Sam Kendricks Memorial Orange & White Classic
- September 29, 2023
- Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center
- Final Scores
- White: 139
- Orange: 134
- Texas Press Release
- Full Results (PDF)
With a ton of talent having departed over the offseason, it looks like the Texas men’s freshmen class could have a huge impact on the team’s NCAA prospects. So far, the early returns look promising.
Today, at the annual Sam Kendricks Memorial Orange & White Intrasquad meet, Longhorn freshmen won four of 12 individual events.
It didn’t take long for the freshmen to make their presence known. In the second swimming event of the meet, the 100 breast, Longhorn rookies swept the top three spots. Will Scholtz, representing White, led the way at 53.37, setting a new personal best in the event by exactly a quarter of a second. Orange team member, Nate Germonprez, who owns a lifetime best of 52.59, took 2nd in 53.76, and teammate Brayden Taivassalo took 3rd in 53.82. Taivassalo is Canadian, and hasn’t raced much in yards so far, but it was an improvement on his official best of 56.29 from the fall of 2021, and it was right in line with his SCM best of 1:00.11.
Texas will rely on those three freshmen for the breaststroke core this year, as they lost all three men who swam breast at NCAAs last season.
It’s a fairly similar story in sprint freestyle, where again, a freshman came through with the win in a new personal best time. In this case, it was Camden Taylor, who just beat sophomore Kobe Ndebele to the wall, 20.39 to 20.42, to get the win for the Orange team. Taylor’s previous best, interestingly enough, was actually a 20.42.
Later, Germonprez led a 1-2 finish for Orange in the 200 IM, taking 1st at 1:46.89, about four seconds shy of his best in the event. Spencer Aurnou-Rhees finished 2nd at 1:47.69. The final freshman win came courtesy of Taivassalo, who beat Scholtz in the 200 breast, 1:57.34 to 1:57.54. Taivassalo’s win came thanks to a big second 50, where he outsplit Scholtz 29.32 to 30.81.
Among upperclassmen, a pair of NCAA qualifiers helped lead the White team to a 139-134 victory with a set of event sweeps. Chris O’Connor began the swimming competition by winning a tight race in the 100 back, touching in 47.88, just ahead of Alec Filipovic (47.91) and Nathan Quarterman (48.10). Later in the meet, he won the 200 back by nearly two seconds with a time of 1:45.66.
White also swept the distance freestyle events, with reigning NCAA 500 free champ Luke Hobson winning that event in 4:20.33, and Alec Enyeart winning the 1000 free by over 12 seconds with a time of 9:01.91.
Another NCAA qualifier, Coby Carrozza, was the only Orange team member to earn two individual events. In the 200 free, he beat Hobson, who is also the defending NCAA champ in that event, 1:33.60 to 1:35.66, and he also won the 100 free, clocking a 43.99.
The session wrapped up with a 200 free relay race that might not have been that fast by historic standards, but it was incredibly close. Taylor led off for the Orange in yet another personal best, going 20.38. White’s ‘B’ team actually matched that time thanks to Filipovic, but their ‘A’ team roared back into the race with a 19.93 split from Hobson that put them just 0.04s behind Orange. Ethan Doehler (Orange) went 20.05 to and Ndebele’s 20.02 on the third leg, meaning that Orange led by just 0.01s as the anchors jumped into the water. It was another thrillingly close race, as Smith and Crane dueled yet again. This time, though, Smith got the better of Crane, 19.89 to 19.91, giving Orange the victory, 1:20.47 to 1:20.50.
In diving action, Nick Harris picked up the win for White in the 1m event wit a score of 319.00, then took 2nd in the 3m. Noah Duperre, meanwhile, led Orange with a 333.50 win in the 3m after finishing 2nd to Harris in the 1m.
While this meet wasn’t as fast as many of the previous editions, seeing the freshmen make an immediate impact has to be a promising sign the for Longhorn faithful after an exodus of NCAA scorers this offseason left a lot of gaps heading what appears to be Eddie Reese’s final season.