Oct. 29, 2012
FORT WORTH – After nearly a month out of competition, the TCU men’s squad returns to the pool this weekend with a dual meet against North Dakota in Lawrence, Kan. GoFrogs.com sat down with head coach Richard Sybesma and diving coach Wayne Chester to discuss the 2012-13 men’s team.
“Our goal is to challenge Texas at the conference meet,” Sybesma said. “We want to get a relay or two and a few individuals to the NCAA meet.”
Senior Devin Price is TCU’s go-to guy in the sprint freestyle events. Price has become one of the top sprinters in Horned Frogs history and an ideal competitor in his coaches eyes.
“Devin is the leader of the group in terms of being ready for every meet,” Sybesma noted. “He is ready to go and he will be our top sprinter in every meet. We can always count on Devin to give us a great split on the anchors of the relays.”
Junior Ryan Wilcox had a good debut season for TCU, and Sybesma sees him as a guy who can make a bigger impact this season.
“Ryan is a returnee that we feel will be a huge asset this year,” Sybesma observed. “He has really grown.”
Freshman Corey Nix won the 2012 Texas Class 4A state title in the 100 free and has already made a good impression early on. With Price, Nix and freshman Adam Szilagyi, Sybesma feels he has three legs of the 200 and 400 free relays set.
“We will find someone to step up and sprint,” Sybesma noted. “We have to find that fourth leg.”
The longer distance races is one of TCU’s strongest areas. Michael Franz is the school record holder in the 1,000 and 1,650 free and fourth all-time in the 500 free. Sebastian Arispe is the school record holder in the 500 free, second in the 1,650 free and fourth in the 1,000 free. Thor Stenfjord is fifth in the 1,000 and 1,650 free. That doesn’t even get to other contributors such as Ross Van Allen and Josh Mangus.
“We feel good about our depth and quality in the distance events,” Sybesma said. “Franz, Sebastian, Thor, Ross and Mangus are all good 200-to-500 swimmers.”
TCU has to replace 100 fly school record holder Laszlo Gyurko and 200 fly school record holder Friedrich Grott. The group will be topped by returnees Luiz Azarias and Ryker Saunders. However, it is two newcomers that have the coaches excited.
“One guy who has done a great job and has really surprised us is Grayson Whitten,” Sybesma noted. “He has been our second-fastest 200 fly swimmer in practice.”
The other is Szilagyi. The Hungarian set multiple national records before coming to the United States and the Horned Frogs are excited by the versatility he brings to the pool.
“Adam is a well-rounded swimmer,” Sybesma said. “He can swim sprint free, sprint fly or sprint back. He will help us in many areas, including relays.”
Cooper Robinson may be TCU’s top swimmer. The sophomore shattered the school record in the 200 back and was a U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier for the 200-meter backstroke. Robinson had the 22nd-fastest time in the NCAA in the 200 back last season.
The Horned Frogs can also turn to backstroke-specialists Josh Mangus and Nelson Head as well.
“Mangus made the Olympic Trials along with Cooper in the 200 back,” Sybesma noted. “We have a very good group of backstrokers.”
Gone is two-time Olympian Edgar Crespo. The Panamanian leaves huge shoes to fill, as breaststroke was usually an area the Horned Frogs did not have to worry about losing in meets. TCU will turn to its youth for help. In the first dual meet of the season at UT-Permian Basin, it was freshman Harrison Bui who turned in three event wins.
“Harrison has already gone in the 58s for us,” Sybesma stated. “His best is in the 57s. We look for him to continue to improve, and to possibly become our go-to guy in the 100 and 200 breast in dual meets.”
Another freshman who will be a factor in the breaststroke is Ford Story. He was the Texas Class 4A state champion in the 100 breast.
“Ford has to grow a little more, but we see him becoming a good breaststroke swimmer,” Sybesma said.
The Horned Frogs will also count on August Van Allen to contribute in the breaststroke.
The Horned Frogs are a talented group in this area, led by Mitch Adshead. The Englishman is TCU’s top returning competitor in the 200 and 400 IM last season.
“Mitch is a really good IMer,” Sybesma said. “He is more of a rested swimmer, but when he is rested he can go against anyone in the country.”
The Horned Frogs have a variety of swimmers who are strong IMers with Robinson, Franz, Stenfjord, Ryan Hall and August Van Allen all being capable of putting up fast times.
“We have a really good group,” Sybesma said. “That will show at the conference meet.”
Ricky Bradley was TCU’s top competitor on all three boards last season. The sophomore looks to be among the best again this year.
“I think Ricky is really solid,” diving coach Wayne Chester said. “He gets more and more consistent every time he gets on the boards.”
Curtis Muller continued to improve as the season went along and looks to make an impact again. Joseph Stegeman is TCU’s other returning diver.
“Curtis is having some hurdle issues we are working with, but he has been good,” Chester said.
The newcomer on the men’s diving boards is sophomore Sean Evans. Coming off a two-year mission, he is still getting back into form.
“Sean is so powerful,” Chester said. “He is kind of tough to control. We still have some work to contain his power.”
After this weekend’s meet against North Dakota, the Horned Frogs have a huge dual meet in Dallas against SMU on Nov. 7.
“We have to be tough when we swim SMU,” Sybesma said.
The divers will compete at the Cougar Invitational Nov. 15-17 and the swimmers will be at USA Short Course Nationals on Nov. 29-Dec. 1. The men will close out 2012 with the San Antonio Classic Dec. 15-17.
The Horned Frogs open 2013 with two Big 12 dual meets at West Virginia on Jan. 18 and home to Texas on Jan. 25. TCU is the only Big 12 men’s team with two dual meets against conference opponents.
“We don’t have as many dual meets as usual, but we have quality competition,” Sybesma noted. “With the conference meet in Austin, we will be swimming in one of the top pools in the country with a great opportunity to get our NCAA cuts.
The Big 12 Championships take place Feb. 27-March 2 in Austin. NCAA Zone Diving will be March 13-16 in Houston. The season will conclude with the NCAA Championships March 28-30 in Indianapolis.