A&M Women, Texas Men Nail Down Big 12 Championships on Final Day of Action

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 0

February 26th, 2012 College

Women’s Platform

A&M’s Janie Potvin ran away with the platform title with a score of 375.00. That broke her own Big 12 Championship Meet record, breaking her score set last season. Scores at this meet are usually inflated as compared to NCAA’s, but this result would have won last year’s national title.

Men’s Platform

Texas’ Drew Livingston won the platform to swing the Diver of the Year honor in his favor over Missouri’s David Bonuchi. Livingston’s score was 471.90.

Women’s 200 Back

Missouri’s Dominique Bouchard is the class of the 200 back in the Big 12, and that showed with a dominant three-second defense of her Big 12 title in 1:53.31. She was much faster at this meet last year, but like much of the Missouri team was slower here than she was at the Tigers’ mid-season rest invite.

The runner-up was A&M’s Tess Simpson in 1:56.30 for 2nd-place, just ahead of teammate Megan Latone in 1:56.32.

Texas’ top finisher Katie Riefenstahl took 5th in 1:57.25.

Men’s 200 Back

The men’s 200 backstroke is one of two events that the Longhorns have never lost at the Big 12 level. Tonight, Kip Darmody became the 10th different Longhorn to win this title, and only the 3rd to do so as a freshman, with a winning mark of 1:43.38. In doing so, he joined the elite company of Aaron Peirsol (2003), and Austin Surhoff (2010) as freshman champions in the event, though Darmody is about two seconds slower than either of them were.

Meanwhile, Surhoff took 2nd in 1:44.71, and Hayes Johnson took 3rd in 1:45.00. Surhoff and Darmody were unlikely rested; Johnson missed a big chunk of his holidaytraining after having eye surgery, and is likely aiming for a last chance meet to ensure his spot at NCAA’s (though his 1:44.1 from earlier this season might be on the verge).

The top non-Longhorn finisher was A&M sophomore Paul-Mark Schweitzer in 1:46.47. Texas’ Cole Cragin touched 8th, but was DQ’ed. He took the race out as hard as he could and as long as he could (which was about 125 yards), before fading to the final position.

Women’s 100 Free

Round one between Karlee Bispo and Shara Stafford was an exciting battle with a strong finish taking the Missouri senior Stafford to the win in the 200 free.

This 100 free came down to an even greater level of excitement, and it was another strong finish by Stafford that took her to the win in 47.96. Bispo was just .01 back in 47.97.

Texas made a dent in A&M’s lead in this race, with Samantha Tucker in 49.69 taking 3rd, and Kelsey Amundsen in 49.74 taking 4th.

A&M continued to struggle in the sprint freestyles, and had only one swimmer under 50 seconds – freshman Sammie Bosma in 49.97 for 5th place. Another Aggie freshman, Kelli Benjamin, took 6th in 50.27, and yet a 3rd frosh Ellen Quirke won the B-Final in 50.05. Their sprint group is talented, but they are young and still need some time to develop. Luckily, the bulk of A&M’s core will be back next year as well.

Men’s 100 Free

After getting out-split on the anchor of the 400 medley relay, Texas’ Jimmy Feigen reasserted his sprint dominance with a win in 42.61. That gives him a career Big 12 sweep of the sprint freestyles (with one tie in the 50 as a freshman) after he completed the 50 quadruple on Thursday.

Feigen’s teammate Dax Hill is having a very good unshaved meet, and took 2nd in 43.46. He’s had one of the more crisp meets for the Longhorns, especially in his two best events the 100 and 200 freestyles.

A&M’s John Dalton, the swimmer who outsplit and out-touched Feigen in Friday’s medley, took 3rd here in 44.30. In a meet where A&M has had very few swims that were anything but fantastic, this was a bit of a head-scratcher: he was sub-42 on a relay anchor.

Dax’s younger brother Kerrington Hill, swimming on Texas’ exhibition squad, marked a 44.72.

Women’s 1650 Free

Texas A&M’s Maureen McLaine defended her Big 12 title in the women’s mile with a time of 16:00.70. She was four-and-a-half seconds faster mid-season, which is the first time that coach Steve Bultman’s claims of A&M being unshaved and unrested is actually showing up, though that’s still a very good swim that would likely score top-8 points in March.

Texas freshman Kelsey Leneave had a big, nine-second drop to touch 2nd in 16:16.41. She wasn’t the Texas freshman who everyone expected to finish in the top two of this race, but her classmate Kaitlin Pawlowicz was 4th in 16:27. That’s 20-seconds slower than she was at December’s Texas Invite.

3rd-place, in between the pair of young Longhorns, was earned by A&M’s Ashley Adams in 16:16.59. Leneave chased her down in a big way in the final 200 yards and made up two seconds to just barely come to the touch.

Kansas’ Rebecca Swank took 5th in 16:38.

We got our answer to the Leah Gingrich question in this race: she swam a 1650/200 fly double on Saturday rather than the 400 IM on Friday. She was 6th in 16:46.27. Without a swim at a last-chance meet, this leaves her without a B-standard in the mile, meaning that she’ll probably go back to the 400 IM at NCAA’s (along with the 500 free and 200 fly).

Men’s 1650 Free

Michael McBroom knew coming into this race that he needed to drop a few seconds off of his best mile time to feel safe as an NCAA qualifier. He added from his season-best in the 500, so there was probably a bit of anxiousness on the Texas sideline about this race.

But McBroom left no doubt with his swim of 14:53.86. Including times from Big Tens and ACC’s, running simultaneously, that makes him 10th in the country this year, and with the inferred heavy training from his other swims (he only stopped lifting last week), is a scary proposition. Still, he won’t be swimming in the final heat of the timed-final race, which makes repeating as champion a tough task.

