Jan. 30, 2013
FORT WORTH – An all-around performance with strength in quality and depth helped the TCU women’s swimming and diving team defeat North Texas 161-139 Wednesday evening at the University Recreation Center Natatorium. The win takes TCU to 4-3 to close dual meet competition for the season.
“It feels really great to win,” TCU head coach Richard Sybesma said. “It has been a tough two weeks with the four meets and our girls really stepped up. North Texas has a good program and they came to perform tonight.”
TCU found itself in an early 48.5-44.5 hole after North Texas picked up a win in the 100 back and a 1-2 finish in the 100 breast. The Horned Frogs 200 fly trio stepped up with a commanding performance as Ali Bleasdell (2:03.64), Catherine Rash (2:03.89) and Maggie Burkhardt (2:06.24) swept the top three spots. In the ensuing 50 free Parris Schoppa defeated Sabine Rasch by the slimmest of margins, 24.04-to-24.05, but got the needed points for TCU to have a strong lead going into the first diving break.
“Those two are neck-and-neck whenever they compete,” Sybesma said. “There are events like the 50 free tonight where you could flip a coin on who wins. I am proud of both of them, and they are top-notch sprinters.
“We won some strategic events that allowed us to stay ahead in the meet,” Sybesma continued. “The sweep in the 200 fly followed by the 1-2 in the 50 free were big. As too were Katie Lybbert’s win on 3-meter and Sara’s (Brzozowski) win in the 500 free.”
The win was a testament to TCU’s team depth. Both the Horned Frogs and the Mean Green won eight events on the evening, but it was the depth of the TCU squad that gave them that little extra to get over the top. In the 100 and 200 back, 100 fly and 400 IM TCU was unable to get the win, but the Frogs finished second, third and fourth keeping the team points swing down to only one point per event. North Texas was only able to pull the same feat off in 3-meter diving.
“That helped us keep the point swings down,” Sybesma said. “It hurts in meets when your opponent finishes 1-2, or 1-2-3. Anytime you don’t win you want to keep the point swing to as little as possible.”
TCU’s relay teams posted victories to start and end the meet as the team of Aly Davis, Gabi Korac, Ali Polhill and Rasch won the 200 medley relay in 1:46.62, and the squad of Rasch, Mikayla Winkler, Polhill and Schoppa won the 200 free relay in 1:37.41. Rasch got her third win of the evening in the 100 free (52.33), and Brzozowski won the 500 free (5:00.62).
The Horned Frogs encountered a last-minute strategy problem when Katie Scarsella was ruled out of the meet. On paper the event where Scarsella would be missed the most would be the 200 free, an event she had been performing well in over the recent dual meets. Winkler stepped up and was able to clinch the victory in 1:52.54.
“We put other girls in her events and told them to step up,” Sybesma noted. “Mikayla did that in the 200 free and we were able to do our job in the 50 and 100 free.”
In the diving well, Katie Lybbert took the 3-meter diving title, just missing out on her second-career 300-point performance with a score of 299.03. She was also TCU’s top competitor on 1-meter, finishing tied for second with 244.50.
The dual meet wrapped up the regular season for the Horned Frogs. All eyes are now on the conference championships in Austin Feb. 27-March 2.
“Anytime you win it is a stepping stone,” Sybesma concluded. “Winning tonight helps us for what is to come in the next month.”