free Relay

Thursday (2/27):

  • 500 Free
  • 200 IM
  • 50 Free
  • Women’s 1-meter diving
  • 400 Medley Relay

Friday (2/28):

  • Women’s 3-meter diving
  • 400 IM
  • 100 Fly
  • 200 Free
  • 100 Breast
  • 100 Back
  • Men’s 3-meter diving
  • 200 Free Relay

Saturday (2/29):

  • Women’s platform diving
  • 200 Back
  • 200 Free
  • 1650 Free
  • 200 Breast
  • 200 Fly
  • Women’s platform diving
  • 400 Free Relay

STARS

Iowa State – Emily Haan (freshman backstroker), Anna Andersen (junior sprint freestyler), Keely Soellner (senior distance freestyler/IM’er), Martha Haas (sophomore breaststroker), Nolwenn Nunes (freshman freestyler/flyer) – Anna Andersen leads the Cyclones in the 50 and 100 free, sitting on scoring position in both, as well as the 200 free. Keely Soellner looks like she could potentially crack the top 8 in the 200, 500, and 1650 free. Martha Haas is the top breaststroker for the Cyclones, and is poised for A final appearances in both breast events. Nolwenn Nunes is the #2 seed in the 1650, and is in position to potentially make the A final in the 500 free. Emily Haan is an A final threat in the 100 back.

Kansas – Jenny Nusbaum (senior freestyler), Lauryn Parrish (junior freestyler/backstroker), Crissie Blomquist (junior freestyler) Jiayu Chen (senior diver), Kate Steward (sophomore breaststroker) –Kansas picked up another great diver this season in Jiayu Chen. We’ll see how she stacks up against the Texas squad at her first conference meet. Sophomore Kate Steward is the top seed in both breaststroke events by considerable margins. Steward is the defending champion in the 200 breast. Crissie Blomquist will enter the meet as the 3rd seed in the 1650. Jenny Nusbaum looks poised for top 8 finishes in the 100, 200, and 500 freestyles. Lauren Parrish is seeded for the A final in the 200 back, and the B finals in the 200 free and 500 free. She made the A final in the 200 free and 200 back last year.

TCU – Anna Munster (senior freestyler), Sheridan Schreiber (freshman breaststroker), Kaeleigh Rice (junior IM/backstroker) – Sheridan Schreiber is seeded 4th in the 100 breast, and looks to be in scoring position in the 200 breast. Anna Munster is a bubble A finalist in the 50 and 100 free, and is in scoring position in the 100 fly. Kaeleigh Rice was an A finalist in both the 400 IM and 200 back last year.

Texas – Claire Adams (senior backstroker), Evie Pfeifer (junior IM’er/distance freestyler), Bridget Semenuk (freshman sprint freestyler), Miranda Heckman (freshman freestyler), Kelly Pash (freshman butterflier/IM’er), Lauren Case (senior butterflier), Julia Cook (sophomore sprint freestyler/backstroker), Alison Gibson (senior diver) – Kelly Pash has been electric in her freshman season. Pash could any number of events at this meet, but it seems most likely she’ll be in the 200 IM, 200 fly, and either the 200 free or 400 IM. She’s the favorite in the 200 IM and 200 fly, while her teammates could give her a battle in the 200 free and 400 IM. Fellow freshmen Miranda Heckman and Bridget Semenuk will also be vying for the title in the 200 free. Heckman will also be the #2 see in the 500 fre, and #4 in the 100 free. Semenuk leads the field in the 50, and is #2 in the 100 free. Senior Claire Adams is looking to defend her conference titles in the 100 back and 100 free. Adams also swam the 50 free and 100 fly exhibition last year. Junior Evie Pfeifer is the top seed in the 500 free, 1650 free, and 400 IM, and will be looking to defend her Big 12 title in the IM. Sophomore Julia Cook looks like she may be making the switch from the 100 free to the 200 backstroke this season. She holds the top 200 back time in the conference this season, and finished 2nd in the 50 free and 100 back at this meet last year. Senior Lauren Case is looking to be one of the top finishers in the 500 free, 100 fly, and 200 fly. Senior diver Alison Gibson is one of the top divers in the NCAA this season.

