Laura Sogar

Swimming and Diving finds success at World University Games

Several current and former Longhorns have found success at the World University Games this week. 

On day three of the competition, former Longhorn Laura Sogar captured bronze in the 100-meter breaststroke, just two seconds behind gold. Rising sophomore Meghan Houston, a diver, also won bronze a day earlier, on Thursday. Houston competed in the three-meter synchronized event with Laura Ryan, a diver from Georgia. Earlier, Houston finished 10th in the one-meter diving semifinals. 

Sogar will compete in the 200-meter breaststroke this weekend and the 50-meter breaststroke on Monday. 

Junior Jake Ritter placed seventh in the 400-meter freestyle event on Wednesday, his only event. Teammate Jack Conger, an incoming freshman, will compete in the 200-meter breaststroke and 100-meter butterfly on Sunday. 

Another former Longhorn, Austin Surhoff, will participate in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay this coming Monday. All are competing for Team USA. 

Texas capped its season off with a ninth place finish at the NCAA Championships but landed its first individual title winner since 2001 as senior Laura Sogar won the 200-yard breaststroke.

“It feels so good,” Sogar said. “That was the last swim of my college swimming career. There have been some ups and downs. It was great to finish it off well and with a win.”

Sogar pulled ahead Saturday in the last 50-yards, beating out a former champion in the event, Minnesota’s Haley Spencer, and the American record holder Breeja Larson. Sogar finished in 2:05.41, Spencer in 2:06.15 and Larson in 2:06.24. Sogar’s best time is 2:05.04. 

“I’m happy she was able to put it together at the right time,” head coach Carol Capitani said. “It was a little off of her best time but at this meet the time doesn’t matter. It’s about winning.”

Sogar finished sixth in the 100-yard breaststroke Friday.

Texas finished ninth place overall with 186 points, while Georgia took the top spot with 477, followed by California at 393 and Tennessee at 325.5.

Junior Sarah Denninghoff added points for her team with an eighth-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke.

The 400-yard freestyle relay featuring juniors Alex Hooper, Denninghoff, Samantha Tucker and senior Kelsey Amundsen finished seventh on the last day of competition.

Senior diver Shelby Cullinan and redshirt junior Maren Taylor missed the championship but managed a one-two finish in the consolation final. Cullinan won with 315.35, while Taylor had 309.55.

Published on March 25, 2013 as "Sogar grabs NCAA title for Longhorns". 

No. 10 Texas finished its regular season matchups defeating both SMU and No. 5 Arizona on Friday while taking 10 events in an unscored exhibition Saturday at Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center.

The Longhorns dominated SMU 228-66 while posting a closer margin against Arizona, 154-146, only pulling ahead in the final event of the day. Texas ended the season with a 5-3 record.

Senior Laura Sogar took first in the 200 breaststroke as she holds UT’s record in the event. Sophomore Gretchen Jaques claimed a pair of victories in the 100 breaststroke and the 100 butterfly while junior Samantha Tucker won the 200 freestyle.

Redshirt junior Maren Taylor and senior Shelby Cullinan, finished one-two in both the one-meter and three-meter diving events.

Having already secured a win against SMU, the Longhorns took the lead against Arizona with one-two finishes in the 400 individual medley. Sophomore Kaitlin Pawlowicz took the win as Sogar came in second and junior Victoria Cassidy fourth. A 200 freestyle relay win solidified the victory. 

Texas competes next when it hosts the Big 12 Championships on Feb. 27.

The fifth-ranked Longhorns had a tough weekend, falling to both No. 11 Auburn and No. 3 Georgia on the road.

On Thursday, senior Laura Sogar and junior Maren Taylor posted two wins apiece in a narrow 153-145 loss to Auburn. Three tight races ultimately turned the tide in the Tigers’ favor. The 1,000-yard freestyle, 100 backstroke and 200 butterfly were all decided by less than .75 seconds. Sophomore Skylar Smith also claimed first in the 200 individual medley.

On Saturday, Georgia handled Texas without much problem, 143-100. Sogar completed a perfect weekend with a win in the 200 breaststroke. Sophomore Gretchen Jaques, junior Ellen Lobb and junior Sarah Denninghoff also notched victories.

Texas resumes competition Jan. 25 in Fort Worth against TCU.  

Seniors Laura Sogar, Kelsey Amundsen, Maren Taylor and sophomore Kaitlin Pawlowicz captured two wins apiece to help the Longhorns defeat both Indiana and Michigan in the home opener Friday at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center.

