Texas finishes first day in seventh

Stefan Scrafield

For the first time in nine years, the Longhorns hopped into their own pool to kick off the 2011 Women’s NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.

They exited the pool on Thursday evening in seventh place.

The Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center hasn’t hosted the event since 2002, when head coach Kim Brackin, then an assistant at Auburn, helped lead the Tigers to a national championship.

"I have some great memories from this pool. We (Auburn) had young, good talent who hadn't really sparked yet," Brackin recalled. "There are a lot of similarities to this year for us. I remember that team chemistry is so important."

With 13 competitors, 11 swimmers and two divers, chemistry would be very important early on as Texas was looking to get off to a quick start at the championship meet.

The 200-yard freestyle relay foursome of Kelsey Amundsen, Bethany Adams, Ellen Lobb and Karlee Bispo got the team off to a great start with a third place finish in the first race of the championships.

Their time of 1 minute, 28.06 seconds earned the team 32 points while Cal Berkley’s time of 1 minute, 27.36 seconds earned it first place and 40 points in the overall competition. Arizona finished second and gained 34 points.

Texas was unable to earn any points in the 500 freestyle as Leah Gingrich’s team best 36th place finish was not high enough to add to the Longhorn’s score.

The third event of the night brought Texas back to the podium.

Bispo was able to finish third in the 200 individual medley with a time of 1 minute, 55.07 seconds. Her bronze medal put the team’s overall point total at 48 and moved them into fifth place half way through the opening night’s festivities.

Adams, a sophomore competing in her second consecutive NCAA championship, swam the 50 freestyle in a time of 22.49 seconds. That time was good enough for 14th place and added three more points to the team’s overall score.

Maren Taylor dove her way to an identical 14th place finish in the one-meter diving final, the first diving event of the championships, and also added three to the Longhorn’s overall score.

In the night’s final swim, Lily Moldenhauer and Laura Sogar combined with Amundsen and Bispo to finish 10th in the 400 medley. The relay’s 14-point effort gave the team 68 points on the night and put them in seventh place heading into Friday’s second day of competition.