March 2, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas – Cooper Robinson became TCU swimming and diving’s first Big 12 Champion with his win in the men’s 200 back Saturday night. The TCU men’s team staged a big comeback to overcome West Virginia for second place with 798 team points compared to WVU’s 788 points. The women’s team finished in third with 574 points, only two back of West Virginia for second.
“To bring the women’s team race for second to the last event and to have the men’s second place race wrapped up was phenomenal,” TCU head coach Richard Sybesma said. “We did a lot of great work on the last day.”
Robinson came into the meet as the top seed, but dropped to third after prelims and going into finals. The race featured a lot of smaller races in itself. Adam Szilagyi set the pace with a blistering first 50 yards in 24.26. Austin Surhoff of Texas made up the ground on Szilagyi and looked to be home clear with 75 yards to go. However, Robinson put up identical 26.22 splits in the last 100 yards and was able to hold off a hard-charging Kip Darmody of Texas to take the win in 1:43.35.
“It means a lot to win,” Robinson said. “I am glad that I was able to represent my team in a good way. I just was thinking I had to go and finish the race.”
“It is neat to bring home a championship,” Sybesma said. “We have talked to him about it and he made it happen. I am really proud of him.”
Robinson led four TCU men in the ‘A’ final with Szilagyi finishing fourth in 1:43.87, Josh Mangus was seventh in 1:46.90 and Nelson Head took eighth in his last swim as a Horned Frog in 1:50.21.
The diving well was the site of TCU’s first individual silver of the meet. Prior to the swimming finals, Curtis Muller posted a huge 72.50 score on his final dive to come home second with 263.20. He edged out Ricky Bradley, who took third with 233.75 as Sean Evans (fifth, 199.05) and Joseph Stegeman (sixth, 196.75) also picked up important points for the Frogs.
Luiz Azarias earned TCU’s second silver medal of the evening with his a school record and NCAA ‘B’ cut in 1:46.04. He shaved three-tenths of a second off the TCU school record, previously held by Friedrich Grott in 1:46.34. Ryker Saunders also earned big points for the Horned Frogs, taking fifth in 1:51.55.
“Luiz had a great meet,” Sybesma said. “It was nice that he was able to pick up second place.”
One of the most important events to the TCU men’s team effort was the men’s 200 breast. Mitch Adshead took third place in a career-best time of 2:00.82, and Harrison Bui finished fifth in 2:04.80. It was August Van Allen seeded eighth in lane eight who had the big swim, finishing sixth ahead of two WVU swimmers in 2:05.21 to give the Frogs a boost in the team standings.
TCU also put a trio of swimmers in the top-eight of the men’s 1,650 free. Thor Stenfjord led the way in fourth at 15:31.31 with Sebastian Arispe right behind in sixth in 15:37.62 and Michael Franz in eighth in 15:48.40.
The men’s 100 free featured two Frogs in the top-seven with Devin Price’s last individual race as a Horned Frog finished with him in sixth place in a new career-best time of 44.38. Corey Nix took out the first half of his race extremely fast, posting a 9.89 25-yard split and a 20.95 50-yard split. Nix missed out to Price at the wall with his seventh place finish in 44.39.
“Our breaststroke and butterfly finished the meet greatly for us,” Sybesma said. “I was really impressed with how all of our men performed tonight.”
The women’s team race came down to the final event with TCU and WVU tied going into the 400 free relay. The task was left to Sabine Rasch, Katie Scarsella, Mikayla Winkler and Parris Schoppa to bring the Horned Frogs home in the 400 free relay. Three seniors, all possiblly in their final swims wearing a TCU cap, and the freshman Winkler put up a valiant effort, but came in fourth in the relay in 3:21.96 to WVU’s third in 3:21.36.
“I told our girls before the last relay to do their best,” Sybesma said. “We would have liked to be better than third, but to get to that point was great. I was really proud for all of them.”
Rasch picked up her second individual fourth place finish of the meet in the 100 free, touching the wall in an NCAA ‘B’ cut time of 49.38. Scarsella and Schoppa each picked up their second individual medals of the meet with Scarsella taking seventh in a new career-best time of 50.57 and Schoppa was eighth in 50.80.
Ali Bleasdell got her top individual finish of the meet with her third place finish in the 200 fly in 1:59.12. She earned her third individual NCAA ‘B’ cut of the meet. Catherine Rash made her first career Big 12 Championships ‘A’ final, taking seventh in 2:03.20.
“Ali finished her meet off in great style,” Sybesma said. “She finished off a great meet and a great year tonight. I could not be happier for her.”
Gabi Korac and Michelle Fleming got onto the podium for the Horned Frogs in the women’s 200 breast. Korac finished fifth in 2:14.77, and Fleming touched in eighth in 2:17.15.
Sara Brzozowski set a pair of school records during her sixth place finish in the women’s 1,650 free race. The freshman took out her first 1,000 yards in 9:57.93, 0.05 seconds faster than her school record set in December. She finished the race in a new school record time of 16:37.26.
The Frogs women had two rise into the top eight for the women's platform competition. Kristen Connolly finished seventh with 195.55, and Katie Lybbert took eighth at 193.70.
The TCU women will have competitors at the NCAA Zone Diving Championships in two weeks. The TCU men’s team will have competitors return to Austin next week for the All-American meet.