Texas ousted Indiana 172-128 while crushing the Wolverines 217-83.

“It means a lot,” head coach Carol Capitani said of capturing the first wins of the season and her head coaching career. “I wanted to start off on the right foot. We showed some character and toughness tonight. But we just need to keep working.”

Sogar, the school record holder in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, swam away from the Hoosiers and Wolverines in both those events notching times good enough for an NCAA “B” cut.

“She is very consistent and dependable,” Capitani said of Sogar. “She is one of the best girls in the country, and I am lucky to have her.”

Taylor, a two-time All-American, swept the diving events.

The Longhorns will travel to Cal-Berkley on Friday to take on the defending champs before going up against Stanford on Saturday.

Women's Swimming and Diving

Texas took fourth place out of six teams over the weekend in the two-day SMU Classic finishing with 268 points. USC won the meet with 366 points, with North Carolina and Florida behind it.

Senior Laura Sogar took first in the 200-yard breaststroke, doing so in 2:10.98, beating out the second place swimmer by almost two seconds. Sogar, who also finished second in the 100-yard breaststroke, had the only first place finish for the Longhorns in the tournament.

However, Texas had some good times, especially in the relays. The team of Sarah Denninghoff, Gretchen Jaques, Ellen Lobb and Kelsey Amundsen finished second in the 200-yard medley relay and Amundsen, Lobb, Denninghoff and Alex Hooper did just as well in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Amundsen later captured second in the 100-yard freestyle while diver Diana Wilcox registered a second place finish in the three-meter diving event.

But like Sogar said before the meet, it’s all about the experience at this point in the season.

“Our times are less of a concern,” Sogar said. “It’s about getting out there, racing and practicing mental toughness.”

Texas took fourth place out of six teams over the weekend in the two-day SMU Classic finishing with 268 points. USC won the meet with 366 points, with North Carolina and Florida behind it.

Senior Laura Sogar took first in the 200-yard breaststroke, doing so in 2:10.98, beating out the second place swimmer by almost two seconds. Sogar, who also finished second in the 100-yard breaststroke, had the only first place finish for the Longhorns in the tournament.

However, Texas had some good times, especially in the relays. The team of Sarah Denninghoff, Gretchen Jaques, Ellen Lobb and Kelsey Amundsen finished second in the 200-yard medley relay and Amundsen, Lobb, Denninghoff and Alex Hooper did just as well in the 200-yard freestyle relay.

Amundsen later captured second in the 100-yard freestyle while diver Diana Wilcox registered a second place finish in the three-meter diving event.

But like Sogar said before the meet, it’s all about the experience at this point in the season.

“Our times are less of a concern,” Sogar said. “It’s about getting out there, racing and practicing mental toughness.”

Texas begins its season Friday at 3 p.m. at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in the annual Orange-White intrasquad meet.

The team will divide into two squads and compete against one another.

“I am excited to see them race,” head coach Carol Capitani, who replaced Kim Brackin in April, said. “It’s been awhile of just pure training, so it will be fun to see where they are as a team and individually.”

While the Longhorns look to improve on their ninth-place finish at last year’s NCAA championships, Capitani knows that under her leadership, they will take time before they are back to where they were during the late ‘80s ­— NCAA champions.

“Hopefully we can improve on where we were last year,” Capitani said. “I’m not just being humble. This year is about building the bricks for success.”

The team will be returning eight of the 10 individuals who had top-16 performances in the championship meet: Bethany Adams, Kelsey Amundsen, Kelsey LeNeave, Ellen Lobb, Lily Moldenhauer, Laura Sogar, Samantha Tucker and Diana Wilcox.

Their first official meet will come next weekend at the SMU Classic in Dallas, and Sogar is looking forward to getting the season started.

“There is incredible talent on this team and the motivation factor and the hard work that’s being put in is second to none,” Sogar said. “We are really excited for this year. We want to prove ourselves to everyone.”

Women's Swimming and Diving

California proved too much for the Longhorns to handle at the NCAA Championships and the Golden Bears took home first place for the second time in as many years. It was Cal's third title in four years.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Texas finished in ninth place at this year’s NCAA Championships in Auburn, Ala., as California won its second title
in a row.

Texas has finished in the top 10 in 11 of its past 13 seasons and capped off this year’s championships with 201 points and 20 All-America honors.

Swimmers Bethany Adams, Kelsey Amundsen, Karlee Bispo, Kelsey LeNeave, Ellen Lobb, Lily Moldenhauer, Katie Riefenstahl, Laura Sogar, Samantha Tucker and diver Diana Wilcox were all recognized for top 16 performances.

