March 3, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas - Nine swimmers from the nationally ranked Mizzou men's swimming team travelled to the American Short Course Championships in Austin, Texas, this past weekend with hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Championships in Federal Way, Wash., later this month. This group of young Tigers swam tough throughout the weekend setting six team records and placing three swimmers and a relay within reach of being invited to the championships.
The final night was possibly one of the best ever in the University's swimming history, as Mizzou set or re-set five team records during that session. Mack Darragh led the onslaught with a new record in the 200 fly going 1:45.33. Next on the record board was Eegan Groome setting both the 1000 free (9:12) and the mile team record (15:09.33) during the same swim.
The tigers were not done as they set two more team records and one best "non-tech suit" ever in three back to back to back time trials. Ramom Melo started off time trials with a 19.77 for Mizzou's fastest ever 50 free in a "non-tech suit". His swim was also the third fastest in NCAA Division I for freshmen.
Neil O'Halloran was next to assault the record books with a blistering 100 fly swim of 47.37. His time was also the third fastest this year by a freshman. Finally, Mark Conroy was the first Missouri breaststroker ever to break the 54 second barrier going 53.98.
Team Records set:
Swimmers with NCAA Hopes
Eegan Groome (FR): 500 free - 4:18.47; 1000 free - 9:12; 1650 free - 15:09.33
Neil O'Halloran (FR): 100 fly - 47.37
Mark Conroy (SO): 100 breast - 53.98
Mack Darragh (FR): 200 fly - 1:45.33
Eegan Groome (FR): Currently ranked 14th in NCAA Division I in the 500 free. This time is a Mizzou team record and most likely will be drafted into the meet.
Yaniv Shnaider (SR): Currently ranked 22nd in the 400 IM and, depending on how deep the draft goes (and how fast other time trial-ers swim),has a shot at getting his first ever golden ticket to NCAA's. Shnaider's 3:47.68 came on his third 400 IM of the meet in a time trial. During this race he beat the swimmer who outtouched him the night before by .01, which could end up being the difference in going to the show.
Neil O'Halloran (FR): It will probably take a 47 low to make the meet but Neil's time of 47.37 is certainly worth mentioning.
Mack Darragh (FR): His time will probably be about .5 shy of making the meet bit is still a Mizzou best and was an amazing performance.
Mark Conroy (SO): 53.4 is probably the magic number for an invite in this event. Certainly getting under 54 is huge but he just needed to finish the last 25 about .6 faster.
200 Medley Relay: The relay of Joe Hladik (Jr.), Conroy, O'Halloran and Melo swam the second fastest Mizzou time ever but will probably be less than .5 seconds from making the meet. These athletes split 22.53, 23.98, 20.92 and 19.12 in the last (and fastest) attempt of the season. Looking back on the season's best splits, three of the times rank among Mizzou's fastest ever and the entire relay (and combinations of the relay) all return next season. Conroy split 23.98 on the breast and Melo was 19.06 on the free. Add to that O'Halloran's 20.55 fly split from December (ninth fastest this year) and freshman Igor Koslovskij's 24.0 breast split from conference and you have some amazing talent returning for this up and coming program. Look for amazing things at NCAA's in a few weeks.