One minute, 35.69 seconds.
The Missouri women’s swim team put on a show in the finals of the Mizzou Invite on Thursday. With fans, teammates and coaches yelling and waving their arms in support, the first event was the loudest that the Mizzou Rec Aquatic Center got all night. The blistering-fast time of 1:35.69 in the women’s 200-yard medley relay lowered the team’s nation-leading time in the event.
Freshman breaststroker Molly Winer, sophomore sprint-freestylist Megan Keil and senior backstroker Haley Hynes have been excellent for the Tigers in the event, while junior Sarah Thompson continues to blow past people in the butterfly despite not swimming the stroke much in the last two seasons.
Missouri head coach Andrew Grevers said that Thompson is fast in the 50-yard butterfly because she only has to breathe once. When she can put her head down and just race, there aren’t many in the country that can compete with her. Thompson has been a revelation for the Tigers after they lost senior Ann Ochitwa, a butterfly specialist, to graduation after last season.
While Ochitwa was a standout for the Tigers, Thompson gives the relay the extra gear it may need to break through for the gold this season at the SEC Championships in February at Auburn after settling for a silver medal last season.
There weremultiple other strong swims, as well.
On the men’s side, sophomore Jack Dahlgren has continued to improve in sprint freestyle, which is important as the team has aspirations of being the first team to dethrone Florida as SEC Champions since 2012.
Dahlgren is one of the number of sophomores who made an instant impact last season, and he can be one of the answers for the Tigers as they look to replace the points lost by former MU superstar sprint-freestylist Mikel Schreuders, who graduated after last season.
Schreuders was one of the main reasons the Tigers were able to push Florida for the SEC Championship up to the last day of competition. He won a gold medal in the 200-yard freestyle.
Because the Mizzou Invite is not only limited to college swimmers, Schreuders swam in the finals as an “unattached” swimmer and was able to push Dahlgren in the 200-yard freestyle. While the SEC record-holder Schreuders won the event, Dahlgren was just a touch behind. The sophomore’s 1:34.29 swim would have placed him in the A final at last season’s SEC Championships.
Senior Giovanny Lima finished just behind Dahlgren, giving the Tigers second- and third-place finishes in the event. The Tigers men’s team is already superb overall, but if it can flood the A finals in the sprint-freestyle category at the SEC Championships in February, the loss of the near-irreplaceable Schreuders won’t sting as much on the scoreboard.
Missouri also had a couple of impressive diving performances Thursday night by freshmen pairing Leonardo Garcia Varela (368.40 points) and Carlo Lopez (340.50 points), who earned first and second place, respectively, in the men’s 3-meter diving finals.
The final day of the Mizzou Invite returns to action at 10 a.m. Friday in the Mizzou Rec.