Women's Swimming and Diving preview: NCAA Championships
THIS WEEK: Texas will be seeking its 10th NCAA Title in program history when it travels to West Lafayette, Ind., to compete at the 2005 NCAA Championships. Fifteen swimmers and one diver will represent UT at the three-day meet at Purdue's Boilermaker Aquatic Center, which runs from Thursday, March 17 through Saturday, March 19. Preliminaries will begin at 11 a.m., with finals slated for 7 p.m.
LONGHORNS AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: Texas has a proud tradition at the NCAA Championships as it has won nine titles and has finished runner-up on four other occasions. Since Jill Sterkel took over the Texas program in 1992-93, the Longhorns have finished in the Top 10 at the NCAA Championships on 10 occasions, including a runner-up finish in 1994. Mike Walker has helped keep the high standards in tact as UT has placed no lower than eighth in his four years in Austin, including a third-place showing in 2001.
THE 2004 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: Seventeen members of the Texas women's swimming and diving program combined to win 14 All-America honors in four events at the 2004 NCAA Championships as the Longhorns secured an eighth-place finish with 169 points. Sarah Wanezek captured four All-America honors and three All-America Honorable Mention awards to lead the way for the Texas swimmers, while Elizabeth Tinnon earned All-American honors in four events and Kristy Siminski did so in three events.
TEXAS IN THE RANKINGS: Texas is currently ranked No. 4 in the latest College Swim Coaches Association of America Poll that was released on February 23. Georgia, with all eight first-place votes, is ranked No. 1, followed by defending National Champion Auburn in second and Florida in third. Stanford, Arizona, SMU, Wisconsin, Texas A&M and UCLA round out the top 10.
THE 2005 BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIPS: Texas won 17 of 21 events en route to winning its seventh straight Big 12 Conference title after scoring 965 points. Senior Sarah Wanezek earned the conference's Swimmer of the Meet award for an unprecedented third straight year, becoming the first swimmer in men's and women's Big 12 Conference history to win the award more than twice. Wanezek captured seven Big 12 titles as a senior to bring her career total to 20. Sophomore Elizabeth Tinnon defended titles in both breaststrokes, while junior Kristy Siminski successfully defended her title in the 200-yard freestyle. First-time winners for Texas included freshman Hayley McGregory (100 Back), sophomore Katie Robinson (200 Fly) and freshman Macie Garrett (500 Free, 1,650 Free), who was tabbed the Big Conference Outstanding Newcomer of the Meet.
THREE PEAT: Senior Sarah Wanezek, an 11-time All-American, won her third straight Big 12 Conference Swimmer of the Meet honor, becoming the first swimmer in men's and women's conference history to win the league's Swimmer of the Meet award more than twice. Wanezek, who won one title as a freshman, captured six titles in each of her sophomore and junior seasons and added seven Big 12 titles this season to bring her career total to 20. The senior concluded her conference swimming career as a four-time Big 12 Champion in the 200-yard medley relay (2002, '03, '04, '05); a three-time champ in the 50-yard freestyle ('03, '04 & '05), the 100-yard butterfly ('03, '04 & '05) and the 400-yard medley relay ('03, '04, '05); a two-time winner in the 100-yard freestyle ('04 & '05), the 200-yard freestyle relay ('04 & '05) and the 400-yard freestyle relay ('03, & '05); and, a Big 12 Champion in the 100-yard backstroke ('03).
SCHOOL RECORD HOLDER: Sophomore All-American breaststroker Elizabeth Tinnon clocked in at 1:00.14 to win the 100-yard breaststroke at the 2005 Big 12 Conference Championships. Not only did she capture her second-straight conference title in the 100-yard breaststroke and lower her own Big 12 standard from 1:00.66 to 1:00.14, she shattered UT's 16-year old standard of 1:00.51 set by Tracey McFarlane on March 18, 1988. Tinnon has now successfully defended Big 12 titles in the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes, as well as the 200- and 400-yard medley relays and enters the NCAA Championships boasting the fourth-fastest times nationally in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events.
