Missouri swimmers finish strong at Phillips 66 championships

Monday, August 11, 2014 | 8:05 p.m. CDT

The Missouri men's and women's swimming teams turned in solid performances at the 2014 Phillips 66 U.S. National Championships held Wednesday through Sunday in Irvine, Calif.

The Tiger women grabbed 12th overall with a combined 86.50 points and the men clinched 20th with 48 points, according to the Missouri Athletic Department.

Daniel Graviss set the tone for the week early. The junior from Houston, Texas, clocked a personal-best 200.30 in the 200 fly, clipping over three seconds off his previous best time in the event. He continued to swim strong throughout the week. In the 400 individual medley, he took third in the B final with a time of 4:19.76, which put him in the top 50 in the world this year.

On the second day, three Tigers earned spots in respective finals. Sophomore Carter Griffin capitalized on a golden opportunity after his entry time put him in the top heat of the 200 backstroke. The Parker, Colo., native swam a 1:58.94 during prelims, which placed him sixth overall and earned him a spot in the A final alongside Olympic gold medalists Tyler Clary and Ryan Lochte. Griffin ended up sixth in the A final as well with a 1:58.87.

Senior Sam Tierney (Plano, Texas) swam in the final heat of the 200 breast prelims, finishing in 2:14.64, which gave him the 16th fastest time and the last spot in the B final. The veteran took seventh in that final with a 2:15.08.

Fellow senior Danielle Barbiea (Springboro, Ohio) just missed out on the A final of the 50 fly, finishing with the ninth-quickest time in prelims. She wound up clocking a 26.96 and taking third in the B final. Barbiea swam in five total events during the week, which was the most by any Tiger.

While the experienced Tigers were excelling, incoming freshman Hannah Stevens (Lexington, Ohio) made a statement of her own. Stevens qualified for the A final in the 50 backstroke and swam a 29.00 to tie for sixth overall against a talented pool of swimmers. Later in the week, the 19-year-old finished with the 15th-fastest time in the 100 backstroke prelims and claimed third in the B final of the event with a 1:02.07.

Additionally, Stevens helped the women's 400 medley relay team place second overall with a 4:09.07. Stevens teamed up with Barbiea, Katharine Ross (Des Moines, Iowa) and Anna Patterson (Plano, Texas) to earn a spot on the podium.

The men's 400 medley relay team finished fifth overall despite coming in with an entry time seeded 17th out of 19 teams. Graviss, sophomores Dillon Love (Charlotte, N.C.) and Eddie Mapel (Hinsdale, Ill.) and junior Matthew Margritier (Leawood, Kan.) swam a 3:44.63. The back-to-back top five performances by the medley relays highlighted a strong week for Missouri swimming.

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