You never know if Coach Eddie Reese will make a statement to the media. Sometimes he slips away, but when he does do interviews, they’re always interesting and insightful. Congrats to Coach Reese on his 34th consecutive conference championship!
Although most eyes were focused on the University of Texas this weekend at the 2013 Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships, there was an extremely tight team battle for second place brewing between the men and women from TCU and West Virginia. The West Virginia women overtook TCU by only 2 points (576-574), while the TCU men were able to edge past West Virginia by a mere 10 point margin (798-788). Is a new Big 12 rivalry in the making?
Women 200 Backstroke
Sarah Denninghoff completed a sweep of the backstroke events with a victory in the 200 in 1:53.21. This swim moves Denninghoff to 10th in the country this year. Iowa State’s Bre Loeschke, following up a great prelims swim, finished second in 1:56.90. Jess Guro from Texas was third in 1:57.34.
Men 200 Backstroke
For the first time all meet, a men’s event was won by someone not in burnt orange. Cooper Robinson, a sophomore from TCU, upset Texas’ Kip Darmody and Austin Surhoff to finish first in 1:43.35. Darmody touched the wall in 1:43.60 with Surhoff close behind in 1:43.66.
Women 100 Freestyle
The 100 freestyle involved yet another 1-2-3 sweep for the Texas Longhorns. Samantha Tucker seems to have really found her stride this season as she came away with the victory in 48.99. Alex Hooper (49.21) and Ellen Lobb (49.32) finished in second and third.
Men 100 Freestyle
Dax Hill has been very clutch in finals throughout the meet, and tonight was no exception. His final time of 42.71 showed some real speed, great for both the sake of Texas’ relays and points at NCAA’s. In addition, this time moves Hill to 6th in the country. He was followed by John Murray of Texas in 43.53 and Ross Glegg of West Virginia in 43.93. Of note, Texas’ Caleb Weir, swimming out of the B final, actually would have placed second overall with his time of 43.19. Eddie Reese and the Longhorns showed they certainly have a lot of very good options for the 400 free relay at NCAA’s.
Women 1650 Freestyle
Another swim and another win for West Virginia’s Rachael Burnett. She was trailing Kelsey LeNeave of Texas for the first part of the race, but really came on strong after the first 500. Burnett’s final time of 16:04.26 is 13th in the country this year. LeNeave was second in 16:14.36, followed by teammate Kaitlin Pawlowicz in third with a 16:20.44.
Men 1650 Freestyle
Michael McBroom, 2011 NCAA Champion in the 1650 and one of the country’s premier distance swimmers, was certainly on a mission to show the country just what he is made of. He blew away the field in 14:33.43, only 1 second off his school record. This should be a huge confidence boost as he heads into NCAA’s and looks to reclaim his national championship. The race was a one man show, so we would like to think that McBroom will be even faster when he has some competition, and there certainly is not a lack of that as Martin Grodzki of Georgia and Connor Jaeger of Michigan will surely be able to give McBroom a run for his money in Indianapolis. Sam Lewis of Texas was second in 14:54.33 while teammate Jake Ritter was third (15:09.30).
Women 200 Breaststroke
Texas Longhorn Laura Sogar was absolutely dominant in her final event of the meet, finishing first in 2:05.25. She faded slightly on the final 50, but with a little more rest should definitely be able to dip under 2:05. Her time would have won the SEC Championships last weekend against a very tough field, so Sogar has a lot to be pleased with from her swim. This is going to be a great race at NCAA’s with the likes of Sogar, Caitlin Leverenz, Breeja Larson, Annie Zhu, Micah Lawrence… and the list goes on. Gretchen Jaques and Skylar Smith, both of Texas, were second and third in times of 2:11.47 and 2:12.75.
Men 200 Breaststroke
Matt Korman of Texas earned his first Big 12 Championship in a time of 1:59.39. Second place went to Christopher Brill of West Virginia in 2:00.14. Third was TCU’s Mitchell Adshead in 2:00.82.
Women 200 Butterfly
West Virginia and TCU found themselves caught in a very tight team battle this evening. West Virginia really came through in this 200 butterfly with a 1-2 finish led my Mandie Nugent in 1:55.82. Teammate Julie Ogden was second (1:58.71) while Ali Bleasdell of TCU was third in 1:59.12.
Men 200 Butterfly
Tripp Cooper added another Big 12 Championship to his trophy collection, winning the 200 butterfly in 1:45.29. Second place was TCU’s Luis Azarias (1:46.04) with Texas’ Conor Swanson touching third in 1:46.36.
Women Platform Diving
Shelby Cullinan of Texas concluded the final conference meet of her career with a victory, scoring 294.95 on the platform event. Teammates Diana Wilcox and Kristina Hoffman finished second and third, completing another 1-2-3 sweep for the Longhorns.
Men Platform Diving
Will Chandler, coming off of a redshirt, was dominant in the platform event this evening. He had a final score of 341.30, nearly 80 points ahead of second place finisher Curtis Muller of TCU. Third place went to Ricky Bradley, also of TCU.
Women 400 Free Relay
The Texas women completed a sweep of the relays by finishing first in 3:15.83, slightly faster than their performance from Nationals. The quartet of Alex Hooper, Samantha Tucker, Ellen Lobb, and Sarah Denninghoff were dominant throughout the race, leading from the beginning and never looking back. The battle for second was between Kansas, TCU, and West Virginia. Their final times were separated by only 7 tenths of a second, with Kansas taking the silver courtesy of a 49.71 anchor leg from senior Brooke Brull. In addition, all West Virginia needed to do to beat TCU in the team race was to beat them on this relay, and they did just that by finishing third in 3:21.36. TCU was fourth in 3:21.96. In the team race for second, West Virginia ended up beating TCU by just 2 points… and this relay was the deciding factor.
Men 400 Free Relay
In the final event of the evening, Texas did what they have been doing all weekend: winning. The squad of John Murray, Austin Surhoff, Clay Youngquist, and Dax Hill threw down a 2:52.24, the fourth fastest time in the country and what would have been a third place finish at SECs. Dax Hill looked great on the anchor, splitting a 42.05. West Virginia was 2nd in 2:56.94 and TCU was 3rd in 3:01.84. West Virginia’s win over TCU was not enough to overtake them in the team battle, finishing just 10 points behind the horned frogs.
Final Team Scores:
1. University of Texas 1051
2. West Virginia University 576
3. Texas Christian University 574
4. University of Kansas 540.5
5. Iowa State University 486.5
1. University of Texas 985
2. Texas Christian University 798
3. West Virginia University 788
Swimmers of the meet:
Dax Hill & Rachael Burnett
Coaches of the year:
Carol Capitani and Eddie Reese