MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – After four days of competition, the West Virginia University men’s and women’s swimming teams concluded the swimming portion of the 2021 Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championship on Saturday, hosted by the Longhorns at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, in Austin, Texas.
The Mountaineers added four medals to their tally on the final night of swimming events, as freshman William Mullen and senior David Dixon earned a pair of solo bronze medals in their respective events. West Virginia concluded the night with a silver in the women’s 400 freestyle relay and a bronze in the men’s relay. Tonight’s finishes pushed WVU’s total medal count to eight heading into the diving competition next week
Additionally, four Mountaineers added their names to the All-Big 12 First Team list for 2021, including Mullen, Dixon and freshmen Justin Heimes and Brendan Williams.
“We had a really solid day of racing on our final day in Austin,” Mountaineer coach Vic Riggs said. “We had a great week, and I’m really proud of the teams and how well they handled themselves this week and this season. They gave every ounce of effort they had, and the results showed. We’re looking forward to seeing our divers compete next week.”
The night began with the 200 backstroke, where freshman Abby Reardon secured a win in the consolation final, touching the wall in 1:59.36. In the event’s A final, another rookie represented the Mountaineers, as Paige Dressel touched the wall in 1:58.99 to finish seventh. In the men’s 200 backstroke, Heimes led the way in fourth place (1:46.93), followed by senior Philip Kay in seventh (1:49.89).
A trio of Mountaineers appeared in the A final of the 100 freestyle, led by sophomore Emily Haimes in sixth place with a time of 50.18. Fellow sophomore Jacqueline McCutchan touched the wall in seventh, recording a time of 50.31, while freshman Jordan Buechler took eighth (50.46).
Senior Max Gustafson secured another consolation final win for the Mountaineers in the men’s 100 freestyle, as he touched the wall in 44.14 to take first in the B final. In the event’s A final, senior Ryen Van Wyk grabbed a fifth-place finish with a time of 43.32.
The 1650 freestyle was next, where senior Luisa Winkler snuck into the top eight and took sixth with a time of 17:09.4. Another trio of freshmen made their presence known in the men’s event, led by Mullens’ bronze-medal finish in 15:33.51. Williams was just behind him in fourth (15:42.14), while Logan McFadden followed in sixth (15:46.73).
In the women’s 200 breaststroke consolation final, freshman Shelby Gerving led the way in sixth (2:22.26) to place 14th overall, and sophomore Mathilde Kaelbel finished eighth (2:22.74) for 16th overall. Senior Ben Brooks earned an exciting win in the men’s consolation final in 2:04.13, before Joe Schaefer (5th – 1:59.54), Jonathan Bennett (7th – 2:01.87) and Fausto Huerta (8th – 2:04.10) represented WVU in the A final.
Another Mountaineer freshman swam to the front of the pack in the women’s 200 fly B final, as Lauren Musbach secured a second-place finish in 2:03.55 to finish 10th overall. Senior Kayla Gagnon was sixth in 2:09.60 (14th overall) and sophomore Sarah Young was seventh with a time of 2:06.64 (15th overall).
Dixon’s bronze-medal performance in the men’s 200 fly concluded the individual events. The Mountaineer senior touched the wall in 1:42.75 to secure his first individual medal of the championship, as well as an NCAA B cut in the event. Also competing in the 200 fly was sophomore Zach Boley, finishing in 1:48.55, good for seventh place.
The swimming portion of the 2021 Big 12 Championship concluded with the 400 freestyle relay, where the women’s team of McCutchan, sophomore Harna Minezawa, Buechler and Haimes ended the night with excitement once again, claiming their second straight silver medal with a time of 3:20.21. For the men, Gustafson, Van Wyk, Dixon and freshman Roanoke shirk earned their bronze after combining for a time of 2:55.75.
Heading into next week’s diving competition, the women’s team currently sits in fifth place with 421 points, just behind TCU in fourth with 434. On the men’s side, WVU trails TCU in third place with 661 points, while the Horned Frogs have 681 points, good for second place. Texas holds a strong lead at the top of both leaderboards, as the women have amassed 854 points and the men have tallied 951.
While the swimming portion of the 2021 Big 12 Championship concluded on Saturday, the championship continues on Monday, March 1, as the Mountaineer divers begin action at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. The diving competition runs through Wednesday, March 3, and team champions will be crowned following the conclusion of Wednesday’s final. Prelim sessions begin at 11 a.m. ET each day, before finals commence at 7 p.m.
Photo credit: WVU Sports
Press Release: WVU Athletics Communications