With little competition to push them, and most of their swimmers just trying to get one last opportunity to race before their NCAA Championship taper, it’s hard to really get a good feel for where the Longhorn men and women are at this Big 12 Championship meet.
They did, however, finish the day with at least one really exciting swim in just about every race in Saturday’s finals, so they’ll have that to hang their hats on as their prepare for the big meets in the next few weeks.
The Texas women took their 2nd-straight conference championship, while for the Texas men this is 35 in a row (not all in the Big 12).
Women’s 200 Backstroke – FINALS
Texas’ Tasija Karosas won her first career Big 12 title with a 1:53.49. The Texas women’s freshman class was a little under-the-radar coming in, but they’ve proved to be quite a successful class, and should start to build a great future under coach Carol Capitani. That swim is Karosas’ lifetime best by eight-tenths of a second.
Second place went to Iowa Sate’s Marissa Engel in 1:56.93, and 3rd belonged to Iowa State’s Yuleya Kuchkarova in 1:57.14.
Men’s 200 Backstroke – FINALS
Texas’ Jack Conger didn’t have the kind of explosive meet that many swim fans are still longing to see from him this week, but even with the assuredly-little rest that he’s been given, he still had a lot of very good swims by most others’ expectations.
He wrapped his meet with a 1:40.56 to win the men’s 200 back and break the Big 12 Meet Record. That’s still a couple of seconds away from his personal best, and from what it’s going to take to win at NCAA’s, but it is the fastest time he’s been in a college meet so far.
Texas’ Patrick Murphy took 2nd in 1:41.35 – the next step in a very successful season without battling the ligament injury with his foot that he had to deal with last season.
West Virginia’s Bryce Bohman, winner of the 100 back on Friday, took 3rd in 1:41.52. He had two outstanding swims, and will be part of a good-sized group of Mountaineers who will swim at the NCAA Championships, including a relay, after they didn’t qualify anybody for that meet last season.
TCU’s Cooper Robinson took 4th in 1:42.58, and Texas freshmen Will Glass (1:43.37) and Austin Vacek (1:45.42) took 5th and 6th, respectively.
Women’s 100 Free – FINALS
Earlier in this meet, Texas senior Ellen Lobb won her third-straight 50 free title. The 100 free, however, had been ever-elusive for her, until this year, where by .01 seconds she upended the defending champion Sam Tucker 48.83-48.84.
This event was a bit of a senior sendoff for the Texas women, as the top three finishers were all Texas seniors: after Lobb and Tucker came Alex Hooper in 49.17.
The top non-Texas swimmer was West Virginia’s Courtney Parenti in 4th with a 50.15, followed by Iowa State’s Amanda Paulson (50.33) and TCU’s Julia Sanders (50.46).
Men’s 100 Free – FINALS
When West Virginia’s Tim Squires won the 50 free Big 12 title on Thursday, he opened a bit of a floodgate for the Mountaineers, and they’ve now rolled their way to event wins in three-straight days. That includes a second win for the junior Squires, who put in a 42.92 to win this men’s 100 free.
Squires was out hard and fought back a closing challenge from Texas sophomore Matt Ellis, who was a 43.03, followed by Charlie Moore (43.38) and John Murray (43.64). While Moore is a senior, Ellis and Murray both have two more years left in this program, and should make a good nucleus for the Texas sprint group during that time.
TCU’s Corey Nix was 5th in 44.12.
Women’s 1650 Free – FINALS
Texas junior Kaitlin Pawlowicz came into the wall first in the 1650 free, but when official results came out after the session, it was revealed that she had been disqualified for an undisclosed infraction. That gave the title to teammate Kelsey Leneave, winner of the 500 free earlier in the meet, in 16:19.62.
Both of those swimmers will be relying on mid-season times, barring any appearances at last-chance meets, to earn their invites to NCAA’s – Leneave in the 200 free and Pawlowicz in the 400 IM. Pawlowicz should be safe, and Leneave looks right now like she’s going to fall on the right side of the bubble, but there will be some nail-biting going on in Austin, especially through the last-chance meets.
Kansas’ Chelsie Miller was 2nd in 16:22.44.
