Frogs Land C-USA's First-Ever Swimming and Diving Championship and Invite Sweep
Feb. 28, 2004
Houston, Texas - In Conference USA's first-ever single-school sweep of the swimming and diving championships and invite, the H20 Frogs of TCU dominated the competition to win the school's first-ever women's conference title and the third-straight men's invite title. The women finished 772 over East Carolina's 578, while the men finished 896 over the Pirates' 711. Junior Craig Chapman earned men's Swimmer of the Meet award, while head coach Richard Sybesma gained the Coach of the Meet award.
"This is an awesome experience for the program, to have the men's and the women's championships at TCU," Sybesma commented after the meet, dripping wet from a post-victory team jump in the pool. "The kids did a great job on the pool and on the diving boards. I have a great staff to support me. Being named Coach of the Year is really special. It's a reflection on the program and on the kids. I have people come up and tell us how we're a classy program. That really means a lot, when other coaches and other teams come up and say that to us."
As is the custom at swim meets, especially championships, the ten minutes before the start of the meet involved a lot of elaborate team cheers, usually call-and-answers involving the fans. TCU managed to outlast everyone, however, just like their athletic performances over the past three days. The parents were the highlight, as the Horned Frog dads ripped off their shirts to reveal "F-R-O-G-S" written on their combined chests. The boisterous fan support provided just the extra firepower that would boost the Frogs to their first sweep ever of Conference USA.
East Carolina's coaching staff advised its team that they needed only to make up 60 points: the differential left if TCU and ECU scored the way the preliminaries suggested.
After having swam in multiple events already this meet, freshman Keleigh Wentworth raced the 66 pool lengths of the 1,650 freestyle. She finished third in the event making her four-for-four in the top 3 for the meet (second in the 500 free, third in the 400 IM, and first in the 800 free relay). For the men, in his first career Conference USA individual title, senior Andy Donovan dropped an impressive 14 seconds off his season-best time in the mile, winning the event in the final two laps with a two-second lead on Cincinnati's Josh Kline, the number-one seed.
In the men's platform finals, senior Stephen Gebren nabbed a second-place score while senior Chad Hummel and sophomore Kelly McCain finished 5-6, collectively scoring 44 points in the Frogs' favor.
Juniors Aimee Moreau and Tiffany Strawn went 1-3 on the women's 200 back (2:02.23 and 2:03.96, respectively), Moreau duplicating her title from last year. In the men's portion, junior Craig Chapman again won the 200 back (1:47.14), with juniors Scott McCure and Rilus Graham supporting at fourth.
The women, having dominated the 100 freestyle in the morning preliminaries, scored a 2-3-4-5-8 finalist sweep. Tulane freshman Linda McEachrane nabbed the meet record title in 50.13. Irons, Tate, Sandifer, and Sullivan followed while Wannemacher came in eighth. The Frogs collected 77 points from the one event; Irons took another NCAA B-cut qualifying time of 50.86. For the men, freshman Yousif Del Valle and senior David Tietze paired for a a 4-5 finish.
In the 200 breaststroke, senior Liz Proffitt and freshman Christi Cannon finished 7-8. Their combined points, along with senior Amber Ferguson' s B-final finish, kicked the Frogs up to just over 200 points beyond East Carolina's reach, 450 points beyond Saint Louis, the last place team. The men barely missed out on a 1-2 finish in the breast, with freshman Aran Bean dropping over five second off his season best in a meet record, finishing over two second ahead of the field. Sophomore Alan McCallum finished just three one-hundredths behind second-place Casey Cronin of East Carolina.
In their final stand of the 2004 C-USA Championships, the women's 400 free relay team (Irons, Tate, Sullivan, Sandifer) cracked open the meet record with their first-place finish of 3:25.36, almost two seconds ahead of Cincinnati. In a tight race, the Horned Frog men (Del Valle, Tietze, McCure, and Bean) finished second (3:02.23) to Cincinnati's 3:01.84.
Women's individual awards:
Men's individual awards:
Coach of the Meet: Richard Sybesma