TCU Takes First, Second at Incarnate Word Christmas Invite

The third day of the UIW Christmas Invite saw the TCU swimming and diving teams post four event victories, four NCAA ‘B’ cuts and three school records. The TCU men’s team won the team title with 2,200 points, edging out Incarnate Word’s 2,170 points. The Horned Frogs women finished second with 1,810 points with North Texas taking the team title.

“A great night,” TCU head coach Richard Sybesma reflected. “That was a great win for our men. Our women did a great job minus a few student-athletes. They can leave with their heads held high.”

Cooper Robinson re-wrote his own men’s 200 back record, dominating the field in 1:43.25. Robinson’s previous school record stood at 1:43.41. The sophomore has now gone below the ‘B’ cut four times this season. Robinson’s time is the best in the Big 12 this season and projects to 13th in the NCAA this year.

“At this time of year, that is an incredible swim” Sybesma noted. “Cooper is setting himself up well for a chance to make some noise later in the year.”

Adam Szilagyi almost joined Robinson with a ‘B’ cut, as his third place 1:46.64 was only 0.25 seconds off the cut. Josh Mangus finished fifth in 1:48.14.

Sebastian Arispe earned an NCAA ‘B’ cut in the 1,650 free, finishing second in 15:29.03. Arispe was one of four TCU swimmers in the top eight, joined by Thor Stenfjord (third, 15:34.06), Ross Van Allen (sixth, 15:51.93) and Michael Franz (16:01.12).

“That was a great swim for Sebastian,” Sybesma noted. “He attacked his race and did a good job bringing it home. We have a great distance group with a lot of depth.”

The most exciting race of the meet was saved for the last race of the meet. The men’s 400 free relay between TCU and Incarnate Word came down to the anchor legs. The Horned Frogs ‘A’ team of Szilagyi, Corey Nix and Arispe left senior Devin Price with some work to do, with Price starting off 1.3 seconds behind UIW’s anchor. Price put forth an inspired 43.87 anchor leg and out-touched the UIW competitor at the wall in 2:59.84, another NCAA ‘B’ cut.

“Devin blew the doors away on his anchor,” Sybesma said. “It was a touch for the victory and we were lucky to get it. All four of our men swam great splits, and it was another great swim for this time of year.”

TCU took three of the top four slots in the men’s 200 fly. Luiz Azarias touched the wall first in 1:49.41. Grayson Whitten finished third in 1:51.07 and Ryker Saunders recorded a fourth-place effort in 1:52.16.

On the women’s side, Gabi Korac also did the double of setting a school record and posting an NCAA ‘B’ cut in the 200 breast. Korac was able to hold off a hard-charging Krista Rossum of North Texas, touching the wall first in 2:13.37. Korac was the previous school record holder, going 2:13.85 last season.

“Gabi went out of the gates very fast and was able to hold on,” Sybesma noted. “She had a very tough weekend when she added the 400 IM. She was focused going into today and was ready to win.”

Sara Brzozowski also wrote her name into the school record books, taking down the 1,000 free record during the 1,650 free finals. The freshman split her first 1,000 in 9:57.98, breaking Maria Paula Alvarez’s time of 9:59.88 from 2011. Brzozowski finished second in the 1,650 free in 16:40.81, only 1.4 seconds off Alvarez’s school record in that event.

“Sara went after her race and split her 1,000 very well,” Sybesma said. “She had some trouble near the end, but to earn a school record is a great accomplishment.”

In the diving well, the men’s platform competition was a showdown between Ricky Bradley and Curtis Muller. It was Muller who took the win with 233.40 and Bradley coming in second with 227.70.

TCU will be out of competition for the next month, re-entering the pool on Jan. 18 at Big 12 foe West Virginia.

Missouri State

Missouri State wrapped up the first half of the 2012-13 swimming & diving schedule on Monday (Dec. 17) with the final day of competition at the University of Incarnate Word Christmas Invitational. The Bears picked up a trio of top-three finishes, including the first and only victory of the weekend when sophomore Vitalii Baryshok claimed the 100 free title.
TCU edged Incarnate Word in the men’s final team standings, while North Texas took home the top team honors on the women’s side.
Without any training, sophomores Garrett Nevels and Elijah Swaim competed in the men’s platform diving event on Monday and combined for 53 points for the Bears. Nevels and Swaim placed third and fourth, respectively, in the field of six athletes.
The Bears entered a group of eight swimmers into the 1650 free that took place prior to the finals session. In the women’s event, freshman Heather Snyder ranked as the Bears’ top mile swimmer, finishing 13th overall with a time of 17:35.36. A trio of Missouri State swimmers finished in close proximity in the final standings of the men’s 1650 free. Jared Roberts led the way in ninth (16:05.14), followed by Uvis Kalnins (16:17.25) and Caleb Schuermann (16:17.81) in 10th and 11th.
Junior Anna Ahlin was the top finisher in the women’s 200 back, finishing 10th overall after dropping two seconds from her morning swim. Paul Le added to his collection of A-Final appearances in the 200 back, finishing seventh overall (1:49.14). The Bears also had a strong showing in the B-Final as Yuri Garanito secured the victory in the consolation heat and senior captain Daan Jansen swam a season best (1:52.69) to finish 11th.
In the 100 free, Missouri State’s Andrea Uzcategui placed 12th overall in the B-Final (53.05) and freshman Kate Gately won the C-Final, clocking in at 53.68.
Baryshok captured the Bears’ first and only victory of the three-day meet by winning the 100 free. Baryshok (45.03) defeated UIW’s Scott Jonsson by more than a second and improved his season best by a hundredth of a second. Alongside Baryshok in the 100 free A-Final was Kalnins, who placed fifth in his second event of the afternoon.
Qualifying for an A-Final for the second time in as many days, junior Renata Sander was the Bears’ top swimmer in the 200 breast and finished seventh. In the men’s evening session, first-year swimmer Isaac Springer mirrored Sander’s finish and placed seventh in the A-Final.
In the final individual event of the day, sophomore Roni Balzam represented Missouri State in the B-Final of the 200 fly. She dropped a second from her morning swim to finish 12th (2:07.34). With a smaller field in the 200 fly, the MSU men were able to get three swimmers into the A-Final. Sophomore Matthew Wilson had a breakout swim (1:49.70), shaving 1.73 seconds off his season best. Wilson was the runner-up and came within .29 seconds of TCU’s Luiz Azarias. Michal Bulak and Colin Hill finished sixth and seventh, respectively.
To conclude the meet, the Bears raced to a fourth-place finish in the men’s 400 free relay (3:03.01), which included a 45.68 leadoff split by Paul Le.
The MSU swimming & diving team will take a break and kick off the second half of the season with a trip to Fayetteville, Ark. on Jan. 12. The Bears will have a chance to take on Top-25 competition with duals against Penn State and Arkansas.
Final Team Standings – Men
 1. TCU – 2200
 2. Incarnate Word - 2170
 3. Missouri State - 1428
Final Team Standings – Women
 1. North Texas -1911
 2. TCU – 1810
 3. Rice – 1689.5
 4. Incarnate Word – 961
 5. Missouri State – 523.5