DALLAS, Texas, February 1. THE No. 21 SMU men's swimming and diving team thrashed longtime rival No. 20 Texas A&M, 144-92. The Mustangs won 11 of 13 events including both diving events, picking up their sixth victory of the season and head coach Eddie Sinnott's 100th SMU win.
"I'm honored to have been here long enough to get 100 wins," said Sinnott. "I'm looking forward to the next 50."
Two swimmers marked new career-bests in the meet, with Shane Milu notching two career times. Milu picked up a career-best time in the 200 free, finishing first in the event in 1:38.50, which is over half a second faster than his old career mark. He also notched a new personal best in the 100 free, winning second place in 45.14, one tenth of a second faster than his previous best. Thomas Fadnes also set a new personal best, as he won the 100 free in 44.62, three one-hundredths of a second faster than his old mark.
The Mustangs kicked off the meet with a fast 400 medley relay. Pontus Renholm, Alex Hetland, Brett Denham and Fadnes touched in at 3:15.33, an NCAA consideration time, and over nine and a half seconds faster than the Aggies.
In the 1000 free, Chris Ginder won first, stopping the clock in 9:39.15. Ginder's time was his season-best and over nine seconds faster than his previous mark. John Huddleston picked up third in the event, clocking in at 9:51.66. In the 200 free, Milu won first with his career-fastest 1:38.50, while Nate Clark finished just behind him in 1:39.04. Luka Vrtovec picked up his second-fastest time of the season in the 50 free, winning that event in 20.09, just nine one-hundredths of a second off his season-best. Greg Doughty finished fourth, touching the wall in a season-fastest 21.10. Jani Brackett also achieved a season-best, finishing sixth in 21.62. Hetland won the 200 IM in 1:50.52, while Maverick Smalley picked up a second place finish in his second-fastest time of the season, 1:50.66. Mitchell Johnson took fourth in the event in a season-best 1:55.04. In the second heat, both Daniel Veale and JJ Wojcik picked up season-bests in 1:56.13 and 1:57.66, respectively.
Preston Holcombe placed first on the one-meter board, tallying 316.27. Teammate Matthew Culbertson came in second with 303.60, while Landon Owen picked up a fourth-place finish with 223.27.
Clark was SMU's fastest finisher in the 200 fly, an event in which he took second in 1:50.10. Denham was just behind him in a season-fastest 1:53.56. The Mustangs continued their dominance in the 100 free. Both Fadnes and Milu notched season and career bests in the event and finished one-two. Brackett also marked his season-best time in the 100 free, touching the wall in 47.91. Renholm won the 200 back, clocking a time of 1:46.76. Colton Ingraham came in fourth in 1:56.21, while George Mayer picked up his season-best time of 2:05.42. SMU won the 500 free, with Smalley taking first in his season-fastest time of 4:31.96. Huddleston took third in the event in a season-best 4:41.98.
Holcombe won the three-meter board, scoring 344.92, over 50 points higher than his nearest Aggie competitor. Culbertson scored 340.87, but his score was counted as an exhibition. Owen picked up a fourth-place finish with 230.92.
Three Mustangs recorded season-best times in the 200 breaststroke. Veale finished in 2:07.64, Wojcik finished in 2:12.98 and Patrick Raschle finished in 2:14.87, but all three were ruled exhibitions.
SMU picked up its final win of the evening in the 400 free relay, with Clark, Doughty, Denham and Ingraham finishing in 2:59.03, the third-fastest relay of the season.
"This was a really great meet for us," said Sinnott. "We swam some of our fastest times at this pool as a team, which is a great sign of where we're headed. Lots of guys stepped up for us tonight. I don't think we had a single bad swim. We've battled lots of illness and injury as a result of training hard over time and I'm excited about the swims we saw tonight and where we are as a team. We'll get our comeuppance next weekend when we host top-ranked Texas… but our guys will get to see how they match up against the fastest swimmers in the country, which is exactly what they're going to see in seven weeks at NCAAs. Right now, we just want to get healthy for Conference championships in four weeks."
Special thanks to SMU for contributing this report.