WHAT: Big 12 Championships
WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 14-Saturday, Feb. 17
WHERE: Student Recreation Center Natatorium - College Station, Texas
· No. 11 Texas looks to capture its ninth consecutive Big 12 Conference title and its first under first-year head coach Kim Brackin this week when it takes part in the 2007 Big 12 Championships at Texas A&M's Student Recreation Center Natatorium.
· Texas has won eight of 10 Big 12 Conference championship meets and will enter the meet with the league's top times in four swimming events and the top marks in all three diving events.
· Five Longhorns have earned a total of eight NCAA automatic-qualifying marks heading into the Big 12 Championships.
· UT returns seven All-Americans from the 2006 squad that placed eighth at the NCAA Championships.
· Three Longhorn breaststroke swimmers -- Leah Avilla, Alexi Spann and Elizabeth -- have earned five NCAA automatic-qualifying bids to compete at the 2007 NCAA Championships.
· Senior Connie Brown has NCAA automatic-qualifying bids in the 100 butterfly and the 100 freestyle and may garner a third this weekend in the 100 backstroke.
Texas ascended to No. 11 in the CSCAA Top 25 after defeating No. 8 SMU on Jan. 20 in Austin.
· U.S. National Champion divers Jessica Livingston and Mary Yarrison figure to contribute substantial points at the conference and national levels.
Brackin Completes First Regular Season at Texas
A pair of victories, nine NCAA automatic-qualifying marks and the signing of an outstanding recruiting class highlighted the first regular season in Austin for head coach Kim Brackin and assistant coach Jim Henry. Texas opened its dual-meet season on Oct. 12 with a 144-81 win at Nebraska before taking second place the next day at the Big 12 Relays. The Longhorns closed out the Texas Invitational with five NCAA automatic-qualifying berths on Saturday, Dec. 2. Texas ended the three-day meet in third place with 551 points. UT suffered tough dual-meet losses against a number of highly-regarded opponents, including No. 1 Stanford, No. 2 Auburn, No. 4 Arizona, No. 5 Texas A&M, but Texas finished strong with a 204-147 defeat of then-No. 8 SMU on Jan. 20 in Austin.
Tinnon Sets New UT, Big 12 Records with Milestone Breaststroke Swim
On Dec. 1 at the Texas Invitational, UT senior Elizabeth Tinnon went where no Longhorn had gone before: under one minute in the 100-yard breaststroke. Tinnon clocked 59.96 in the event, breaking her own UT and Big 12 Conference record time of 1:00.14 set at the 2005 Big 12 Championships. Tinnon and California's Jessica Hardy (59.75) are the only two women to complete the event in under a minute this season.
Breaststroke Trio Set for NCAA Championships
The aforementioned Elizabeth Tinnon, along with senior Leah Avilla and sophomore Alexi Spann have all earned NCAA automatic-qualifying bids in the 200 breaststroke, and Tinnon and Avilla have earned their NCAA "A" cuts in the 100 breaststroke. Avilla's 1:01.61 in the 100 at the Texas Invitational fell just below the NCAA automatic-qualifying standard of 1:01.70. Tinnon (2:11.86) and Spann earned (2:12.75) their 200 breaststroke automatic marks at the Texas Invitational, and Avilla registered hers (2:13.42) in the tri-meet against Arizona and SMU.
Brown Doing it All for Texas
Senior Connie Brown has tallied NCAA automatic-qualifying marks in the 100 freestyle (49.18) and the 100 butterfly (53.47) and is closing in on the automatic mark in the 100 backstroke. Brown's top time of 54.69 is just shy of the NCAA "A" cut standard of 54.47.
Dynamic Diving Duo
Junior divers Jessica Livingston and Mary Yarrison have already proven themselves on the collegiate level, but last summer, the Longhorn diving duo took it a step further at the USA Diving Championships. On Aug. 4, Livingston captured the U.S. national title in the platform event. Not to be outdone, Yarrison won the three-meter synchronized diving title on Aug. 5. Both divers were invited to the final World Championship Selection Camp last month in Indianapolis, but they fell just shy of selection to the U.S. National Team. However, the pair is likely to contend for substantial points at the Big 12 and NCAA Championship meets.
Robinson Looking for Second NCAA Butterfly Qualifier
With one NCAA automatic qualifier in the 200 butterfly behind her, senior Katie Robinson now has her sights set on the 100 butterfly. With a season-best time of 54.32 recorded at the Texas Invitational, Robinson figures to close in on a second NCAA automatic-qualifying mark; she must reach 53.75 to pick up a second NCAA "A" cut.
Escobar Making Waves
Freshman Susana Escobar arrived from Mexico as a late addition to the team in the fall, and she has proven to be a valuable asset in the distance- and individual-medley events. Her time of 4:51.88 in the 500 freestyle is the second fastest on the team, though her 1000-freestyle time of 9:57.42 leads the Longhorns. She also holds the top Texas time in the 400 individual medley at 4:19.37.
Brown, Tinnon, Yarrison Earn Big 12 Weekly Accolades
Senior swimmers Connie Brown and Elizabeth Tinnon and junior diver Mary Yarrison each have been recipient of Big 12 athlete-of-the-week awards this season. Tinnon was selected as the Big 12 Women's Swimmer of the Week on Dec. 13 after eclipsing the one-minute barrier in the 100 breaststroke at the Texas Invitational. Brown earned similar honors after helping the Longhorns to a victory over No. 8 SMU. Yarrison's diving excellence has garnered her Big 12 Women's Diver of the Week honors on three occasions: on Oct. 25, Nov. 8 and Jan. 24.
Current and Former Longhorns Await International Competition
Former Longhorn diving great Laura Wilkinson and current UT swimmer Elizabeth Tinnon will take part in international meets beginning next month. Wilkinson, a former Olympic gold medalist on the platform, will take part in the same event in March at the FINA World Championships in Melbourne, Australia. Tinnon will compete in the Pan American Games later this summer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.