Orange and White classics signals start of competition

Matt Warden

The Longhorns are primed and ready to make a splash.

After finishing the 2010-2011 season ranked No. 4 in the nation, the Longhorn women’s swimmers and divers placed sixth at the NCAA Championships. Despite the bittersweet nature that the season brought, the women had many things to smile about as they were a Scholar All-America team and possessed the Big 12 swimmer and coach of the year just like their male counterparts.

With expectations as high as ever, the Horns look to follow through and correct missed opportunities.

“We’re not really worried about last year or comparing ourselves to anyone,” senior Karlee Bispo said. “We are just focused on competing and being the best team we can possibly be.”

This year’s team returns a stacked roster featuring Big 12 Swimmer of the Year Karlee Bispo, who also won many medals in the World University Games over the summer. The team also boasts a spectacular freshmen class with three of the top 50 swimmers from the class of 2011 in Gretchen Jaques, Kelsey LeNeave and Skylar Smith.

“We still have a pretty young team,” senior Katie Riefenstahl said. “This is a very different team though, in that we’re a lot more focused on just the journey and experience of a season.”

The Horns will kick its season off this Friday with the annual Orange-White Classic, just like the men did last Thursday when the orange squad emerged victorious, out-pointing the White squad 149.5 to 131.5.

The orange squad was led by senior diver Matt Cooper, who won both the 1M and 3M diving events with 285.5 and 313.65 points respectively, and junior swimmer Nick D’Innocenzo, who also carried the load by winning both the 200-yard IM and the 200-yard breaststroke events.

Senior Jackson Wilcox looked strong leading the White squad with wins in both the 1000-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle.