Not pulling their punches until exhibitioning the final relay (where they finished 1-2), the Arkansas Razorbacks crushed North Texas 207-91 in a dual meet on Saturday: a follow-up to their less traditional relay event (with SMU and Houston as well) on Friday evening.
Arkansas again looked very sharp, especially from their sprint group. Slovenian sophomore Nina Drolc looks like she’s going to have another banner year, and perhaps even better than last year, in her second season in the United States. She anchored the Razorbacks to a win in the meet-opening 200 medley relay with a 23.08 (combining with Anna Mayfield, Nikki Daniels, and Susanna White for that win).
Arkansas, even as they’ve gotten better in the sprints the last two years, haven’t lost sight of the distance swimming that had been their bread-and-butter prior to Sean Schimmel’s arrival last season. They took 1-2 in the 1000 free, including a 10:27.85 from Lauren Jordan, and also won the 500 free, with a 5:05.33 from Nicole Menzel.
Jordan also took 2nd in the 200 back in 2:04.70, though that was well behind sophomore teammate Anna Mayfield in 2:00.99.
The biggest news coming out of this meet, though, was probably in the 200 free. There, Arkansas went 1-4, led by Menzel in 1:52.92; North Texas, however, was without Kimberly Phillips, who last season as a sophomore became the Mean Green’s first ever NCAA Championship qualifier, and a look at their roster shows that she’s no longer on it. With a new coaching staff in Denton (the old one left this summer for Utah), we could be looking at a transfer from Phillips.
Other standout swims included a 51.38 flat-start from Nina Drolc in the 100 free. Nikki Daniels won the women’s 100 breaststroke in 1:04.96; she hasn’t been as good early this year as she was last year, when she broke the school record, but she’s typically a slow-starter. Expect her times to come way down by the time the Razorbacks hit the Missouri State dual and Missouri Invite in November.
The higlight for North Texas at this meet came on the three-meter, where Rebecca Taylor and Catherine Johnson finished 1st and 2nd. For Taylor, her score of 288.60 already qualified her for the NCAA Zone D Diving meet. That’s a big pressure to get off in the first dual meet of the season.