The University of Texas and the Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center are set to host the 18th Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships. Competition will begin Wednesday, Feb. 26 and conclude on Saturday, March 1. This season marks the eighth time the Longhorns have hosted the event.
The Longhorns, ranked sixth nationally on the women’s and eighth on the men's, are favored to win both titles. Texas’ men’s team has claimed the Big 12 crown every year since the inception of the league in 1996, giving the Longhorns 17 titles total. The women’s squad has won 11 of the 17 crowns.
The 2014 event will mark the second featuring the league’s current membership. TCU, Texas and West Virginia will compete on the men’s side while Iowa State, Kansas, TCU, Texas and West Virginia will vie for the women’s championship.
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 prelims sessions are $6 for adults and $4 for youth while tickets to the finals sessions are $10 for adults and $6 for youth.
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.
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 A. 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-Baylor men's basketball game (Wednesday, 8 p.m.) and the Texas UIL Girls Basketball State Tournament (all day Thursday through Saturday) nearby at the Erwin Center.
TEAM BY TEAM PREVIEWS
Click on each team's name for full schedules and results.
Iowa State (W)
The Cyclones have momentum on their side after finishing the 2013-14 regular season with four-consecutive dual meet victories – including wins over conference foes West Virginia and Kansas. This season marks the 12th time in the previous 15 seasons that an ISU swimming and diving team has entered the Big 12 Championships with a winning record, and this year’s seven wins matches a school record set during the 2001-02 campaign. Sr. Imelda Wistey etched her name in stone this season as the top breaststroker in Iowa State school history after taking down her own record in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:00.46 and breaking the school record in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:13.79.
The Jayhawks head to Austin led by the talents of sophomore Chelsie Miller. The Houston, Texas native set KU all-time records in the 200-yard butterfly (1:58.58) and in the 1000-yard freestyle (9:51.70). She also grabbed silver in the 400-yard individual medley (4:08.86) at the 2013 AT&T Winter Nationals. Miller is accompanied by a talented group of seniors including Morgan Sharp, who holds top times for the Jayhawks in all freestyle events and Alison Lusk, who set a school record in the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:14.46. The Jayhawks are looking to build on their fourth-place finish in 2013 and finish at least second, which would be the highest finish of any Kansas team in the Big 12 era.
Cooper Robinson became TCU's first-ever Big 12 Champion in any sport, with his first-place finish in the 200 back last year with the time of 1:43.35. He swan a 1:42.40 in the 200 back at the Art Adamson Invitational in November. In his freshman debut, Frog Adam Szilagyi was fourth (1:43.87) at the conference meet, while Mitch Adsheads posted a career-best 2:00.82 in the 200 breast to place third. Also look for big meets from Sebastian Arispe, the school record holder in the 500 free; Ryker Saunders and Thor Stenjford. In diving, Curtis Mueller was second, edging out Ricky Bradley placed third, while Joseph Stegeman was sixth. The Frogs will need valuable points from them.
The Frogs went 3-0 (meet with Texas was canceled due to weather) in their second season in the Big 12 Conference. With a year under their belts, watch for the Frogs to make a bigger splash in this year's conference championships. Ali Bleasdell set a school record in the 200 IM in last year's meet (2:01.04), and she finished third in the 200 Fly (1:59.12). Bleasdell is also the school record holder in the 400 IM. Sara Brzozowski, who finished sixth in the 500 Free and Mikayla Winkler, who had three first at a dual with UNT in their last meet of the regular season, finished seventh (4:52.29). Julie Grace Sanders, who had four first-places finishes at UNT, will participate in her first-ever Big 12 Championships as will Lyndsie Gibson, who is a transfer from the University of Arkansas. She is TCU's school record-holder in the 100 and 200 back. In diving, Lauren Mikulecky was 12th in last year's championships.
The Longhorns have won all 17 Big 12 Championship meets and have claimed 34 consecutive conference championships under 36th-year head coach Eddie Reese. Texas won the 2013 Big 12 Championship in Austin with 985 points. Freshman Jack Conger has already qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 200 backstroke. Sophomore Matt Ellis, an Austin native and Georgia transfer, holds the nation's third-fastest time in the 50 freestyle (19.37) and the ninth-fastest time in the 100 freestyle (43.07). The Longhorns’ 400 freestyle, 400 medley, 200 medley and 800 freestyle relay teams also have made the NCAA qualifying time. Texas divers won the team title at the USA Diving Winter National Championships. The top UT competitors I diving are sophomore Cory Bowersox and junior Will Chandler along with freshmen Mark Anderson and Michael Hixon.
The Longhorns are ranked No. 6 nationally and have won 11 of 17 Big 12 Championship meets along with 116 Big 12 individual swimming titles, 54 Big 12 relay crowns and 34 Big 12 diving championships. UT won the 2013 Big 12 Championships in Austin with 1,051 points. Samantha Tucker has posted an NCAA qualifying time in the 200 freestyle. Junior Kelsey LeNeave holds the No. 25 slot nationally in the 200 freestyle at 1:45.89. Junior Kaitlin Pawlowicz has top-15 national times in the 1,650 freestyle and the 1,000 freestyle. UT’s 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams also have qualified for the NCAA Championship. The Longhorns' women's divers won the combined team title for a second straight year at the USA Diving Winter National Championships. Senior Maren Taylor and freshman Murphy Bromberg are the top performers in diving. Taylor has earned a spot on the U.S. roster for this summer's FINA World Cup in Shanghai, China.
West Virginia (M)
The Mountaineers’ roster is bolstered by three top swimmers who redshirted. Senior Bryce Bohman has been the top performer for the Mountaineers. He has 16 individual wins across three events (100 back, 200 back, 100 fly) and has been a member of 13 relay wins. His time of 46.40 in the 100 back ranks first in the Big 12 and fifth nationally. The men’s relay teams amassed 18 wins across multiple events. Senior diver Liam McLaughlin was the Big 12 Men’s Swimming and Diving Scholar-Athlete of the Year award last season, while also being the first WVU male to qualify for the finals at the NCAA Zone Championships. Sophomore Keith Carmichael placed eighth on the 1-meter and 11th on the 3-meter at the Big 12 Championships last season and looks to make a run at the podium.
West Virginia (W)
The Mountaineers have just two seniors and feature a talented group of young swimmers led by juniors Julie Ogden and Jenelle Zee. Ogden holds the team season-best times in both the 100 fly (53.67) and 200 fly (2:00.35). Zee placed fourth in the 100 breast in last season’s championships and currently holds the team season-best times in the 100 breast (1:02.09) and 200 breast (2:18.05). Both Ogden and Zee will feature prominently in the Mountaineer relays. Junior Haily VandePoel and sophomore Lindsay Schmidt lead a deep group of divers. VandePoel placed fifth on the 3-meter and sixth on the 1-meter at the 2013 Big 12 Championships. Schmidt was named to the Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team and placed eighth on the 1-meter and 12th on the 3-meter at the 2013 Big 12 Championships