Women's Swimming and Diving sits in ninth place after day one of NCAA Championships
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Texas 400-yard medley relay team took fifth place and nearly broke a school record to highlight the Longhorns' showing on day one of the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships Thursday at the University Aquatics Center. Texas is tied for ninth place with Kentucky at 54 points after the opening day of competition. Arizona leads the event with 168 points.
Senior Connie Brown (Andover, Mass.) clocked 54.51 in the 400 medley relay's opening backstroke leg before giving way to senior Elizabeth Tinnon (Bowling Green, Ky.), who split a sizzling 59.52 in the breaststroke leg.
Senior Katie Robinson (Dillsboro, Ind.) clocked 52.56 in the butterfly leg, and sophomore Hee-Jin Chang (Seoul, Korea) wrapped up the relay with a 49.15 in the freestyle leg, as Texas took fifth in 3:35.74. The mark fell just shy of the school mark of 3:35.62 set at the 2005 NCAA Championships.
"The 400 medley relay was awesome," said UT coach Kim Brackin. "I thought the middle of our relay was great. Hee-Jin (Chang) did a great job of coming back after multiple swims this morning. She is learning to manage herself, which is great."
Sophomore Kathryn Kelly (Longwood, Fla.) secured her first All-America diving finish by taking eighth in the one-meter event. Kelly totaled 335.70 in the preliminary round before scoring 312.15 in the finals.
Junior Mary Yarrison (Springfield, Va.) tallied 312.10 points in the preliminary round to reach the consolation final, which she captured with 351.00 points. Yarrison finished in ninth place overall. Junior Jessica Livingston (The Woodlands, Texas) took 18th at 299.95, and sophomore Kara-Jayne Salamone (Cooper City, Fla.) placed 28th at 283.30.
"The divers all went for it today," said UT diving coach Matt Scoggin. "Kat stepped up and had a great preliminary round, and Mary's consolation list would have pushed the finalists. Jessica (Livingston) and Kara-Jayne (Salamone) had a solid first day, and they know they typically get better as the events go higher. They are excited about the next two days."
The 200-yard freestyle relay quartet of Chang, Brown, Robinson and freshman Alex Basso (Missouri City, Texas) took sixth in the consolation final at 1:31.02. Earlier in the day, the same quartet - with Brown on the lead leg and Chang on the second, swam the ninth fastest 200 freestyle relay in UT history, clocking 1:31.02.
"I'm really excited to see our 100 (yard) distance events tomorrow," Brackin said. "We knew this would be our weakest day in a three-day meet, but we put ourselves in a nice position in the top 10 with some season bests. I'm really happy about how we're performing. We'll be ready to get in the water and race tomorrow."
Day two of the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships begins Friday at 11 a.m. Central with the preliminary round.