His teammate Jackson Wilcox didn’t leave the same impression with a 3rd-place finish in 15:23.39. That swim makes the shift in training schedule blatantly honest – he’s good for about one of these terrible swims every spring, about 4 weeks out of a rest meet. Every other year, that has been a January dual meet leading into great swims at Big 12’s. This year, the clunker is coming at Big 12’s leading into the expectation of a good swim at NCAA’s.

The disappointment is that Wilcox’s swim broke up a second sweep for him (along with the 500 free, completed earlier in the meet) of Big 12 Titles. Surely, though, that’s something he’d gladly sacrifice to improve his chance at a NCAA team title.

Texas freshman Jake Ritter, who was in the Longhorns’ rest group, was 2nd in 15:16.59. Missouri freshman Eegan Groome, who like Ritter hails from southwest Houston, took 4th in 15:25. In fact, there were 5 freshman in the top 7 of this race.

Women’s 200 Breast

Texas A&M’s Breeja Larson wasn’t able to pull of quite the same theatrics in the 200 on Saturday as she did with an NCAA Record in the 100 the day before, but she did still sweep the Big 12 Titles with a win in 2:06.94. That was a tenth slower than her Big 12 Championship record from prelims. She’s the 2nd-best in the country this year, behind the 2:05 done by Cal’s Caitlin Leverenz the same night. That could be one of the highlight races of NCAA’s, presuming Larson is able to do in this race what she’s done in the 100.

Texas’ Laura Sogar had by far her best swim of the meet to take 2nd in 2:08.36.

Men’s 200 Breast

Texas’ Nick D’Innocenzo and Eric Friedland are going to be a big key to the team’s success in March. They started that off strong with a 1-2 finish in 1:55.78 and 1:56.59, respectively. Those two are capable of a 1-2 finish at Nationals (they went 1-3 last season), and doing so would come at a crucial point of the meet on the final day.

Missouri’s Igor Kozlovskij took 3rd in 1:57.81, with 100 winner Amini Fonua of Texas A&M touching 4th in 1:58.24.

Women’s 200 Fly

A&M’s Cammile Adams took her 2nd Big 12 Championship of the meet by winning the 200 fly in 1:54.60. That’s her best time this season, but is slower than she was at this same meet last year. That leaves the country still in suspense – after her killer 200 long course in January, there are big expectations of her yards swim (even so far as potentially challenging USC’s Hosszu).

The Aggies took the top 3 spots, with Caroline McElhany taking silver in 1:55.76, and Rita Medrano in 3rd in 1:57.34. McElhany’s swim was a lifetime best for her – in yards, this 200 fly is an event she’s only really found the last year or so.

Texas’ Ellen Lobb took 4th in 1:59.55.

Men’s 200 Fly

 Texas’ Neil Caskey continues on path to end his Longhorn career on a very high note, and defending his Big 12 200 fly title with a win in 1:45.66. Remember that he went his lifetime best in this event in December. It’s great to see him having such a great year – he’s pushed through three years as an important, but overshadowed, piece of this Texas team (including an important role in their 2010 NCAA Championship).

The last two seasons, Caskey has worked himself into a position as one of two-or-three keys to this Longhorn team’s season, and he’s thriving under the spotlight. We saw Caskey surge in confidence in 2010 and run with it; the Longhorns are hoping that he gets another boost this season with even more confidence.

Another young Missouri Tiger (this men’s freshman class is loaded) took 2nd in the 200 fly: Canadian Mack Darragh in 1:46.35. That’s just off of his school record from December, but it does leave Darragh with the two best times in program history.

A&M’s Boris Loncaric, who won the 100 fly, took 3rd here in 1:46.38.

Women’s 400 Free Relay

The Texas women finished the meet on a high note with a win in the closing relay in 4:16.42. That includes a 48.30 leadoff from Karlee Bispo and a 48.89 anchor from Samantha Tucker.

The A&M women took 2nd in 3:18.87. That leaves them in a tough predicament, as that time is unlikely to get invited to NCAA’s. Their 200 free relay will sit squarely on the cut line – ranked 16th in the nation when 15 were invited last year. If neither of these relays get invited (A&M will probably seek a “last chance” meet next weekend), then they will be left without key sprinter Samme Bosma qualifying for NCAA’s.

Missouri, swimming their first relay without Shara Stafford, took 3rd in 3:22.04.

Men’s 400 Free Relay

The Texas men avoided the trap that caught them last year, and closed out the meet with a win in the men’s 400 free relay in 3:52.64. This year, they remembered to list Texas’ B 800 Free Relay as an “exhibition” swim, meaning that it wouldn’t count towards Jimmy Feigen’s four relay limit. That freed him up to anchor the Longhorns in 42.23 to a win. Dax Hill nearly matched him with a good second leg of 42.51.

A&M took 2nd in 2:54.16. This leaves them in a similar situation as the women. They have likely not qualified either of their freestyle relays for an NCAA invite. The potential victim here is Henrik Lindau, who had the slowest split on this relay in 44.17. The best guess is that Amini Fonua or John Wagner move into these sprint relays.

Final Standings

The Texas men run away with another Big 12 Title to continue their streak. This means that both the A&M and Missouri men came, and left, the Big 12 without ever winning the team title.

The A&M women ran away with this title to continue the recent pattern of alternating with the Texas women. The Aggies will leave the Big 12 having won 4 out of their last 6 team titles after not winning any in the first 10 years in the conference.

1.Texas 1014.5
2. Texas A&M 822
3. Missouri 750.5

1. Texas A&M 1019
2. Texas 873
3. Missouri 630
4. University of Kansas 423
5. Iowa State University 328

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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