AUSTIN, Texas, February 28, LILY Moldenhauer made good on her prelim performances today at the Big 12 swimming and diving championships, posting two meet records in finals.
After a 51.55 in the 100 backstroke prelims to erase the meet and school record held by Kathleen Hersey since 2009, Moldenhauer took it even lower in finals with a 51.48. The Texas senior was .15 faster at the 50-yard mark in finals but .08 slower in the back half than this morning. The time in finals puts her eighth as of now in the collegiate standings. Yuleya Kuchkarova of Kansas was second in 54.21 while Texas’ Rebecca Baxley took third in 54.56.
Less than an hour before that, Moldenhauer won the 100 fly with a meet record time of 51.92. It beats Hersey’s conference meet record of 52.08 from 2010, but not Hersey’s school record of 51.40. It also fell two hundredths short of the NCAA automatic qualifying time, but should get an invite to the meet. Ellen Lobb of Texas was second in 52.53 and West Virginia’s Eva Burlingham took third with a 54.00.
Jack Conger and Tripp Cooper also had impressive 100 butterfly swims tonight. Cooper led Conger by six hundredths at the 50, 21.20 to 21.26, but Conger got the win with a 45.56 to Cooper’s 45.73. Conger’s swim puts him second in the collegiate rankings, knocking down the 45.57 Tim Phillips swam just minutes earlier at the Big 10 championships, and beats his season best by a tenth. Cooper stands fourth nationally. Bryce Bohman of West Virginia wasn’t far off the pace, touching third in 46.76.
The night started with a win from Kansas sophomore Chelsie Miller in the 400 IM. Miller was a surprise finalist in this event at the USA Swimming nationals in December, placing second with a 4:08.86. She improved on that tonight with a 4:07.97 to put her just outside the top 15 nationally. Texas finished 2-3-4, with 200 IM winner Madisyn Cox (4:09.25), Kaitlin Pawlowicz (4:14.42) and Victoria Cassidy (4:15.53) scoring big points for the Longhorns.
Texas took first and second in the men’s 400 IM, as Will Licon posted a 3:46.96 to keep Austin Vacek from sweeping the IM events. Vacek led for 350 yards, as much as 2.7 seconds at one point, but fell off in the final stretch. Jake Quierciagrossa of West Virginia was also in the race through the backstroke leg but only mustered third with a 3:48.59.
The Longhorns got big points in the women’s 200 free, taking the top four places. Alex Hooper touched in 1:45.17, holding off Kelsey Leneave and her 1:45.41, as well as Sam Tucker’s 1:45.64. Tasija Karosas was also in the hunt, capturing fourth with a 1:46.00.
After a 1:33.72 last December, Clay Youngquist appeared to cruise through the 200 free final tonight, winning in 1:34.21. Sam Lewis had a strong back half to nearly overtake Youngquist, but settled for second with a 1:34.72. Ross Glegg of West Virginia placed third with a 1:36.35.
Gretchen Jacques easily won the women’s 100 breast with a 1:00.21 over teammate Skylar Smith, who posted a 1:01.39 to beat out Iowa State’s Imelda Wistey, who was third in 1:01.60.
Matt Korman, a member of the “B” team for Texas at the meet, could not score points for the Longhorns, but that didn’t stop him from posting the fastest time of the meet in the 100 breast, a 53.35 in the B final. It’s a lifetime best by 1.3 seconds, beating out his 54.68 from December’s Texas Invite. Also making the most of the B final was Ian Carbone, another member of Texas’ “B” team, with a 53.49, a personal best by seven tenths. Imri Ganiel took the official win for Texas with a 53.45, while Texas Christian’s Ford Story got the official second-place points with a 53.68. Story just missed the school record of 53.26 by All-American Edgar Crespo. Christopher Brill of West Virginia took third with a 54.88.
Bohman returned from the 100 fly to win the 100 back for West Virginia with a 45.89, missing the automatic NCAA standard by two hundredths of a second. Kip Darmody led at 50 yards but settled for second with a 46.13, just four hundredths off his best. Texas’ Cooper Robinson rounded out the top three with a 46.94.
Texas finished off the night with two automatic invitations to the NCAA championships in the 200 free relay. The women won by nearly three seconds with a 1:29.41, while the men took their race in 1:17.41. It should be noted that the performances do not automatically qualify the swimmers for the NCAA championships. Under recent rule changes, the school gets the bid to swim the relays, but can use any swimmer who gets invited to the meet for individual swims.
West Virginia was second in the men’s relay with an automatic qualifying time of 1:17.87, using a 19.09 from 50 free champ Tim Squires to get the automatic bid. Texas Christian placed third with a 1:20.30. Placing second in the women’s relay was Iowa State with a 1:32.12, while West Virginia made a charge with Jaimee Gilmore’s anchor leg but settled for third with a 1:32.13.
Texas took the top four spots in the women’s and men’s 3-meter diving. Maren Taylor scored a meet record 414.20 points to lead the Longhorns to the women’s victory, while Meghan Houston (379.80), Emma Ivory-Ganja (373.25) and Murphy Bromberg (322.30) placed second through fourth. Cory Bowersox (472.35), Will Chandler (456.60), Mike Hixon (444.10) and Sean O’Brien (400.55) dominated in men’s diving.