Tennessee Volunteers Cruise to Sweep Against Missouri; Jordan Crooks Flashes More Speed

Jordan Crooks of Cayman Islands competes in the 50m Freestyle Men Heats during the FINA Swimming Short Course World Championships at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in Melbourne, Australia, December 16th, 2022. Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Jordan Crooks -- Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Tennessee Volunteers Cruise to Sweep Against Missouri

A trip to face SEC rival Missouri produced a pair of comfortable wins for the University of Tennessee men’s and women’s teams. The Tennessee men won 175-to-120 while the women came out on top 181-to-116, and the Volunteers were so dominant that Missouri won only three races all meet. Leading the way for Tennessee were rising sprinters Jordan Crooks and Gui Caribe, while Josephine Fuller and Mona McSharry had three wins each for the Tennessee women.

Crooks, fresh off a blistering fall season for Tennessee and a world title in the 50 free (SCM), posted blistering times in winning the 100 backstroke (46.09) and 100 butterfly (45.42), while Caribe handled business in the sprint freestyle races, with times of 19.53 in the 50 free and 43.00 in the 100 free.

Tennessee’s men won the 200 medley relay in 1:25.16 with Harrison Lierz, Michael Houlie, Crooks and Caribe, with Crooks splitting 19.97 and Caribe finishing in 19.30, while Caribe, Björn Kammann, Aleksey Tarasenko and Crooks took the 400 fee relay in 2:53.63. Caribe led off in 42.89, and Crooks came home in 41.61.

For the Tennessee women, Fuller, McSharry, Brooklyn Douthwright and Jasmine Rumley opened up the day with a 1:39.91 win in the 200 medley relay, while McSharry placed first in the 100 breaststroke (1:00.78), 50 free (23.26) and 200 breast (2:14.40). Fuller won the 100 back (53.88), 200 back (1:55.31) and 200 IM (2:00.59). Julia Burroughs, Douthwright, Abby Samansky and Amber Myers went 3:22.91 for a 400 free relay win.

Read the full press release from Tennessee below:

Tennessee swimming & diving kicked off its spring slate with a dominant performance on the road against conference foe Missouri, as the sixth-ranked Vols came out on top 175-120 against the No. 22 Tigers and the 14th-ranked Lady Vols won 181-116.

The women’s team won all 14 races on the day, while the men were victorious in 11 of the 14 races at Mizzou Aquatic Center on Saturday.

The Vols opened the meet with a victory in the 200 medley relay, as the lineup of Harrison Lierz, Michael Houlie, Jordan Crooks and Gui Caribe cruised to the win behind a 1:25.16 effort. UT also took third in the event with a time of 1:27.16 from Björn Kammann, Jarel Dillard, Luke Brice and Scott Scanlon.

The Big Orange sprinters dominated during the meet, as the Vols posted the four fastest times in the 50 free and the top time in the 100 free. Caribe swept both events thanks to a 19.53 effort in the 50 and a 43.00 time in the 100. His 100 free effort was an impressive 2.17 seconds faster than second place. Scott Scanlon placed second in the 50 free behind a 20.27 mark, while Micah Chambers (20.39) and Aleksey Tarasenko (20.51) finished third and fourth.

Tennessee’s distance freestylers also enjoyed strong performances on the day, as the Vols swept both the 500 free and 1000 free. Joaquin Vargas posted the top time in the 500 free, touching the wall in 4:27.10, while Rafael Ponce de Leon Castilla took second behind a 4:29.05 effort. Jack Little (4:31.39) and Jake Narvid (4:34.77) rounded things out in third and fourth. In the 1000 free, Ponce de Leon threw down the fastest time at 9:15.32, while Little (9:16.76) and Narvid (9:21.76) took second and third.

Vargas was UT’s top finisher in the 200 free, touching the wall in 1:37.13 to place second. Tarasenko (1:39.25) took third, while Will Jackson (1:39.30) finished fourth.

In the breaststroke, the Vols swept the 100 breast, as Dillard threw down the fastest time at 53.29. Houlie placed second with a 53.60 effort, while Lyubomir Epitropov (54.80) took third. In the 200 breast, it was Epitropov who garnered the top spot, touching the wall in 1:57.65 to best Dillard’s second-place effort of 1:57.70. Houlie (2:01.98) took fourth in the race.

