Texas sophomore-to-be Madisyn Cox has had an apparent fire lit under her in the last two months, at least based on her results from Saturday’s second day at the 2014 Texas Senior Circuit series stop in Austin.
Cox crushed her own lifetime best in the women’s 200 free to swim a 1:59.93, beating out Texas A&M’s National Team member Sarah Henry (2:00.31) and teammate Tasija Karosas (2:02.17).
Not only is that Cox’s first time under two minutes, it’s her lifetime best by almost five seconds. That’s not a lifetime best that has been sitting on her resume, unchallenged, for a few summers either – it was set in May at the Charlotte Grand Prix.
The most encouraging sign there for Cox, who is not primarily a freestyler, is that new Texas coach Carol Capitani is recapturing the magic that the Georgia program had in spades – the ability to turn almost every female member of the team into a great freestyler.
Cox becomes the 11th American women to break two minutes in the event already this year; with only four spots for the 2014 Pan Pacs team in this race (there’s no relay prelims), the event is going to be a bruiser in Irvine in three weeks.
Also scoring in that final was Sarah Denninghoff. In her first meet back from a bad hip injury that forced her to use a redshirt for the 2013-2014 NCAA season, Denninghoff was solid. She took 5th in the 200 free, and then came back later to swim a 2:12.52 in the women’s 200 backstroke A-final – a winning result.
Quinn Carrozza took 2nd in 2:14.35, followed by another 3rd-place finish from Tasija Karosas (2:16.10). 15-year old Nitro swimmer Regan Barney took 4th in 2:16.23, which is her first career Nationals cut.
The Longhorns got a lot of wins in their home pool on Saturday night. Out of 10 individual events, current or former Texas collegians won 7. Among the exceptions was Breeja Larson, who recently completed her eligibility at Texas A&M. She won the women’s 100 breaststroke in 1:08.32, beating out Texas’ Gretchen Jaques (1:09.51). That adds to Larson’s Friday night win in the 200 breaststroke.
Laura Sogar, who was 2nd in the 200 breaststroke but not a great time in 2:32, didn’t swim the 100 on Saturday.
U.S. National Teamer Simone Manuel had an interesting little personal best in the B-final of that breaststroke. She swam a 1:14.25 to take 10th overall, losing a back-half battle to 14-year old Vanessa Pearl (1:13.97). Manuel didn’t swim the 200 on Saturday, which on the surface is a better translation to her primary 50/100 freestyle events.
Sarah Henry took the women’s 400 IM in 4:43.88, and Kelsey Leneave won the women’s 100 fly in 1:00.78.
On the men’s side, the highlight was Texas’ Matt Ellis swimming to a 53.01 in the men’s 100 fly, beating out teammate Tripp Cooper (53.29). That’s another win and good swim for Ellis after his Jimmy-Feigen-beating 50 free from Friday. Ellis’ primary role on the national landscape is probably as a sprint freestyler still, but that’s his best time in the 100 fly: another event he’ll swim at Nationals in Irvine.
Clay Youngquist swam a 1:48.90 in the 200 free, beating out Michael McBroom (1:50.34) and a group of distance swimmers easily for the win. After just a so-so summer in 2013, Youngquist has now been right around 1:48.9 three times in 2014. He seems to be entering Nationals on a much better set-up this summer with the later timing of Nationals working to his benefit after the college season.
Israeli-Longhorn Imri Ganiel won the men’s 100 breaststorke in 1:03.15, beating out Will Licon (1:03.35). Ganiel, as would be expected, had a little better front-end speed than Licon, and that’s what carried him to victory.
Notably, 54-year old David Guthrie was 8th in that final in 1:07.87. That was less than a second away from his own USMS record for the 50-54 age group as he’s getting closer-and-closer to aging up.
Pat Murphy won the men’s 200 backstroke in 2:02.14, and Benjamin Walker from PACK in the Houston suburb of Klein topped the men’s 400 IM in 4:27.78. That’s a new lifetime best for Walker.