ALL-AMERICANS: The Texas roster features seven swimmers who have earned All-America honors. Senior Sarah Wanezek leads the way as an 11-time All-American, while junior Kristin Siminski boasts five All-America certificates. Sophomore Elizabeth Tinnon earned four All-America honors as a freshman while junior Elizabeth Wycliffe owns three certificates. Senior Kaela Humphries rounds out the UT swimmers boasting multiple awards with two All-America honors to her credit, while senior Alisa Schuknecht and sophomore Connie Brown each have earned one NCAA All-America award.
FABULOUS 15: Texas will have 15 swimmers competing at the NCAA Championships, which is the fourth most from any school. Georgia leads the way with 18 qualified swimmers, while Auburn, the defending National Champions, and Florida round out the top three with 17 representatives each.
INDIANA TIES: The 2005 Texas roster features two swimmers from the state of Indiana in junior Kristy Siminski (Portage, Ind.), sophomore Katie Robinson (Dillsboro, Ind.) that have qualified for the championships. Siminski, a five-time All-American at Texas, trained at Nike Swim Club in Merrillville, Ind., under the direction of coach Byron Angerman while Robinson, an NCAA qualifier in each of her two seasons as a Longhorn, competed for the South Dearborn Swim Club in Rising Sun, Ind., under the guidance of coach Shelby Jones.
DIVING ZONES: Senior Monica Maxwell qualified for her first career appearance at the NCAA Championships by virtue of her sixth-place showing with a score of 502.40 in the one-meter springboard at the Zone D Diving Championships in College Station, Texas. Maxwell also placed fourth in the platform (337.45) and ninth in the three-meter springboard (428.60) at the Zone Championships.
TWO-TIME DIVER OF THE MONTH: Senior Monica Maxwell earned Big 12 Conference Female Diver of the Month twice in her senior campaign. Maxwell earned the first career Big 12 Diver of the Month award in December after wrapping up the Texas Invitational with a third-place finish in the platform with 382.85 points. She then captured the second Diver of the Month honor after placing third and fifth, respectively, in the one-meter and three-meter diving events at No. 1 Georgia, while also posting a runner-up finish in the three-meter springboard against Arizona/SMU.
WOMEN'S CO-HEAD COACH JILL STERKEL: Co-head coach Jill Sterkel is in her 13th season at The University of Texas. In her 13 seasons, she has directed the Longhorns to 12 top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, 10 conference titles and two runner-up league finishes. This includes four top-three finishes at the NCAA Championships (1993, '94, '95, 2001) and seven consecutive Big 12 Conference Championships. Sterkel's Longhorns also claimed four consecutive Southwest Conference crowns from 1993-96. For her efforts, Sterkel has been named the Big 12 Conference Women's Coach of the Year five times, including three times when she has shared the honor with co-head coach Mike Walker in 2001, '03 and '04.
WOMEN'S CO-HEAD COACH MIKE WALKER: Since 2000, when co-head coach Mike Walker joined the Texas coaching family and formed a unique co-head coaching partnership with Jill Sterkel, the duo has helped Texas take strides to become one of the nation's elite teams. Over each of the past four years, UT has placed in the top eight or higher at the NCAA Championships - including a third-place finish in 2001 - and has won Big 12 Conference Championships in each of the previous five years. For his efforts, Walker has been named Conference head coach of the Year alongside counterpart Sterkel in 2002 and '04.
HEAD DIVING COACH Matt Scoggin: Matt Scoggin is in his 11th year at Texas as the head diving coach, where he has clearly established UT as one of the nation's top men's and women's diving programs. A former U.S. Olympic diver and 2000 USA Olympic men's assistant diving coach, Scoggins has been recognized nationally for his outstanding efforts. He was selected NCAA Women's Diving Coach of the Year for the 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99, as well as the NCAA Men's Diving Coach of the Year for 2000-01. Additionally, Scoggin is a four-time Big 12 Women's Diving Coach of the Year and has won the conference's Men's Diving Coach of the Year in 2003 and '04. Scoggin has coached the U.S. National Team seven times, including his most recent appointment as the head coach of the team that competed at the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.