Men’s 1650 Free – FINALS
Last year, Texas’ Sam Lewis as a freshman was a 14:54 in the 1650 freestyle, which got him into the NCAA Championships comfortably
This season, he’ll be banking on his 14:55.44 from Saturday’s final, which gave him the Big 12 title, to get him into the meet. Thus far, he sits in a very good position at 14th (including Big Ten and ACC results) as this mile looks like one of the few races where the invite time might get a little slower this year than it was last year. Given what we’ve seen of Lewis’ quality this season, overall, compared to last, he might just have saved enough to push for points this year as well.
Though they were on the Texas “B” non-scoring team, Nic Munoz (15:04.80) and Jake Ritter (15:05.48) were the 2nd-and-3rd fastest swimmers to touch the wall out of just 9 total entries. Official 2nd-place goes to TCU’s Thor Stenfjord in 15:28.63.
Women’s 200 Breaststroke – FINALS
Texas Gretchen Jaques has been solid throughout this meet, though she was short of her seed time in both the 200 IM and the 100 breast. But she finished with a bang by winning the women’s 200 breaststroke in 2:09.86, which is her lifetime best and first time under 2:10 in the event.
Her freshman teammate Madisyn Cox was a 2:10.33 for 2nd place, and TCU’s Gabrijela Korac took 3rd in 2:12.45.
Men’s 200 Breast – FINALS
Texas freshman Will Licon won his second Big 12 title of his inaugural Big 12 Championship meet by putting in a 1:55.40 in the 200 breaststroke.
His teammate Imri Ganiel, who won the 100, pushed the pace early on, but at about the 125 mark quickly fell off of Licon’s stead splitting to end the race. Ganiel took 2nd in 1:56.58, and West Virginia’s Nate Carr was 3rd in 1:57.96.
Swimming in the B-Final, for Texas’ non-scoring team, was junior Matt Korman, who put in a 1:56.85 for 11th place overall.
Women’s 200 Fly – FINALS
Texas senior Victoria Cassidy began her career at the University of Maryland from 2010 through 2012. After taking last season off when Maryland cut their program, she joined Texas for her 4th and final year of eligibility, and found a way to make a big impact. She won the 200 fly Big 12 Championship in 1:58.38, and collected an NCAA Consideration time to boot.
West Virginia’s Julie Ogden took 2nd in 2:00.53, and TCU freshman Hannelo Strash was 3rd in 2:01.81.
Men’s 200 Fly – FINALS
Texas Tripp Cooper, after missing the firs third-or-so of the season, has come on strong at the end and secured his second NCAA Automatic Qualifying time of the season with a 1:42.64 to win the 200 fly. His fellow junior Clay Youngquist was 2nd in 1:43.39, followed by sophomore John Martens (1:44.75) and freshman Clark Smith (1:47.24) to complete a Longhorn 1-4 finish. There haven’t been as many of those this year as we saw last year, but this one helped Texas end the meet with some confidence.
West Virginia’s Chase Williams was 5th in 1:48.84.
Women’s 400 Free Relay – FINALS
The Texas women are deep this year in the sprint freestyles, and they swam a 3:15.17 to jump just past their in-state (but out-of-conference) rivals Texas A&M for the 9th-best time in the country this year. The winning relay included Ellen Lobb (48.76), Alex Hooper (48.59), Gretchen Jaques (49.20), and Sam Tucker (48.62) for a season-best swim.
Kansas took 2nd in 3:22.06, followed by TCU (3:22.77), Iowa State (3:23.62) , and West Virginia (3:23.71). Texas was the only team to have swimmers split under 50 seconds in the relay on any leg.
Men’s 400 Free Relay – FINALS
The Texas men closed out their meet in similar fashion to their women with a 2:51.99 in the 400 free relay. The winning group was Matt Ellis (43.04), Jack Conger (43.47), Kip Darmody (42.72), and John Murray (42.76).
West Virignia took 2nd in 2:55.10 thanks in part to a 43.27 lead-off from Squires. That just snuck them under the NCAA “B” time standard by .04 seconds, which means thanks to their automatic qualifier earlier in the meet, the Mountaineers will get to take this relay to NCAA’s as well.
The best split of the night went to Longhorn Keith Murphy in a 42.91 lead-off. He was swimming in the B-final of the individual 100 free as a member of Texas’ non-scoring squad, but with his sprint performances at this meet so far, he might have bought himself a seat on Texas’ roster for NCAA’s.
Final Team Scores
1. Texas – 1109.5
2. Kansas – 617
3. Iowa State – 541.5
4. TCU – 525
5. West Virginia – 480
1. Texas – 1071
2. TCU – 796
3. West Virginia – 779