Missouri swimming cruises at Tiger Invitational, sets sights on SECs

Saturday, February 1, 2014 | 8:59 p.m. CST
The Missouri swim team attempted to reach individual B cut times for the season's NCAA Championships later in the year. The team swam against clubs from Mid-Missouri and Kansas.

COLUMBIA — The Missouri swim team had no pressure on it Saturday afternoon. The Tigers performed well under the circumstances.

Missouri posted a handful of season bests and a smattering of NCAA B individual qualifying cuts at day two of the Tiger Invitational. The Tigers were the only college team participating.

Junior Sam Tierney led Missouri, dropping time in all three of his races and posting a B cut in the 100 backstroke.

"A lot of my best races have been when there wasn't a lot of competition around me," Tierney said. "It's easier to focus."

Sophomore Madi Bridges and freshman Keiser Witte joined Tierney in posting B cuts. Bridges qualified by 0.11 second in the 200 breaststroke, and Witte hit the cutoff mark right on the nose in the 100 freestyle.

Although the competition may not have been overly motivating, the Tigers always try to find ways to push one another.

"Our (cheering) section really helped me out today," Tierney said. "They were really loud, almost obnoxious really, and I love that."

Coach Greg Rhodenbaugh said the team's focus is pointing toward the Southeastern Conference Championships, which begin Feb. 18 in Athens, Ga.

The Tiger Invite "is always a fun meet because people get to swim their off events," Rhodenbaugh said. "Watching them do well sets us up well for SECs."

The team hopes to perform well this year after an inconsistent showing at SECs during its first year in the conference.

"We were swimming scared in day one and two last year. Looked like we belonged during the last two," Rhodenbaugh said. "We just have to swim like we belong from day one this year." 

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