Nov. 30, 2005
COLUMBIA, Mo. -
Coming off of strong performances at the Purdue Invite on both the individual and team levels, members of the Missouri swimming and diving team will travel to Austin, Texas, this weekend to take part in the Texas Invite.
Along with the host Texas Longhorns, who are ranked in the ranked in the top 10 nationally on both the men's and women's side, the Tigers will face a group of opponents that is loaded with top-25 teams.
On the men's side, three top-five schools - No. 2 California, No. 4 Michigan and No. 5 Arizona - headline the field. No. 6 Texas and No. 8 Southern California will also join the No. 24 Mizzou men in the water this weekend, as will a Wisconsin team that received votes in the last poll. Arizona State, UC - Santa Barbara, Hawaii, TCU and Pacific complete the men's side of the meet.
While they may face a smaller number of teams this weekend, the Tiger women certainly won't face a less challenging group of opponents than their male teammates. No. 6 Arizona, No. 9 Wisconsin, No. 10 Texas and No. 19 Hawaii will all be in attendance at the Texas Invite, as will a UC - Santa Barbara that received votes in the last poll. Arizona State, TCU, Pacific and Tulane round out the women's lineup.
"We're going against a very high level of competition this weekend," Mizzou head coach Brian Hoffer said. "This meet will be faster than Purdue. Our swimmers know that, and they'll be ready to go. A lot of people didn't shave for Purdue and they will for Texas, so everyone's pretty excited."
For Hoffer and the Tigers, it isn't points that matter this weekend, but individual swims.
"We're going to our second big meet in two weeks and we're taking a reduced squad," Hoffer said. "This is something we've never done before. We're looking to compete at a high level and we want to see how we can hang with these teams on an individual level."
In their last outing, the Tigers traveled to West Lafayette, Ind., where the women finished fourth and the men finished fifth in a Purdue Invite field that featured nationally-ranked teams. Junior Shannon Hogan and freshman Lori Halvorson starred for the Tigers on the women's side, each entering the all-time Mizzou top-five in one event and moving up the charts in another.
Hogan swam the 50 prelims in a time of 23.22, putting her at second place in school history, and followed that up with a 23.24 in finals to tie Andrea Hupman of Northwestern for first. She also swam the 100 free finals in 51.32, good for fourth in the meet and third all-time at Mizzou, and secured a 10th-place finish in the 100 back with a time of 57.89.
Halvorson finished eighth in the 200 IM, breaking into the all-time top-five with a time of 2:05.08 in the prelims, and moved from fourth to second all-time in the 200 back with a time of 2:01.08. She also finished seventh in the 100 back with a time of 57.53 and 15th in the 50 free with a time of 24.10.
The Mizzou women also got key individual performances from the freshman trio of Jill Granger, Carly Sullivan and Kayla Bowcutt. Granger broke her own school record in the 500 free by .02 with a time of 4:53.13, while Sullivan swam the 1650 free in a time 16:57.27 to claim third place in the all-time record book. Bowcutt edged into fifth all-time in the 100 breast with a lifetime-best time of 1:04.85.
The 200 free relay team of Hogan, sophomore Katie Gates, sophomore Taye Patterson and Halvorson turned in a third-place finish and a time of 1:33.75, good for fourth in school history.
On the men's side, the Tigers were powered by sophomore Bennett Clark. The Kirkwood, Mo., native went a 20.81 in prelims en route to finishing in a tie for fifth in the 50 free finals. He also added a third-place finish in the 100 free (45.56) and a seventh-place finish in the 200 free (1:41.48 in prelims).
Sophomores Justin Sellers and Lex Howard engaged in a battle of their own on Sunday for fifth place all-time in the 200 fly. Sellers knocked Howard off the list in prelims with a time of 1:50.64, only to see Howard swim a 1:50.11 in finals to move up to fourth in school history and remove his classmate Sellers from the list.
"We certainly have some momentum going to Texas after some great swims last week at Purdue," Hoffer said. "I'm excited to get down there and see what we can do."
For all the latest on Missouri swimming and diving, including results and recaps from the Texas Invite, check www.mutigers.com.