Tour de force at the Texas Swimming Center


Julia Williams

Erica Sullivan swims the 1000 free, scoring the second win of the day on Nov. 4, 2022.

Jackson Crawford, General Sports Reporter

The Longhorns hosted Virginia, featuring the No. 9 men’s team and No. 1 women’s team in the nation, for a unique weekend in college swimming on Friday and Saturday.

The Longhorns came out victorious as a team three times over the course of the weekend, marking impressive showings by both the men’s and women’s teams.

Friday night featured a combined meet, where the men’s and women’s teams were scored together, adding fanfare in the hopes of creating more fan engagement. Saturday morning reverted to the standard dual meet format, with the men’s and women’s teams competing separately.

“We were able to mix the teams, but come together as one,” senior Kelly Pash said. “All of our energies piled together so it felt normal, but obviously we’ve never done anything like that before, so it was just more exciting and I just had no idea what to expect.”

Friday’s festivities had the intended effect, with over 850 fans showing up at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. Competing as one team, Texas defeated Virginia by a score of 171-159. Junior Carson Foster credited the unique atmosphere as a big factor in the victory.

“It was one of the coolest feelings I’ve had as a swimmer in my career so far,” Foster said. “It definitely makes a difference for us. I’d love to see it happen again.”

Foster’s dominant season continued in both the combined and traditional dual meet, taking first in four different events. Three of his wins came Friday night as a member of the 200 medley relay team and as the winner of both the 100 backstroke and the 100 butterfly.

Swimming on short rest Saturday, Foster took his only individual top-three finish in the 200 backstroke, showing his versatility in the pool. Winning by over two seconds, Foster became the owner of the fastest time in the nation in the event with a 1.40.79.

“I think I’m kind of hitting my stride,” Foster said. “I think a lot of the guys on the team are hitting their stride as well.”

Pash was a major factor for the women’s team in its upset of the No.1 women’s swim and dive program in the nation on Saturday. Pash found herself on the podium five different times over the weekend, with a first place finish on Friday in the 200 freestyle.

Amid a strong season, the Carmel, Indiana product grabbed the top time in the nation with her 200 freestyle time. She is joined by senior Kyla Leibel and junior Ava Longi on the NCAA Top 100 list for the event, but her time of 1.44.78 stands above the rest.

As she continues to have success both at the collegiate level and international level, Pash said it’s those around her who help to keep her going.

“One of the biggest factors is just the support from my coaches, my teammates and my family back at home,” Pash said.

Texas diving was a force to be reckoned with as well, contributing in a big way to the close-scoring meets. Both the men’s and women’s diving teams swept the podium Saturday morning, with wins in both the 1-meter and 3-meter dives.

The trio of junior Noah Duperre, freshman Nick Harris and graduate student Andrew Gawin-Parigin took the top three places in the 1-meter dive, with Duperre dominating the board at a 375.75 score through the six rounds.

On the women’s side, it was the usual suspects of junior Bridget O’Neil, senior Janie Boyle and sophomore Hailey Hernandez. O’Neil took the top spot with a score of 362.18, but Boyle and Hernandez were not far behind with 345.45 and 328.28 respectively.

The next action for Texas diving will come in the Texas Diving Invitational from Nov. 16-19, which takes place in Austin at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. They will rejoin swimming in Minneapolis for the Minnesota Invitational from Nov. 30-Dec. 3.