With only six women competing in Friday evening’s eight events, it was a quality over quantity approach that moved Texas into sixth place by the end of the second night of the NCAA swimming and diving championships.
After a less than stellar showing in the morning’s preliminary swimming events, the Longhorns failed to earn a finals birth in three of the seven swims at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center in the evening. However, divers Maren Taylor and Shelby Cullinan each earned spots in the evening’s lone diving event, the 3-meter springboard.
The second night got underway with it’s third team swim, the 200-yard medley relay. Texas head coach Kim Brackin elected to go with a young relay squad as freshmen Lily Moldenhauer and Ellen Lobb joined sophomores Laura Sogar and Bethany Adams.
Having barely made it into the "A" final as the eighth and final seed, the four underclassmen were unable to put together any kind of upset as they trailed throughout the race.
Despite their struggles, the team’s ability to outswim the Arizona State women en route to a seventh place finish was very important as it added 24 points to the Longhorn’s overall score.
The extra two points earned by moving up a spot allowed them to maintain their overall seventh-place standing, despite Wisconsin’s second-place medley finish.
Neither Leah Gingrich’s team best 29th finish in the 400 individual medley nor Kelsey Amundsen’s team-high 24th spot in the 100 butterfly were good enough to add to Texas’ overall point total.
Team captain Karlee Bispo looked to get the Longhorns back on track as she jumped in the pool for the "A" final in the 200 freestyle. Bispo, a freestyle specialist, got off to a great start as she was in third after 150 yards, but a tough last 50 caused the junior to fall back, finishing the race in fourth with a time of 1 minute, 42.81 seconds.
Sogar was Texas’ lone competitor in the night’s fifth event, the 100 breaststroke, finishing with a time of 59.60 seconds, which earned her seventh and added 12 points to the team’s overall score.
Texas was shutout yet again in the 100 backstroke as Moldenhauer’s 22nd place finish was not good enough to place her in the final heats nor did it earn the team any points.
Looking to regain momentum, the Longhorn’s had two divers in the deep pool’s only event for the night.
The 3-meter springboard was the first event of the 2011 championships in which the Longhorns had multiple competitors in the final.
Taylor and Cullinan were in great position to add to the team total and move Texas up the overall standings and gain momentum.
Despite finishing seventh and eighth in the event, the two women put together an impressive set of dives and their combined total of 23 points was enough to move the Longhorn’s past Auburn and into sixth in the overall standings with a score of 142.
Having just moved up, and trailing Arizona by only 10, Texas had plenty of motivation heading into the night’s marquee event, the 800 freestyle relay.
Bispo was quick off the opening block and swam in spectacular fashion as she led the first 150 yards of the race before dropping into second by the end of her 200. Katie Riefenstahl was next in the water and dropped another spot before giving way to Adrienne Woods for the third leg of the race. Woods dropped into fourth at the 500-yard mark and kept it that way for the next 100. Austin native Samantha Tucker swam a stellar anchor leg and was able to hold on to give the team a fourth place relay finish.
The team was unable to gain any ground on Arizona, who finished third in the final event, but their 30-point effort kept them within striking distance and increased the team’s lead over seventh-place Florida heading into the final day of competition.