The West Virginia University men’s and women’s swimming teams opened competition at the 2021 Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championship, at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday.
The first night of competition was highlighted by the men’s team’s second-place finish in the 800 freestyle relay to conclude the evening. Neck-and-neck with TCU in the battle for silver, the Mountaineers finished ahead of the Horned Frogs and notched the third-best time in the event in program history.
“We had some really great relay swims tonight,” coach Vic Riggs said. “Several of our swimmers notched personal lifetime bests, so that was a great way to start the week.”
The evening began with the 200 medley relay, where the women’s team got the week started with a fifth-place finish in the event. The team of sophomores Jacqueline McCutchan, Mathilde Kaelbel, Harna Minezawa and Emily Haimes combined for a time of 1:41.82.
Up next was the men’s 200 medley, where the team of freshman Justin Heimes, junior Fausto Huerta and seniors David Dixon and Ryen Van Wyk touched the wall in 1:27.55 to grab third place, collecting WVU’s first medals of the championship.
The final event of the night was the 800 freestyle relay, where the women’s team of freshman Jordan Buechler, senior Luisa Winkler, freshman Abby Reardon and junior Lauryn Kallay notched a time of 7:19.53 to place fourth, just behind the Kansas relay team.
Closing the first day was the exciting finish for the men’s team in the 800 free relay. Senior Max Gustafson along with a trio of freshmen – Roanoke Shirk, Logan McFadden and Brendan Williams – earned the second-place spot with a time of 6:31.40, which now ranks No. 3 all-time in the event.
The Mountaineers return to competition on Thursday, Feb. 25, for the second day of action at the Big 12 Championship. Thursday’s split prelims are set to begin with the women’s races at 10 a.m. ET, followed by the men’s prelims at 12 p.m. Combined finals action will commence at 7 p.m. ET, from the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center.