The Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships, hosted by the University of Texas in its Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, get underway Wednesday, Feb. 27 and conclude Saturday, March 2. This is the seventh time Texas has hosted the event.
The Longhorns are favored to win both titles. The UT men's team has has won the Big 12 championship every year since the Conference was formed in 1996, giving UT 16 titles total. The women's squad has won 10 league crowns.
TCU, Texas and West Virginia will compete the men's side while Iowa State, Kansas, TCU, Texas and West Virginia will vie for the women's championship.
The Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center displays a 50-meter, eight-lane competition pool with two moveable bulkheads which allow for a conversion to either a 25-yard or 25-meter course. The pool is nine-feet deep and 75-feet, one-inch wide and is equipped with 'rim-flow' gutters which greatly reduce turbulence, making it one of the fastest pools in the world.
The Browning Diving Pool measures 75-feet, one-inch wide and 15 to 18 feet deep. It has four one-meter and six three-meter springboards and a diving tower with five separate platform heights.
Preliminary diving events begin on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. CT, with the swimming relays kicking off at 6 p.m. Preliminaries for all events from Thursday through Saturday start at 10 a.m., with diving finals starting at 5 p.m. (Friday and Saturday) and swimming finals at 6 p.m. (daily).
Ticket prices for the general public are $5 per session for adults while the student and youth rate is $2 per session.
Spectators are encouraged to park in Manor Garage (paid parking), which is located on Robert Dedman Dr. between Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and Mike Myers Stadium, north of the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. Visitors who park in surface lots requiring a valid UT parking permit risk receiving a citation.
Trinity Garage, located across Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. from the swim center, is an available parking option. However, fans attending the Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships are encouraged to use Manor Garage, given the likelihood of congestion at Trinity Garage due to the Texas UIL Girls Basketball State Tournament nearby at the Erwin Center.
Expect additional campus congestion on Friday and Saturday near Manor Garage. Texas Football will hold open practices on Friday (4 p.m.) and Saturday (2 p.m.) at the adjacent Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, which may cause delays in entering and exiting Manor Garage.
Team by team previews:
Iowa State women
Sophomore Amanda Paulson and junior Imelda Wistey lead the Cyclones in event wins for the season. Paulson will compete in the sprint freestyle events while Wistey will be in the breaststroke races. Paulson has Iowa State's top time in the 50 freestyle and finished the season with eight first-place finishes. Wistey leads the Cyclones in the 200 breaststroke, finishing the season with nine individual first-place finishes. In the diving well, freshman Elyse Brouillette leads the Cyclones on all three boards. The freshman qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships in her first collegiate dual meet. She is currently ranked fourth overall in Cyclone history on all three boards. Senior Marley Dobyns has seen personal bests in recent weeks, scoring career-high scores on both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards.
The Jayhawks head to Austin led by senior captain and current Big 12 Swimmer of the Week Brooke Brull. Brull is coming off a performance against Iowa State where she set season-best times in the 200-yard backstroke (2:01.64) and the 200-yard IM (2:05.57). KU also has a group of six talented freshmen who will be making their Big 12 Championship debuts and figure to have an immediate impact. The Kansas divers are led by senior Christy Cash, who has qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships in all three diving events. The Jayhawks are looking to build on their fourth place finish in 2012 and finish at least second, which would be the highest finish of any Kansas team in the Big 12 era.
The Frogs are led by a trio of senior sprinters. Sabine Rasch, a 2012 NCAA Championships qualifier, is the fastest of the group with four times below 23 seconds in the 50 free this season. Katie Scarsella and Parris Schoppa provide depth and help put together strong 200 and 400 free relay teams. Freshman Sara Brzozowski has had a strong debut season and will look to continue in the 500 and 1,650 free events. Fellow freshman Mikayla Winkler will also be strong in the two longest events. Also watch for sophomore Ali Bleasdell, who is TCU's fastest swimmer in the 200 fly and 200 and 400 IM this season.
First-year head coach Carol Capitani and her ninth-ranked Longhorns look to secure Texas' 11th Big 12 Conference team title. Senior All-American Laura Sogar shattered her school marks in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events in the fall, and she threatened the American records in both events. Nineteenth-year diving coach Matt Scoggin features a deep and talented corps of divers led by redshirt junior Maren Taylor and senior Shelby Cullinan. Taylor has earned several Big 12 Diver of the Week selections this year. The All-American is having a strong junior season after sitting out the 2011-12 campaign due to an injury sustained at the 2011 NCAA Championships in Austin. Junior swimmer Ellen Lobb finished the regular season with the nation's fourth-fastest time in the 50-yard freestyle.
The Mountaineers are stocked with talent that includes four past NCAA qualifiers in Rachael Burnett, Kata Fodor (Cah-tah Fah-door), Mandie Nugent and Danielle Smith. Burnett is a four time Honorable Mention All-American and two-time Big East Women's Most Outstanding Swimmer. She is seeded first in the 500 free, second in the mile, fifth in the 200 free and 13th in the 100 free. Nugent is a three-time Big East Champion in the 200 fly and a one-time Big East Champion in the 100 fly. She is currently seeded first in the 200 fly, fifth in the 100 fly and seventh in the 500 free. On the boards, diver Haily VandePoel holds WVU school records on the 1-meter and 3-meter boards and has already qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships, along with Lindsay Schmidt and Jennifer Rey.
The Horned Frogs make their Big 12 Championships debut with a very strong group looking to step atop the podium. TCU's biggest threats to take home conference titles come in the backstroke events. In the 100 back, freshman Adam Szilagyi has the second-fastest time in the Big 12 this season in 47.49. For the 200 back, sophomore Cooper Robinson is the Big 12 leader with a time of 1:43.25. Sophomore Mitch Adshead is the top seeded swimmer in the 200 breast competition and is seeded second in the 400 IM.
Under 35th-year head coach Eddie Reese, Texas has won all 16 Big 12 Championship meets. The Longhorns are looking for their 34th consecutive conference team title this weekend at their home pool. Texas features three seniors who have won NCAA individual and/or relay titles. Dax Hill is the defending national champion in the 200-yard freestyle, and Michael McBroom, who set the NCAA record in the 1000-yard freestyle earlier this month, won the NCAA title in the 1,650-yard freestyle two seasons ago. Austin Surhoff was UT's leading scorer at the NCAA Championships as a freshman, when he won the NCAA title in the 200-yard individual medley. UT also returns sophomore All-America diver Will Chandler, who redshirted last season due to effects from Crohn's Disease.
West Virginia men
The Mountaineers are shorthanded as three of its top competitors are redshirting to help next year's squad. In the seeds heading into the meet, WVU has 10 in the Top 8 in respective events. The sprint events (50 free, 100 free) will be highlighted by Julien Vialette and Ross Glegg, while Nathan Cobbe will lead WVU in mid-distance free (200 free, 500 free). Chris Brill is WVU's highest seed, coming in at No. 2 in the 200 breast, while also ranking No. 6 in the 100 breast. The diving will be led by Richard Pokorny (Pa-corn-ee), who has twice been name the Big 12 Men's Diver of the Week this season. Richard has already qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships, along with Christian Parker and Liam McLaughlin.