Ashley Bolin and the TCU women are set for a big season in 2011-12.
Oct. 4, 2011
Despite graduating six seniors from last year's squad, the future is bright for the TCU women's swimming and diving team. It boasts what head coach Richard Sybesma calls the deepest pool of talent he has seen in his time at TCU.
The head Horned Frog knows a thing or two about talent in Fort Worth as he is entering his 33rd year at the helm of the TCU swimming and diving programs. Out of the water, Sybesma's squad earned the highest cumulative GPA in the Mountain West, with a team mark of better than 3.3.
The TCU women return five swimmers in 2011 that set TCU records at last year's Mountain West Championships. Highlighting that group are Ashley Bolin and Sabine Rasch, who each set three school records last season. Rasch holds the TCU all-time marks in the 50-free, 100-free and 100-fly, while Bolin is the TCU record holder in the 200-free, 200-individual medley and 400-IM.
Rasch burst onto the scene in 2010-11, becoming only the second woman in TCU history to claim an individual conference crown. She won the 2011 MW title in the 100-free with a school-record time of 49.25. She was also a part of four TCU relays that set school all-time marks.
Other returning school-record holders are Jennifer Oster (100-back), Michelle Fleming (200-breast) and Amanda Vincent (200-fly).
The 2011-12 Frog women will be tested by a challenging dual-meet schedule leading up the MW Championship in Oklahoma City, Okla., Feb. 22-25. With a new look Mountain West for 2011-12, the league is as wide open as ever for the Frogs to add to Rasch's individual title from a year ago.
The schedule includes visits to the URC from New Mexico State, Rice, Wyoming and SMU as well as trips to face perennial powers Michigan, Notre Dame and San Diego State.
After dominating freestyle events a year ago, TCU will again be strong in the sprint events and the butterfly stroke should also be a strength for the Frogs.
Anchored by Rasch, the TCU record holder in the 50- and 100-free, and junior Parris Schoppa, the Frogs should be a force in sprint events. A year ago, Rasch went 11-1 in sprint events with her only loss coming by one-hundredth of a second in the 50-free at elevation in Wyoming.
After capturing the MW title in the 100-free as a sophomore, Rasch is poised to compete for multiple titles again this season and looks to qualify for the NCAA Women's Swimming Championship for the first time.
Joining the TCU freestyle corps are incomers Lauren Kaufman and Mackenzie Schuler. Kaufman was a three-time Washington state champion in high school, while Schuler was named an All-American while in high school.
In middle distance and distance freestyle events, Bolin, a senior, will lead TCU. She is the school record holder in the 200-free and is second all-time in program history in the 500-free.
A crop of newcomers joins returning school-record holder in the 100-back Jennifer Oster to bolster the backstroke for the Frogs. Oster's younger sister, Elizabeth, was the 17th-ranked recruit in the state of Colorado.
Another Other freshman who will be looked to for an instant impact in the backstroke is Victoria Thicke-Rattray. She qualified for the 2010 Canadian Olympic Trials in the 100- and 200-back.
Along with the freestyle, TCU will be strong in the butterfly with school record holders at 100-fly and 200-fly returning to the program. In the 100-fly, sprinter-extraordinaire Rasch is the leader with a program all-time best of 54.33
In fact, four of the top five on TCU's all-time 100-fly performance list are back in 2011. Sophomore Amanda Vincent, the TCU record-holder in the 200-fly with a 1:59.20, is second all-time at TCU in the 100-fly.
Other returners are Jennifer Oster, who is fourth all-time, and Zrinka Korac, who holds the fifth-best mark in TCU history. Junior Madison Rupp will provide depth to the TCU butterfly group, as will freshman Ali Bleasdell from Houston.
Sophomore Michelle Fleming is the headliner of the TCU breaststroke corps after she set a TCU record in the 200-breast with a 2:15.77 a year ago. In addition to her 200-breast all-time mark, Fleming holds the third-best time in TCU history in the 100-breast.
Senior Megan Higginbotham and two incomers will bolster TCU's breaststroke roster. Incoming sophomore Gabi Korac, a transfer from Arkansas and younger sister of TCU senior Zrinka Korac, along with Houston-product freshman Van-Anh Hoang should also provide depth.
Senior leader Ashley Bolin is the clear-cut leader of the TCU IMers, holding the school record in both the 200-IM (2:02.89) and 400-IM (4:18.35). She notched an NCAA "B" cut in the 400-IM a year ago.
Joining Bolin is returning sophomore Emily-Rose Creighton. The Canadian swimmer is fifth all-time at TCU in both individual medley events.
Two newcomers to the program join returning junior Katie Lybbert for the Frog diving group. A year ago, Lybbert earned All-MWC honors after joining TCU in the spring semester. Newcomers are Courtney Cheek and Lauren Mikulecky.