If you ever want to convince someone that a college swimming dual can be just as intense and exciting as any football or basketball game, take them to the next showdown between the men of SMU and TCU. Last night in Fort Worth, the TCU Horned Frogs grabbed their third win in program history, 152-148, over the SMU Mustangs in a meet that could have gone either way based on tight finishes at many points. It was a fight from beginning to end with lead changes throughout the meet and the final score depending on the finish of both their A and B squads in the final relay.
Full results are here.
The meet opened with the 200 medley relay team of Christopher Hearl, John Story, John Smith, and Garrett Hills squeaking out the win on Hills’ blazing, come from behind 20.55 anchor leg to edge SMU 1:31.49 to 1:31.75.
TCU extended their early lead with a win from Connor Dobbs in the 1000 free, finishing at 9:31.73 over SMU’s Lucas Schenke who turned in 9:36.93.
SMU’s Christian Scherubl showed us why he was chosen as the AAC Swimmer of the Year, as he won three events, with the first being a momentum stealer. His 1:40.03 200 freestyle held back TCU’s Tommy Thach by .02 to keep TCU’s lead from building steam. Later in the meet his golden fingertips also edged out two charging Horned Frog sprinters, with a 46.53 finish leaving TCU’s 46.58 by John Smith and 46.64 by Tommy Thach just shy of the big points. Even crazier is that Scherubl was third after the 50 and split 23.70 for the second half to burn past the two Horned Frog sprinters. Scherubl also stole the win later in the 500 from Carlos Hunnicut, 4:36.18 to 4:36.62.
SMU had three more double event winners. Bartos Krzyzaniak won both backstroke events, turning in a 49.29 for the 100 and 1:50.14 for the 200. Samuel Straughan also took the 50 free (21.08) and 100 fly (49.12) to keep the Mustangs in the hunt. Both diving events were also won by Bryce Klein. SMU swept both diving events with 1-3 finishes, and also picked up three diving zone qualifications. In addition to Bryce Klein’s double zone Q performance, SMU’s Parker Meinecke also surpassed the zone standard in the 1-meter.
Both breaststroke events were won by Horned Frogs, as John Story took the 100 breast in 56.15, and John Remetta won the 200 breast in 2:05.06.
TCU made up ground with two events earning 1-2 sweeps. The 200 fly featured Carlos Hunnicut and Matthew Spallas holding the Mustangs back with their 1:50.92 and 1:52.61 finishes respectively. The 200 IM was also a 1-2 for the Horned Frogs, with Tommy Thach and Hunnicut turning in 1:51.96 and 1:54.83. Those points were a game changer for TCU, as the 200 IM was the last individual event before the 400 free relay, and put TCU back into a position for the entire meet to come down to the final relay. The only possible outcome for a TCU win would have been 1st and 3rd from their A and B squads. If they didn’t win, the meet was over– and if they won but their B squad was fourth, the meet would have been a tie. Who doesn’t love a high-stakes final relay, right?
The Horned Frogs pulled it off as the TCU team of Smith, Hills, Leonardo Sanchez and Thach were able to hold off the Mustangs’ best squad by a mere .62, finishing 3:04.35 to their 3:04.97, and their B squad got the job done as well with a third place finish at 3:07.49 to seal the deal for a hard-fought TCU win. There have been no reports of a brawl in the parking lot, but we will let you know if it is reported that the fight continued after they all got dressed. I would imagine both coaches are proud of the way this dual played out. It sounds like it was a heck of a show.