In the 100 back, Crooks threw down an impressive 46.09 to finish first by more than a second. Lierz came in fourth with a time of 47.95. Landon Driggers was the top Vol in the 200 back, touching the wall in 1:46.74 to place second. Lierz finished third with a 1:47.97 mark.

Crooks picked up his second individual win of the day with a victory in the 100 fly, touching the wall in 45.42. Chambers finished third in the race with a 47.79 mark. Martin Espernberger won the 200 fly (1:46.84), while Joel Giraudeau (1:49.79) and Gus Rothrock took third and fourth, respectively.

The Vols capped off the meet with the top time in the 400 free relay, as Caribe, Kammann, Tarasenko and Crooks got to the wall first in 2:53.63.

“Really cohesive effort from the Vols today,” associate head coach Rich Murphy said. “Thrilled to see our 5th years and seniors get another win, this time in their last road dual meet. The men were led by Jordan Crooks’ and Gui Caribe’s two individual wins paired with their roles on our two winning relays. Jordan and Gui continue to display an impressive level of athletic maturity and a process-driven approach. Jarel Dillard was a clutch performer, and we got a strong infusion of points from Rafael Ponce de Leon and Joaquin Vargas. Michael Houlie, Scott Scanlon and Jack Little executed vital second-place finishes that gave the team a boost of energy and confidence. We are appreciative as well of our support staff who did a great job facilitating our furthest bus trip of the season.”

The Lady Vols took first and third in the 200 medley relay to begin the day. The fastest lineup was made up by Josephine Fuller, Mona McSharry, Brooklyn Douthwright and Jasmine Rumley, as the team touched the wall in 1:39.91. Tennessee’s B relay in the race featured Olivia Harper, Jordan Aurnou-Rhees, Libby Russum and Amber Myers posting a time of 1:41.50.

In the freestyle events, McSharry had the fastest time in the 50 free (23.26), while Julia Burroughs took second in the race thanks to a 23.49 mark. Douthwright came out victorious in the 100 free (49.80) and the 200 free (1:48.39). In addition to her second-place finish in the 50 free, Burroughs took second in both the 100 and 200 freestyles as well, touching the wall in 50.93 and 1:49.76, respectively.

In the distance races, Tennessee swept the top four spots in the 1000 free, as Kate McCarville posted the fastest effort at 10:00.35. She was followed by Kristen Stege (10:06.22), Lauren Wetherell (10:08.83) and Alyssa Breslin (10:15.18). Wetherell posted the best time in the 500 free at 4:52.93, while McCarville was just behind her in second at 4:53.35.

Fuller won a tight battle in the 100 back, touching the wall in 53.88—just 0.14 seconds ahead of the next best time. She rounded completed the sweep of the backstroke races when she threw down a 1:55.31 mark in the 200 back. Fuller also posted the top time in the 200 IM with a 2:00.59.

Emma Carlton placed third in the 100 back with a 55.75 effort, while Olivia Harper (55.87) took fourth. Rounding out the 200 back, Bayley Stewart (1:59.27) finished third, followed by Elle Caldow (2:01.80) in fourth.

Along with her victory in the 50 free, McSharry swept the breaststroke races, winning the 100 breast with a 1:00.78 time and the 200 breast behind a 2:14.40 effort.

In the butterfly, Sara Stotler won the 200 fly behind a 2:01.03, while McCarville finished second (2:01.81). Carlton posted the top time in the 100 fly thanks to a 55.10 effort. Stotler took third in the race with a 55.67 time, while Abby Samansky (56.00) placed fourth.

The Lady Vols closed out the day by posting the top time in the 400 free relay, as the lineup of Burroughs, Douthwright, Samansky and Myers touched the wall in 3:22.91 to cap off the perfect performance in the pool.

“I’m really proud of the Lady Vol swimming and diving team for their focus, preparation and performances today,” associate head coach Ashley Jahn said. “We have a very competitive conference, and we knew Missouri was going to be excited to compete on their senior day. Last night, as a team, I challenged them to take their preparation to another level, and they did that today. We had a lot of women make positive changes in their race execution. A high level of commitment to the team’s process was evident today. We are all looking forward to our remaining meets in our regular season.”

In diving, Bryden Hattie posted a pair of second-place finishes on the springboards with a 303.60 effort on 1-meter and a 340.43 mark on 3-meter. Tanesha Lucoe finished second on 1-meter behind a 266.25 score.

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