The Longhorns kicked off the meet on a strong note by breaking a school record in the 200 freestyle relay. Bispo, Adams, Lobb and Amundsen combined for a 1:27.65, outdoing the previous record of 1:28.06 set at last year’s NCAA Championships.

Senior Bispo finished a strong last season with 47 points at the end of the three-day meet, making her the seventh highest individual scorer at the championships. Bispo broke school records in the 100 freestyle, 200 freestyle and 200 freestyle relay.

Bispo’s second place finish in Thursday’s 200 freestyle race was a mere second behind Georgia’s Megan Romano, who broke the NCAA record with a time of 1:41.21.

Junior Laura Sogar placed in the top eight in both breaststroke events this weekend and said the chemistry of the team provided moments of lightheartedness in what could have been a stressful atmosphere.

“Any time I am with my teammates I have a good time,” Sogar said. “It was a good competition and we had some good swims. It was a lot of fun and a great experience.”

Bispo, Amundsen, Adams and Tucker earned sixth place in the 400 freestyle relay, clocking in at 3:14.41.

In the last race of her career as a Longhorn, senior Katie Riefenstahl swam for eighth place in the 200 backstroke consolation B final, earning one point for the team.

“I didn’t do what I wanted to do but at the end of the day what places I get in swimming don’t mean as much as the experience I have gotten from swimming and going to school at Texas,” Riefenstahl said. “I have so much more waiting for me and am excited for what is next.”

Diana Wilcox also picked up a team point in the platform diving consolation finals, tallying a score of 232.8 for eighth place.

“I had a really good experience and learned a lot about myself and competing,” Wilcox said of her experience at the NCAA Championships. “I improved on some things and look forward to being better in the future.”

The meet capped off a tough but rewarding season, complete with the expected highs and lows but marked by determination and team dedication.

“It was fun to battle and the team fought hard,” head coach Kim Brackin said. “I thought the team performed extremely well in an incredibly fast meet.”

Women's Swimming & Diving

After four days of trailing behind Texas A&M in the lanes and on the boards, Texas placed second in the Big 12 Championships in Columbia, Mo.

The Longhorns arrived in Missouri to start racing on Wednesday, ending the day a mere two points behind A&M. Karlee Bispo, Katie Riefenstahl, Leah Gingrich and Samantha Tucker nabbed first place in the 800 freestyle relay with a time of 7:04.09. Tucker’s sweeping finish as the final leg helped UT steal the race by over three seconds.

Bispo scored UT’s first individual title at the meet on Thursday with a win in the 200 IM, finishing with a time of 1:56.05. Sophomore Ellen Lobb won the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.56, while Kelsey Amundsen, last years’ winner, followed in second place with a time of 22.71.

By Friday, Texas clung on to second place but couldn’t quite pass A&M. Lily Moldenhauer, Laura Sogar, Lobb and Bispo combined for second place in the 400 medley relay, their time just below the NCAA qualifying standard.

Strong performances popped up throughout the day, as Moldenhauer placed third in the 100 butterfly and second in the 100 backstroke, while Sogar swam her quickest 100 breaststroke race of the season with a time of 1:00.31.

Two Texas divers competed in the 3-meter competition on Friday. Shelby Cullinan placed fourth with 335.75 points and Diana Wilcox took seventh with 311.75 points.

On the final day of the meet, Sogar nabbed her first NCAA qualifying standard with a 2:08.36 in the 200 breaststroke. Gretchen Jacques swam her fastest time of the season for fourth place, a 2:13.65.

Wilcox placed second in the platform diving competition with 298.30 points, and Cullinan took third with 282.60 points.

Bispo, Tucker and Amundsen dominated the 100 freestyle race with times under 50.00, placing second, third and fourth.

Freshman Kelsey LeNeave swam her season best in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 16:16.41 and placed second overall. Another freshman swimmer, Kaitlin Pawlowicz, followed close behind in fourth place with a time of 16:27.87.

The Longhorns finished strong with a win in the last event, the 400 freestyle relay, a race Texas has claimed three of the last four years, with swimmers Bispo, Amundsen, Hooper and Tucker finishing with a 3:16.42.

Texas finished the meet with 873 points, second to rival A&M’s 1,019 points.

On Thursday, swimmers will have another shot at achieving NCAA qualifying marks during the All-American Invitational, which runs through Saturday.