MINNEAPOLIS -- Second-ranked Texas crushed a school record and picked up five finals berths during the day one preliminary round at the 2007 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at Minnesota's University Aquatic Center.
UT opened the meet with a bang, as the quartet of senior Tyler O'Halloran, junior Matt Lowe, junior Jeremy Harris and senior Garrett Weber-Gale obliterated the school mark in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
O'Halloran (Boardman, Ohio) led off in 19.65 before Lowe (Minot, N.D.) touched the second leg in 19.16. Harris (St. Paul, Minn.) clocked 19.41 in the third leg, and Weber-Gale (Fox Point, Wis.) swam the event's fastest anchor leg in 18.72. The Longhorns took fourth in 1:16.94, topping the school mark of 1:17.50 set by the same quartet at the 2006 NCAA Championships.
Texas will collect substantial points in this evening's 500 freestyle finals, where UT landed two Longhorns in the championship final and one in the consolation final. Junior Matt McGinnis (Raleigh, N.C.) took fifth in a season-best 4:15.98, while sophomore Michael Klueh (Evansville, Ind.) narrowly reached the final, taking eighth in 4:17.18.
Weber-Gale easily topped his personal best in the 50 freestyle, taking third in 19.16 to top his previous best of 19.30 set at the 2006 NCAA Championships. O'Halloran touched in 19.66 to finish in 18th place and Lowe was 32nd in 20.02.
Freshman Ricky Berens smashed his personal best in the 200 individual medley to vault into this evening's consolation final. Berens (Charlotte, N.C.), who entered the event as the 36th seed, clocked 1:45.46, topping his personal best of 1:48.07 for an 11th place showing. Junior Caleb McDermott (Canyon Lake, Texas) took 26th in 1:46.44.
Texas qualified its second relay for the evening finals in the last event of the preliminary round, the 400 medley relay. Senior Tommy Sacco (Dallas, Texas) clocked 46.72 in the opening backstroke leg before Lowe touched the breaststroke leg in 53.56. Junior Daniel Rohleder (Austin, Texas) clocked 47.02 in the butterfly, and Weber-Gale touched the freestyle leg in 43.07, as Texas placed sixth in 3:10.37.
Thursday's one-meter diving preliminary round gets underway at 2:30 p.m. Central. The day one final begin at 7 p.m.
NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships
Day One Preliminary Round
200 Freestyle Relay
4. O'Halloran (19.65), Lowe (19.16), Harris (19.41), Weber-Gale (18.72) - 1:16.94
(Previous school record - 1:17.50 - Weber-Gale, O'Halloran, Harris, Lowe - 2006 NCAA Championships)
5. Matt McGinnis - 4:15.98
8. Michael Klueh - 4:17.18
16. Dave Walters - 4:20.49
11. Ricky Berens - 1:45.46 (personal best)
26. Caleb McDermott - 1:46.44 (personal best)
3. Garrett Weber-Gale - 19.16 (personal best)
18. Tyler O'Halloran - 19.66
32. Matt Lowe - 20.02
400 Medley Relay
6. Sacco (46.72 - back), Lowe (53.56 breast), Rohleder (47.02 fly), Weber-Gale (43.07 free) - 3:10.37