Friedland enjoys breakout Big 12 meet, looks ahead to NCAA Championships
March 9, 2010
Caitlin Mangum, Texas Media Relations
With nearly two seasons of college swimming experience under his belt, UT sophomore Eric Friedland brought a sense of confidence into last month's Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships at Texas A&M.
"It was a lot different than the (Big 12) meet last year at Missouri because I have swum in that pool at (Texas A&M) three times now, so it was nothing new," Friedland said. "I knew where I was coming into, and it was a pretty good experience all around."
The Bethesda, Md., native set a new meet record and claimed victory in the 200-yard breaststroke with a NCAA "B" cut of 1:54.32, one of the fastest times in college swimming this year. The mark broke the previous meet record set last season by Texas' Agustin Magruder. He also added a win in the 100-yard breaststroke in 53.44.
Friedland is proud but humbled to be considered in the same category as Magruder and former Longhorn and four-time Olympic medalist Brendan Hansen.
"It was pretty great to think about all of the breaststrokers that have gone through this program and come through the Big 12," Friedland said. "To be known as the fastest at that meet so far was a great honor, but I know that I have to keep working at it."
Teammate Austin Surhoff was ecstatic to see Friedland swim so well at the conference meet.
"I remember freaking out when I saw Eric get the record because I watch him in practice every day, and he has dropped some crazy times in practice," Surhoff said. "So, finally seeing him get to do it in the meet and get some recognition for it, and also the meet record...I was losing my mind!"
"The freshmen this year helped me out a lot," Friedland said. "They have given me a lot of confidence and hanging out with them has been a lot of fun. It has been a fun time with them this year, and I have always swum my best when I've had a lot of fun."
Now with the season coming to a close, Friedland hopes that the same philosophy will help him swim even faster at NCAAs.
"My goal is to just keep on improving. Any improvements will be wonderful, and I just want to have fun. I'm going to compete at the NCAA Championships, and hopefully everything will work out well like it did at the Big 12 meet."