This meet was totally dominated by youth. Texas coach Kim Brackin and Texas A&M coach Steve Bultman have been on fire with their last few recruiting classes, and both have done an excellent job of developing that talent too. Here’s a factoid that will blow your mind: out of the 16 individual events, including diving, only a single junior earned a gold medal, and no events were won by seniors. That means that more events were won by freshman (5) than juniors and seniors combined (3).
Texas’ Karlee Bispo broke the mold (though only slightly) by being the only three-event winner of the meet. She took titles in the 50 and 100 freestyles, as well as the 200 IM, and none of those races were even close. If this meet had to be boiled down to a single difference between the two teams, it would be Bispo in the sprint freestyles. A&M didn’t have anyone that could match her in the individuals or relays, and Bispo led Texas to their 10th Big 12 Championship.
In a young meet, Texas A&M was the youngest team around. Four of their five individual wins were earned by freshmen, with sophomore Maureen McLaine’s win in the mile being the lone exception. Not only that, but these freshman set all-time A&M best marks. Paige Miller broke the school’s 100 back record (52.65), and Breeja Larson broke the school’s 100 breaststroke record (59.27). Neither of those marks were slow marks either, as they were held by Julia Wilkinson and Alia Atkinson, who each won an individual National Championships for the Aggies last season. Cammile Adams also broke Rita Medrano’s 200 fly school record, with Medrano in the lane next to her.
1. Texas 948
2. Texas A&M 931
3. Mizzou 588.5
4. Kansas 409.5
5. Nebraska 305.0
6. Iowa State 176.0
Races You Need to Know About
-In the 100 breaststroke, two great young swimmers squared off. Texas A&M’s Breeja Larson broke the meet record in prelims, but Texas’ Laura Sogar seemed destined for the win. The two were nose-and-nose throughout the race. Larson would throw up a great turn to take a lead, but Sogar would fight back with her fast turnover on top of the water. Cat-and-mouse, back-and-forth, the two raced. On the final turn though, Larson pushed off sideways, and thus was unable to push past Sogar. With the Longhorn sophomore in the lead on the first stroke, there was no way that Larson was going to catch her. Sogar’s winning time was a Big 12 record of 58.83, compared to Larson’s 59.32 (she was 59.27 in prelims).
-In the 200 yard IM, Karlee Bispo showed that she was more than just a freestyler, where she has focused most of her efforts. She is still a very good freestyler, but possibly her highest finish at NCAA’s will be this 200 IM. Her mark of 1:55.15 will be the third seed at NCAA’s, and is a Big 12 Championship Record.
-In the 200 fly, A&M’s Cammile Adams took a sizable win in a time of 1:53.66. In 2009, Adams placed 4th in this event at USA-Swimming Long Course Nationals. The winner of that event was former Texas Longhorn Kathleen Hersey. Though Hersey is not swimming for Texas this year (it remains to be seen whether or not she will be back next year), it would have been one heck of a race if she had. Adams did the best that she could by nipping Hersey’s Championship Record by .02 seconds. Anyone is going to have a hard time beating USC’s Katinka Hosszu, but she is almost a lock to be the first A-finalist in the 200 fly since Hersey placed 2nd in 2009.
-In the 200 back, the Missouri Tigers took the only race of the meet not won by Texas or Texas A&M. When interviewed, winner Dominique Bouchard commented that she and her teammates had a great deal of confidence in their coaching staff, led by new coach Greg Rhodenbaugh, and that confidence showed throughout the meet. But nowhere did it show more than in this race. Besides Bouchard’s Big 12 Conference Record swim of 1:52.02, Missouri was second into this race too (by .01) when Lauren Lavigna outtouched A&M’s Lindsay King in 1:54.18. The water is turning in Missouri, and if Rhodenbaugh isn’t offered the head coaching job back at Arizona (where he used to work), this conference might become a three-team race a few years down the line.
Swimmer of the Meet–Karlee Bispo, Jr., Texas-Bispo was a pretty clear-cut winner here. There were plenty of great swims in the meet, and this meet will go down as a standard of speed that all future Big 12 Championships will be measured against, Bispo was the star. Not only did she win her three individuals, she was also the best swimmer on four Big 12 Championship relays for the Longhorns. She was the real difference-maker in this meet, and that earned her this award.
Honorable Mention: Laura Sogar, Soph., Texas
Coach of the Meet–Kim Brackin, Texas-Brackin had a tough job this season. After a disappointing 2010, there was undoubtedly frustration within her young team. But she held them together, and led them to a great Big 12 Championship. This was not an easy win, either. They had to fight for almost every win, and did so on the strength of a lot of touch-outs and over-performances. On the final day, when all eyes were locked on the scoreboard, Texas outperformed their seeds, whereas A&M slightly underperformed, and this earns her the honor.
Honorable Mention: Steve Bultman, Texas A&M
Freshman of the Meet-Cammile Adams, Fr., Texas-We already discussed Adams’ exploits in the 200 fly, that resulted in a Championship Record. Though that was her best swim, it wasn’t her only win or even her only record-setting performance on the day. She also victored in the 500 free, in a Championship Record of 4:39.14. Furthermore, she was second in the 400 IM in 4:07.64, which is just shy of an automatic qualifying time. This was a great first Big 12 meet of what will without a doubt be many, many more.
Honorable Mention: Sarah Henry, Fr., Texas A&M
Diver of the Meet–Maren Taylor, Soph., Texas-Taylor bookended the meet’s diving events, with a win in both the opening 3-meter and the closing platform event. But of the two, the platform was definitely the biggest and most important. In knocking off defending champion Janie Potvin of Texas A&M, she caused a big 6-point swing and gave her team a lot of momentum for the final day.
Honorable Mention: Lauren Figueroa, Fr., Missouri