In one of the first true marquee matchups of 2015, the Texas Longhorns rolled to dominating men’s and women’s wins against the Auburn Tigers in Auburn, Alabama.
The ‘Horns combined to win 23 of 32 events, flashing some speed in a few races and merely finding a way to get a hand on the wall first in others.
The Texas women went about their win in an interesting way, dropping both relays, but sweeping 12 of 14 individual events to pick up a 176-124 victory.
The Longhorns had an astounding 6 different athletes double up in individual wins, stymieing the Auburn attack at every turn.
Senior Kaitlin Pawlowicz started the first run on individual events for Texas, going 9:47.63 to win the 1000 free. That topped the field by over 6 seconds, and she would go on to win the 500 in 4:49.21, another wide winning margin.
Second in that race was teammate Madisyn Cox (4:52.44), who won two events of her own. Cox took the 200 free with a nice 1:48.00, then came back in the final individual race to take the 200 IM with a 2:00.54.
Senior Kelsey Leneave ruled her stroke on the day, sweeping the butterfly races. Her 1:58.66 topped the 200 fly easily, and she snuck into the 53s with a 53.91 to win the 100 fly.
Also sweeping stroke disciplines were Tasija Karosas (100 back in 54.28, 200 back in 1:56.29) and Gretchen Jaques (100 breast in 1:00.67, 200 breast in 2:13.64).
The only events where Auburn could land a blow were the sprint freesyles, the Tigers’ bread and butter. Allyx Purcell dominated those races, and also helped both Auburn relays triumph.
Purcell was 22.64 to nip Jaques in the 50 free, then went 49.39 to take the 100. She led the 200 medley team to victory in 1:39.27, and led off the winning 400 free relay, which was 3:19.71.
Also doubling for Texas was diver Emma Ivory-Ganja.
In contrast to their women, the Texas men got the job with a wide range of faces, as 9 different men won events and only one Longhorn doubled up in wins.
That was Brett Ringgold, the freshman sprinter who’s becoming a huge part of the Texas attack. Ringgold won the 50 free (20.16) and 100 free (44.14), but his biggest contribution was his anchor leg on the 200 medley relay. In a tight battle with Auburn out of the gate, Ringgold split an outstanding 19.28 to seal the win for Texas.
The Longhorns were 1:27.88 to nip Auburn’s 1:28.03. In addition to Ringgold’s big split, fellow freshman Joseph Schooling was 20.78 on the fly leg. Auburn was also quick on the back half: though results didn’t show splits for their final two legs, butterflyer Arthur Mendes and freshman freestyler Jacob Molacek averaged 20.4 between them, meaning one (or both) had very nice mid-season splits.
Texas still struggled fairly hard on the breaststroke leg – John Murray was 25.51 and Austin Temple 25.31 on the “B” – and lost well over half a second to Auburn’s Michael Duderstadt. But if the Longhorns can come up with a breaststroker by NCAAs (and Murray is typically a major taper swimmer), the back half of that relay is looking extremely dangerous.
Maybe the swim of the night came in the 1000 free, where Texas sophomore Clark Smith rocketed to #2 in the NCAA this season with a season-best 9:01.09. Smith is coming off a disappointing freshman season, but has been heating up so far in his sophomore campaign, and this swim continued that trend in a big way.
Auburn got a pair of hard-fought wins from sophomore Joe Patching, who’s been their heart and soul so far this year. Patching claimed the 200 back in 1:44.83, then took the 200 IM to close the meet with a 1:47.78 that blew the rest of the field out of the water.
That 200 IM was part of back-to-back Auburn wins to close the meet. After the IM, the Tigers rolled to a 2:57.38 win in the 400 free relay, getting a 43.49 anchor leg from the freshman Molacek.
Texas freshman Jack Conger narrowly denied Patching his third win of the meet in the 100 back. Conger was 48.10 to Patching’s 48.68 early on in the meet.
The teams also dueled in the breaststrokes, with sophomores Michael Duderstadt and Will Licon going head-to-head. Duderstadt won the 100 breast 54.10 to 54.52, but Licon struck back to take the 200 for Texas 1:58.29 to 1:58.38.
Texas’s John Martens and Joseph Schooling combined to sweep the butterflys, with Martens taking the 200 (1:47.38) and Schooling the 100 (47.59). Other individual winners for Texas were Clay Youngquist in the 200 free (1:37.21) and Sam Lewis in the 500 free (4:27.48).
The teams split diving, with Mark Anderson claiming 1-meter for Texas (384.30) and Fraser McKean taking 3-meter for Auburn (401.63).
That wrapped up a 156-135 win for Texas, which improves to 4-1 on the season.
Up next, the Longhorns will take on Georgia Saturday in one of the best matchups of the entire season so far, and the Tigers will host the Ralph Crocker Invite next weekend.