West Virginia – Morgan Bullock (senior flier/IMer), Julia Nilton (senior sprinter), Emily Haimes (senior diver), Mathilde Kaelbel (senior breaststroker/freestyler)  – Morgan Bullock has been a star for the Mountaineers over the course of her career, and she’ll get to be at her home pool for Big 12s this year. She could be crack the top 3 again in the 100 fly, 200 fly, and 200 IM this year after finishing 3rd in the 100 fly and 200 IM, and 2nd in the 200 fly last year. Julia Nilton has been an important relay piece for the Mountaineers over her career, and finished 3rd and 6th in the 50 and 100 free respectively last year. Freshmen Emily Haimes and Mathilde Kaelbel each look poised for A finals appearances at their first Big 12 Champs.

SHOWDOWNS

50 FREE

Texas’ Grace Ariola is the defending Big 12 champion in the 50, however, Ariola is dealing with an undisclosed medical condition, and has only been as fast as 22.65 this season. Ariola won with a 22.09 last season. This year, Texas teammates Bridget Semenuk and Julia Cook are set to battle for the title. Semenuk leads the conference this year with a 22.23, while Cook is sitting at #2 with a 22.47. Cook was the runner-up last year, where she swam a 22.32. West Virginia’s Julia Nilton was 3rd last year, swimming a 22.42.

100 FREE

Arguably Texas’ strongest event, they hold the top 6 times in the conference this season, which are also the only 6 times under 50 seconds in the conference this season. Defending champ Claire Adams (Texas) currently leads the conference with a 48.40. Bridget Semenuk is right behind her with a 48.51, Kelly Pash has been 49.14, Kyla Leibel has been 49.39, Julia Cook has been 49.45, and Miranda Heckman has been 49.74. Adams won the event with a 47.82, and has a personal best of 47.32. Cook is has the next fastest best time in the field, coming in at 47.82, although she may end up swimming the 200 back instead of the 100 free. It seems unlikely that Pash will swim the 100 free either, since she currently leads the conference in the 200 fly.

200 FREE

Defending champion Joanna Evans has since graduated, as well as the 2019 runner-up, Quinn Carrozza. Texas brought in 3 freshmen that hold the top 3 times in the conference this season. Kelly Pash leads with a 1:44.41, Miranda Heckman is 2nd with a 1:45.72, and Bridget Semenuk is 3rd at 1:45.86. Kansas’ Jenny Nusbaum was 3rd last year with a 1:46.70. Pash could end up swimming the 100 fly instead of the 200 free, however.

100 BACK

Claire Adams is the defending champion in this event as well, having won last year with a 51.17. Julia Cook was also the runner-up in the 100 back last year with a 51.84. Adams and Cook are also 1-2 in the conference this season with top times of 51.29 and 51.67 respectively. They have lifetime bests of 50.95 and 51.64 respectively. Behind Adams and Cook, Kansas’ Manon Manning sits in 3rd in the conference this year with her lifetime best of 52.75.

200 IM

West Virginia’s Morgan Bullock is the fastest returner from last year in the 200 IM. Bullock was 1:58.96 for 3rd last season, and Kansas’ Kate Steward is the next fastest returner, having finished 4th in 2:00.33 last year. Steward has already been faster this season, clocking a 1:59.21. Texas freshman Kelly Pash is leading the conference this season with a 1:57.10.

SELECTIONS

Texas isn’t at any real risk of losing the title this year, although Kansas looks like they very well could outscore their 754.5 points from last year. Below are the Swimulator projections, along with our SwimSwam picks. Reminder: the Swimulator does not include diving events, and it uses season bests, not lifetime bests to formulate its results.

Swimulator Team Projections

Texas 886.5
Kansas 735
Iowa State 439.5
TCU 393
West Virginia 371

SwimSwam Picks

  1. Texas
  2. Kansas
  3. West Virginia
  4. Iowa State
  5. TCU

Texas has had a stranglehold on the Big 12 since texas A&M left, and given they have the top swimming and diving squads in the conference, they’re our pick to win the title. Kansas looks to be a clear #2 this year, with a swimming squad that has been steadily improving, and a solid group of divers. The Jayhawks have a handful of events where they look set for very strong showings, including the breaststrokes and backstroke events.

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Superfan
8 months ago

Texas women need a breastroker BADLY!!!! I don’t see their medley relays being top 8 without one.