COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Feb. 19. THE No. 3-ranked University of Texas women's swimming and diving team looks to defend its 2001 conference title this week at
the 2002 Big 12 Championships on Wednesday-Saturday, Feb. 20-23, at the Student Rec Center Natatorium in College Station, Texas.
For the first time this year, the Big 12 Championships have been combined to include both men's and women's
competitions in their entirety. The preliminaries will start at 10:30 a.m. during each of the three days with all final events set for 6 p.m. All tickets for the four-day meet are general admission, with doors opening one hour before each session. An all-session pass is $10, while one-day passes will be sold as $5 for adults, $4 for students and $2 for all fans which are in high school and under.
For the fifth year in a row, Fox Sports Net will
telecast the Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships nationally on a tape-delay basis. Bill Land will call the action with Mike O'Brien providing swimming analysis and Cynthia Potter adding poolside coverage. Check local listings for the FOX Sports Southwest
broadcast times in your area.
The Longhorns feature seven of 11 All-Americans and 18 of 28 letter winners from the 2000-01 team, which won its third consecutive Big 12 Conference Championship and finished third at the 2001 NCAA Championships.
The Texas freestyle relay squads hold the fastest times in the nation this season in both the 200 (1:30.74) and the 800 (7:14.58) races, according to swiminfo's top 25 times, released yesterday. UT's 400 free relay time of 3:19.35 has the nation's second fastest collegiate time.
Texas is ranked No. 3 in the latest edition of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Top 25 Poll on swiminfo.
During her tenure, co-head coach Jill Sterkel has led the Longhorns to seven of the last nine conference championships. Co-head coach Mike Walker, which joined the UT program in 2000-01, helped Texas to
the 2001 Big 12 Championship.
Texas won the 2001 Big 12 Conference Championships with a meet-record 997.5 points, claiming 16 of the meets 21 events (13 individual and five relays) and setting 10 Big 12 Conference records.
2001 BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIPS REWIND:
Texas claimed its third consecutive Big 12 Championship, posting a Big 12-record 997.5 points to out-distance Texas A&M (608.5), Nebraska (565), Missouri (434), Iowa State (426) and Kansas (396). The Horns not only won 16 of the meet's 21 events, but also set 10 Big 12 Conference records in the 50, 100, 200, and 1,650 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 200 butterfly and 400 individual medley relay, as well as the 400 freestyle relay.
REIGNING BIG 12 CHAMPIONS:
Five of the 11 Longhorns who captured Big 12 titles last season are returning this week to defend their crowns. In individual events, senior Bethany Lindberg (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) is the defending Big 12 champion in the 100 and 200 backstroke and junior Tanica Jamison (Dublin, Calif./Dublin) will defend her 200 IM title. Jamison also teamed on the winning 400
medley relay and 400 and 800 free relay teams. Also capturing 2001 conference titles in relays were senior Lauren Martin (Houston, Texas/The Bolles School) and junior Erin Phenix (Cincinnati, Ohio/Ursuline), both winning the 200, 400 and 800 free relays, and senior Kelley Robins (Houston, Texas/Awty International) in the 200 medley relay.
HORNS SWEEP CONFERENCE HONORS:
Texas swept the Big 12 Conference Swimmer and Diver of the Month awards for January, the league office announced on Jan. 30. Junior Erin Phenix was named the Big 12 female Swimmer of the Month, while sophomore Ally Hartzell was named the conference's female Diver of the Month. Selections were made by
a vote of the league's head swimming and diving coaches.
