AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 17. THE NUMBER 9 Texas women's swimming and diving team claimed its third-consecutive conference team title on Saturday night by winning the 2001 Big 12 Championships at the Jamail Swim Center.
The Longhorns scored 930.5 points, a Big 12 meet record, and outscored Nebraska (532), Texas A&M (510.5), Iowa State (387), Missouri (379) and Kansas (344).
Senior Colleen Lanné (Tucson, Ariz/Salpointe Catholic) dominated the Big 12 Championships, setting her third conference record in three days in the 100 freestyle. Lanné scorched the pool with a blistering 47.88, the best time in Texas history and breaking the school record set by Leigh Ann Fetter (48.29) in 1991. The time destroyed the old Big 12 standard of 49.03, a time that was also bettered by Olympian Erin Phenix, who finished second in 48.73. The Longhorns swept the top four spots, all with sub-50-second swims.
Lanne also led the Longhorns to another meet record in the 400 freestyle relay with teammates sophomore Tanica Jamison (Dublin, Calif./Dublin), junior Lauren Martin (Houston, Texas/The Bolles School) and sophomore Erin Phenix (Cincinnati, Ohio/Ursuline Academy) in a time of 3:15.29. The old record was 3:17.99.
"We truly came together in this final day," said co-head coach Mike Walker. "We were extremely impressed with the times, but what amazed Jill and myself, even more was the outstanding support the team gave their teammates in every race. We wanted to come out and prove we could compete at the highest level and we successfully showed it."
Starting the final day of competition at the championships, freshman Rachel Harris (Subiaco, Australia/Methodist Cadies College) set a new Big 12 Conference record en route to claiming her third individual title of the meet in the 1650 freestyle. Her time of 16:04.54 was more than 26 seconds better than the previous record of 16:30.34 set by Texas' Emily Ballenger (Anderson, S.C./T.L. Hanna) at the 2000 conference meet. Ballenger finished tonight's 1650 freestyle in second place with a personal-best 16:28.03.
The Longhorns' winning streak in the individual and relay events fell in the 200 breaststroke when Nebraska's Elvira Fisher placed first in a time of 2:12.91, followed by Nebraska's Keri Hehn (2:15.12) and Iowa State's Petra Plaminkova (2:17.53) in second and third, respectively. Nebraska's Rebecca Wolfe also captured her first conference title in the 200 butterfly (1:57.94), outpacing Texas senior Shona Kitson (Windsor, Ontario, Canada/Vincent Massey), who
finished second (1:59.26).
Texas' Bethany Lindberg set a Big 12 record in winning the 200 back in 1:57.31, chopping more than a second off the old mark. Teammate Courtney Timmons was second in 1:59.74.
Texas A&M's foursome of Katie Williams (461.256), Marie-Eve Marleau (442.70), Meghan Zach (435.65), Callie Petroff (422.75), nabbed the top four spots on the platform diving event. Sophomore Kristen Marquis (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic)
(421.70) placed fourth, while freshman Kelsey Butt (Austin, Texas/James Bowie) (345.95) claimed fifth place.
With their win, the Longhorns swept the conference honors, as Lanné earned her second consecutive Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet accolade. Competing in their first season as a co-head coaching tandem, Texas' Jill Sterkel and Walker earned Co-Head Coaches of the Meet awards, sharing with Iowa State's Duane Sorenson. Additionally, Harris received Newcomer of the Meet honors and Marquis was named Diver of the Meet.
On the men's side, Texas' Justin Dumais (Ventura, Calif./Buena) captured his first Big 12 Conference title in the 10-meter platform (592.35). Junior Harold Hyde (Austin, Texas/Westlake) finished in second with a score of 511.
The Longhorns next turn to their Last Chance Meet on Saturday, Feb. 24 before heading to Long Island, N.Y. for the 2001 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, which will be held Thursday-Saturday, March 15-17.