The anticipation in College Station, Texas was building on night 1, as news spread that Dara Torres would be in the house on Saturday for her final pre-Olympic tuneup, but on Friday it was the Longhorns who stole the show. In the home of their rivals, they looked very good on night one, stealing 6 of the 10 event victories.
The top performance of the night had to be Jimmy Feigen’s 49.24. That’s the 4th-best time of his career, easily the fastest he’s been in-season, and behind only his 48.99 from last summer’s Nationals in textile. This is sort of a standard path for Feigen – about 6 weeks out from his big meet, he usually has a very good swim, except that this one is way better than any of the previous. Though his best chance in an individual swim for the Olympics is the 50 free, he’s still in the hunt for a relay spot in the 100 to go with it.
Dax Hill took 2nd in 51.00, followed by Charlie Moore in 51.28. Texas swimmers actually took the top 5 spots in the race.
Another Longhorn who just wrapped up her collegiate career, Karlee Bispo, had a strong swim to win the 100 free in 56.28. That’s not quite to the same standard as Feigen’s swim, but much like Feigen she’s often very good at these Senior Circuit meets.
She was followed closely by two-time Venezuelan Olympian Arlene Semeco in 56.54. She’s already qualified for the Olympics, and as such decided to stay in the states (she trains in Florida) rather than travelling home for the Venezuelan Championships this week. That’s not a great time for her, but the 28-year old veteran has had big tapers the last few seasons.
Laura Sogar also put up a fantastic time in the 200 breaststroke, her best event, with a 2:27.77, which is the fastest she’s been since she was 17 and on the Youth World Championship Team. That’s a fantastic mark for her, and blows away her previous in-season best – she’d never been under 2:30 outside of a championship meet. If that’s a true reading, then she could have a huge Olympic Trials meet. There’s been some transition going on with the women in Austin the past few months, but so far it doesn’t seem to have disrupted her training.
She blew away Texas A&M’s Breeja Larson, who was 2nd in 2:31.36. Watch this race in the 100 on Saturday, as that should be a big indicator of her progress in long course.
The Aggies, racing at home, seemed pretty tired at this meet. Cammile Adams won the 400 free, but only in a 4:19.28. But she’s another big-taper swimmer, so take it more as an indicator of her training level rather than a bad swim.
But the Longhorns were on fire, and it was punctuated by the 3:55.81 from Jake Ritter to win the 400 free. Ritter might be Eddie Reese’s latest masterpiece; when recruited he looked like a guy who would add depth to a good Longhorn distance group and target being an NCAA scorer as a junior or senior. But in the past 6 months has just exploded. That 3:55 is his best time by 5 seconds, and mirrors his improvement in yards.
Full, Live Results available here. Dara swims Saturday.