Tinnon breaks conference and school record as Texas men, women widen lead on day three of Big 12 Championships
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Sophomore All-American Elizabeth Tinnon (Bowling Green, Ky.) lowered the Big 12 Conference record she set last year and established a new UT standard en route to a first-place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke on Friday as both The University of Texas men's and women's swimming and diving teams extended their leads over Texas A&M after the third day of competition at the Big 12 Conference Championships at the Student Recreation Center Natatorium. The Texas men now lead 718-543 over the Aggies, while the women's 624 points leads Texas A&M (531) and Nebraska (328).
Tinnon, the 2004 Big 12 Conference Champion in both breaststrokes who entered the meet owning the nation's third-fastest time in the 100-yard event, clocked in at 1:00.14 to smash her mark of 1:00.66 set at last year's Big 12 Conference Championships (2/27/04) as well as the old UT standard of 1:00.51, set by former Longhorn Tracey McFarlane (3/18/88).
Meanwhile, on the men's side, Texas continued to exercise its dominance as the Longhorns won five of six events on Friday and have now won 11 of 13 total events through the first three days of the championships.
Individually, junior Wade Kelley (Marietta, Ga.) began Friday's evening events by winning his second-straight Big 12 Conference title in the 400-yard individual medley, posting a season-best time of 3:49.55 with senior Nathan O'Brien (Sammamish, Wash.) taking second in 3:53.87 and sophomore David Donaldson (San Antonio, Texas) placing third (2:56.28).
While in the women's race, senior Alisa Schuknecht (Bend, Ore.), the 2002 Big 12 Conference Champion in the 400-yard IM, won her second Big 12 title and booked her ticket to the 2005 NCAA Championships by posting an automatic qualifying time of 4:15.00, finishing slightly ahead of Texas A&M's Kara Morelli (4:15.65) and a field of eight in which each swimmer posted an NCAA provisional or automatic qualifying time.
In the 100-yard butterfly, senior Daniel DiToro (Brant Rock, Mass.), a five-time NCAA All-American, captured the first individual Big 12 title and fourth of his career as he led a pack of five Texas swimmers to the wall and finished first with an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 47.05, while senior All-American Sarah Wanezek (Brookfield, Wis.) won her third consecutive Big 12 title in the 100-yard butterfly with an automatic cut of 53.42.
In the men's 200-yard freestyle, freshman Matthew McGinnis (Raleigh, N.C.), a member of Texes' first-place finishing 800-yard freestyle relay on Wednesday and winner of the 500-yard freestyle on Thursday, posted a season-best and NCAA automatic qualifying time of 1:35.63 in the 200-yard freestyle en route to his third conference title of the meet.
Junior Kristin Siminski (Portage, Ind.) proved to be McGinnis' counterpart in the 200-yard freestyle as she led from start to finish and won the event with an NCAA automatic cut of 1:47.11.
Winning their first individual Big 12 Conference titles on Friday were freshmen Matthew Lowe (Minot, N.D.), who clocked an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 53.16 in the 100-yard breaststroke, and Hayley McGregory (Houston, Texas), who lowered her season-best and NCAA automatic qualifying time to 53.97 to win the 100-yard backstroke. Of note, the titles mark the second of meet for McGregory and the third for Lowe.
Following a break in the three-meter dive, in which Texas freshman Brian Smith (Carrollton, Texas) placed second with a score of 546.60, both UT's 400-yard freestyle relays squads recorded first-place finishes to wrap up the day as the men's team of senior Austin McAnally (McKinney, Texas), sophomore Tyler O'Halloran (Boardman, Ohio), DiToro and sophomore Garrett Weber-Gale (Fox Point, Wis.) came from behind to post a winning time of 1:18.50, finishing just ahead of runner-up Texas A&M, which touched the wall in 1:18.60. Meanwhile, the women's squad of senior Kaela Humphries (Chaska, Minn.), sophomore Connie Brown (Andover, Mass.), Siminski and Wanezek combined to touch the wall in 1:30.28.
The 2005 Big 12 Conference Championships will conclude on Saturday at the Student Recreation Center Natatorium. Preliminaries are slated to begin at 10 a.m. and finals will begin at 6 p.m.