DIVING DUO STEPS UP:
The diving duo of sophomore Ally Hartzell and freshman Nicole Pohorenec (Winter Springs, Fla./Winter Springs) are key components in UT's success so far this season. Hartzell led all Longhorn divers in dual meet competition this season with team-best scores of 299.02 on the one-meter (dual) and 300.00 on the three-meter (dual) boards. She also registered the team's top score on the one-meter board during championship compitition with a mark of 288.70 at the Texas Invitational. Overall, Hartzell has posted 14 top-five finishes this year (seven first-place, one second-place, five third-place and one fourth-place). Pohorenec leads all UT divers with a team-best score in championship competition on the three-meter springboard (496.80) and the 10-meter platform (461.95). The platform champion at the 2001 Texas Invitational (Nov. 30-Dec. 2), Pohorenec has five first-place showings during the 2001-02 dual meet season.
THIES HAS THE TIMES:
All-American senior transfer Lauren Thies has made an immediate impact for the Longhorns this season, leading the way in the middle and distance freestyle events. In fact, Thies has already posted a team-best three NCAA automatic qualifying times, clocking 49.26 in the 100 free, 1:45.38 in the 200 free and 4:43.42 in the 500 free. Thies' mark in the 200 free is not only a season team-high, but also the second-fastest collegiate time during 2001-02.
YEO KNOWS FAST TIMES:
After sitting out last season following her
transfer from California, All-American junior Joscelin Yeo has stepped onto the scene and become one of the Longhorns leaders during 2001-02. Yeo leads all Longhorns with team-best times in the 100 breast (1:03.03), 200 breast (2:17.78) and 200 IM (2:01.56), while also helping the Texas "A" relay squad to a team-best time of 3:44.84 in the 400 medley relay. The three-time Olympian for the Repbulic of Singapore (1992, 1996, 2000) posted a team-high 17 first-place
finishes during the dual meet season and has already timed an NCAA automatic qualifying mark in the 100 fly (54.49), which is tied with junior teammate Tanica Jamison's mark for the Big 12 lead. At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Yeo was honored by her home country by being chosen to carry its National flag during the game's opening ceremony. Also, Yeo was featured in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd"
on Dec. 24-31.
WOMEN'S CO-HEAD COACH JILL STERKEL:
Co-head coach Jill Sterkel is in her 10th season at The University of Texas. In her first nine seasons, she directed the Longhorns to eight top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, seven conference titles and to two runner-up league finishes. This includes four top-three finishes at the NCAA Championships (1993, 1994, 1995, 2001) and three consecutive Big 12 Conference Championships (1999, 2000 and 2001). Sterkel's Longhorns also claimed four consecutive Southwest Conference crowns from 1993-1996. For her efforts, Sterkel earned Big 12 Conference Women's Coach of the Year the last three seasons (1997-98, 1998-99, 2000-01), sharing last year's honor with co-head coach Mike Walker.
WOMEN'S CO-HEAD COACH MIKE WALKER:
Co-head coach Mike Walker is in his second season at Texas. Following the 2000-01 season, Walker was named the Big 12 Conference women's swimming Co-Head Coach of the Year. His impact was felt immediately last season as the Longhorns finished third at the 2001 NCAA Championships, claiming four NCAA trophies (two individual/two relay titles), as well as setting NCAA
records in the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Walker joined the 2000-01 coaching staff after spending the previous six years at the University of California where he led the Bears to four consecutive top-10 NCAA finishes (ninth, 1997; eighth, 1998; fifth, 1999; fourth, 2000). The fourth-place finish in 2000 was the best in Cal history.
HEAD DIVING COACH:
Matt Scoggin is in his eighth year at Texas as the
head diving coach, where he has clearly established UT as one of the nation's top men's and women's diving programs. A former U.S. Olympic diver and a 2000 USA Olympic men's assistant diving coach, Scoggin has been recognized nationally for his outstanding efforts. He was selected NCAA Women's Diving Coach of the Year in 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99, as well as the NCAA Men's Diving Coach of the Year in 2000-01. Additionally, Scoggin is a four-time Big 12 Conference
Women's Diving Coach of the Year and was the 1994-95 Southwest Conference Women's and Men's Diving Coach of the Year. Scoggin has also coached the U.S. National Team seven times, including his most recent appointment as the head coach of the national team that competed at the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan (July 22-29).