Eighteen members of the women's swimming and diving team will grab their swim bags and head to Columbia, Mo. for the Big 12 Championships on Wednesday with thoughts of rivalry tucked beneath their caps.
A four-day meet with preliminaries and finals will bring together the best of the Big 12, including long-standing swimming rival Texas A&M.
“It's highly contested, usually between A&M and us,” said head coach Kim Brackin. “Missouri brings a lot of good swimmers and there are swimmers from other teams that will show up in the top eight. It's a pretty good battle between us and A&M and we're excited to go head-to-head with them.”
Brackin also said All-American breaststroker Laura Sogar will face one of the top breaststroke swimmers in the country hailing from Texas A&M.
The freshmen competitors will be particularly exciting to watch, Brackin said.
“They're just eager, they're excited and they're wanting to get to this meet and contribute. They are really excited about contributing for a Texas win,” she said.
Several members of the team have already qualified for the upcoming NCAA Championships, while others hope to qualify with times earned at this meet.
“I'm really excited about it,” senior swimmer Bispo said. “I think since it’s getting closer, it's getting more real, and watching other conferences have their conference meets is getting me more and more excited to race and watch my teammates race. This is what we prepare for all year.”
Brackin said the team as a whole feels solid heading into this meet.
“They're energetic about it and I think they feel united about this particular meet,” she said. “They have so much pride in the University of Texas and what the history of the program is, and they want to continue a winning tradition for Texas.”
Preliminaries begin on Wednesday and run through Saturday with finals set for Sunday.
Printed on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 as: Rival A&M stands in way of title hopes for Horns