A pair of silver-medal finishes and a school record in the 200 freestyle relays led the way for the West Virginia University men’s and women’s swimming teams on Friday, at the Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championship, held at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin, Texas.
In the final event of the night, the women’s team of sophomores Emily Haimes, Harna Minezawa and Jacqueline McCutchan and freshman Jordan Buechler earned second place in school-record time, touching the wall in 1:31.05 to break the previous record of 1:31.45 set in 2019.
Following the women’s performance, the men collected a silver medal of their own. The team of seniors David Dixon, Max Gustafson and Ryen Van Wyk and sophomore Roberts Zemturis touched the wall in 1:19.73 to take second place.
In addition to the relay teams’ silver medals, Haimes collected a bronze medal in the 100 fly, the first event of the night. She touched the wall in 54.13 to secure third place and tally the Mountaineers’ first medal of the championship.
Additionally, eight West Virginia swimmers earned a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team with top-four finishes this evening.
“Today was another very solid day,” Mountaineer coach Vic Riggs said. “Once again, we had two very strong prelim sessions and got in the right heats for finals. Our finals session was very strong, concluding with an excellent relay and school record. The team standings are going to come down to how we respond to the challenge from tonight’s finals tomorrow morning, then of course in the diving competition next week.”
The night opened with Haimes’ bronze-medal finish in the 100 fly, followed by Dixon’s near-record finish in the men’s event. Dixon touched the wall in 46.65, just shy of the school record, to finish in fifth place.
Freshman Lauren Musbach represented the Mountaineers in the 400 individual medley, taking eighth place with a time of 4:28.23 in her first career championship final appearance. In the men’s event, senior Philip Kay (3:54.70) and sophomore Jonathan Bennett (3:57.87) grabbed sixth and seventh, respectively.
Next up was the 200 freestyle, where Buechler (4th – 1:48.19) and senior Luisa Winkler (5th – 1:49.01) paced the women with impressive swims, while Gustafson (8th – 1:36.52) paced the men.
Sophomore Mathilde Kaelbel (1:05.97) and freshman Shelby Gerving (1:06.35) raced in the 100 breast consolation final, securing sixth and eighth, respectively. A trio of Mountaineers appeared in the men’s A final, led by a fourth-place finish from junior Fausto Huerta with a time of 53.76. Freshman Joe Schaefer followed in sixth, touching the wall in 55.27, while senior Ben Brooks took seventh (56.93).
The final individual event of night three was the 100 backstroke, where McCutchan earned a second-place finish in the women’s consolation final, clocking a time of 55.77. Freshman Justin Heimes led the way in the men’s event and placed sixth in 48.93, with Van Wyk just behind him in seventh (49.97).
The third night of competition concluded with excitement in the 200 freestyle relay, where the teams earned a pair of silver medals and the ladies broke the school record in the event.
Entering the final day of the swimming portion of the championship, the women’s team sits in fourth place with 286 team points, just behind Iowa State in third (311). On the men’s side, the Mountaineers continue to hold steady in second place with 425 points. Texas strengthened its reign over the top of the leaderboards on Friday. The men sit in first with 640 team points, while the women have 585 points for first place.
The Mountaineers will conclude the swimming portion of the Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championship on Saturday, Feb. 26, as action at the Texas Swimming Center is scheduled to begin with split prelims at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. ET, followed by finals at 7 p.m. The final night of swimming will be broadcast live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.