After four days at the Big 12 Championships in Columbia, Mo., the Longhorns returned home to Austin with a second place finish to Texas A&M.
Head coach Kim Brackin had hoped for better. And so had the team.
“As a whole, I’m a bit disappointed,” Brackin said. “Whenever you don’t meet one of your goals it’s disappointing, but I feel really good about where we are right now in terms of moving forward.”
Since next year’s Big 12 meet won’t consist of its traditional fierce rivalry with the Aggies, that second place is a tad more bitter for the team who wanted to defeat A&M one last time.
“They’re disappointed — you can see it in their faces,” said Brackin about her team. “It was the last Big 12 meet as we know it, but we can’t control what other teams do. We can only control ourselves, and I think it takes a really mature team to swim through a meet that requires so much emotion.”
The next step, Brackin said, will involve placing the team’s lingering emotions of last weekend’s meet behind them and setting their sights on improvement.
“Now the key is in how they respond,” she said. “Do they prepare, or do they dwell on the fact that they got beat by a team who was better at the moment?”
Despite finishing behind A&M, stellar individual performances aren’t to be ignored, Brackin said.
“Sam Tucker had a really nice meet — I was really pleased with her demeanor through the meet,” Brackin said. “I think it was a good learning experience for Karlee [Bispo], because she got to learn a little bit more about her best racing strategies before we head into NCAAs.”
Brackin said Laura Sogar’s improvement throughout the four days was crucial to the team.
“She did better each day, each session,” Brackin said. “She was a really key asset for us, especially in the 200 breaststroke. She used the meet to really learn about her swimming.”
She also praised the performance of sophomore Ellen Lobb, who won the 50 freestyle on Thursday and performed strongly throughout the meet.
“Ellen Lobb was awesome,” Brackin said. “She is really coming into her own and is becoming a much more confident swimmer. If you’re enjoying it and having fun and having confidence in yourself, results turn out good.”
As for how the past weekend’s events will affect those swimmers continuing on to NCAAs, Brackin said it’s tough to predict, but she hopes it will motivate the team to continue to push itself.
“It could go a lot of different ways; they could be down and doubtful or they could use it as fuel, and I think that’s what will happen,” she said. “I think they’re going to take the desire to swim faster over the next two weeks and hopefully apply it.”