The American Short Course Relays, held at the Lee and Joe Jamail Swim Center, kicked off yesterday with a total of 10 events, five each for men and women. The three-day event is a final opportunity for swimmers from colleges across the country to earn points to qualify for the NCAA swimming championships. It also serves as a tune-up for those who have already qualified before they make their runs at national titles.
Members of the No. 2 Texas men’s squad provided strong performances, earning victories in three out of the four events in which the team had entrants. The lone vacancy at the top of the leader board came at the hands of a two-time Olympic gold medalist and a former UT swimmer, Garrett Weber-Gale.
Weber-Gale, who trains with the club team Longhorn Aquatics in Austin, posted a blistering time of 19.20 in the 50-yard freestyle. However, a trio of UT sophomores was hot on the Olympian’s trail, and surged ahead to claim the remaining three spots.
Kerrington Hill and Charlie Moore tied with a time of 19.95, with Madison Wenzler close behind finishing at 19.98
Conor Swanson earned a victory for the Horns in the 200-yard individual medley. Swanson, a junior from Tampa, Fla., finished with a time of 1:46.11 and beat out former UT swimmer and four-time Olympic medalist Brendan Hansen.
Hansen, who swam for Texas from 2001-2004, re-joined the Longhorns in practices this week as he prepares for a shot to make the U.S. national team for the third time and compete in the 2012 London Olympics, using this meet as further practice towards completing that goal.
In the 500-yard freestyle, freshman Jake Ritter led the field with a time of 4:18.33, beating out fellow Longhorn Nicolas Munoz, who finished in fourth with a time of 4:29.09.
Texas clinched a final victory in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The winning squad featured some of UT’s most talented swimmers: senior Jimmy Feigen, sophomore Charlie Moore, freshman Tripp Cooper and Junior Dax Hill. Hill put the race in the bag with a strong anchor leg lap at a time of 19.01, ensuring the Horns a victory by a full second over their nearest competitors, SMU.
The event continues tomorrow with UT swimmers competing in four events. Preliminaries begin at 9:15 a.m., with finals beginning at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.