Texas women’s swimming, diving sweep Big 12 Championship title for ninth consecutive year

Emily Schumacher

After living for six days with no water during Austin’s winter freeze, junior Paola Pineda took home two individual championship titles at the Big 12 Diving Championships. 

“(The storm) was really hard, but I think it was hard for everyone,” Pineda said. “Everyone was very supportive of each other, and I think that’s what really got us through.”

Pineda earned her first Big 12 title in the 1-meter dive. Early on in the event, she separated herself from the pack by nailing an inward 2 ½ somersault tuck and 3 ½ somersault tuck. On her final dive, Pineda completed a reverse 1 ½ somersault to 1 ½ twist free, propelling her to finish with a 32.95-point lead over the competition.

To cap off the meet on its final day, Pineda once again swept the competition in platforms for the second night in a row. Sophomore teammates Janie Boyle and Jordan Skilken followed closely behind in second and third place.

This year, the swimming and diving championships were hosted in subsequent weeks instead of at the same time due to COVID-19 protocols.

This past weekend, the Longhorns secured a 205-point lead in the swimming portion of the competition. On Wednesday, they ended the championship with a 98-point lead in the diving portion over second place West Virginia, followed by TCU and Iowa State.

Starting Monday, Texas swept the 3-meter dive event with the top five spots wearing burnt orange. Coming in first place was freshman Bridget O’Neil, who set a Big 12 meet record with a score of 401.00 points. Her six-dive total beat the previous record that Kansas held by 16.4 points. 

The competition in the 3-meter started out tight until O’Neil broke away from the group on her third dive with a 3 ½ somersault pike that earned her a score of 72.85. She claimed her title by finishing off with a 2 ½ somersault 1 twist pike that scored a 73.50. 

Following behind O’Neil were Longhorns Paola Pineda (366.70), Morgan Menninger (332.15), Jordan Skilken (326.70) and Janie Boyle (320.35).