Texas women’s swimming crush Big 12 competition, shatter meet records in conference championship

Emily Schumacher

The Texas women’s swim team dominated the swim portion of the Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships this past week, shattering both Big 12 meet and school records.

This past season has been anything but ordinary, but Texas did the ordinary once again: The women’s swimming squad won its portion handily and put the Longhorn divers in position to defend their Big 12 championship title, a potential ninth consecutive conference win.  

“We are just grateful to be competing. It was a tough year and we just made the best of it and it’s nice to see it pay off for these guys,” head coach Carol Capitani said.

Both seasoned veterans and new team members showed up to compete at the Feb. 24-27 event at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin and won events while setting records along the way. 

Making her first championship appearance, freshman Olivia Bray started the meet on a high note, crushing the record in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 51.05. She continued to outpace her competitors by taking the Big 12 meet record in the 200-yard fly with a time of 1:52.03.

Anna Elendt was another freshman taking home her first Big 12 individual title, winning the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 58.45. Elendt was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week and lived up to that title in the event.

Not to be outshined by the newcomers, senior Evie Pfeifer swam a 15:48.65, the fastest time in Big 12 conference history, in the 1,650-yard freestyle.

“(She is) the queen of distance in the Big 12,” swimming commentator Josh Davis said.

Pfeifer demonstrated year after year her strength as an individual swimmer and relay member. She earned her sixth individual Big 12 title starting with the 400-yard individual medley.

Then the senior continued the winning streak with the help of Bray, sophomore Kelly Pash and junior Julia Cook as they seized a win in the 800-yard freestyle relay. Their time of 6:58:42 ranks them second in the country.

200-yard free relay swimmers Cook, Pash, sophomore Bridget Semenuk and freshman Grace Cooper did their part, smashing the previous Big 12 and school record with a time of 1:27.96. 

The four-day event ended with Capitani taking home Women’s Coach of the Meet and Pash earning Women’s Swimmer of the Meet. The Longhorns led with a score of 854 points followed by Kansas at 649. Trailing behind in third was Iowa State with 460 points.  

Texas will continue the fight to defend their title and keep their lead March 1-3 with the diving portion of the Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championship.