WVU concluded the final day of the Big 12 vs. Big East Weekend Saturday, sweeping the meet in both men’s and women’s events in the WVU Natatorium.
The West Virginia swimming and diving teams dominated this year’s inaugural Big 12 vs. Big East Weekend, winning 38 out of the 40 events. Even with the dominant performances from both teams, head coach Vic Riggs believes the men’s and women’s squads could have performed better.
"We discussed the difference between the two weekends, this weekend and last, and the importance of team support," Riggs said. "We weren’t bad this weekend but not where we were last weekend, and I think it showed in a few events."
WVU defeated Big East opponents Seton Hall, Butler and Xavier in the two-day meet. The West Virginia women’s team earned the third win of the season’s opening month and the second team sweep. For the women, Xavier and Seton Hall finished second and third, and Butler finished the weekend in fourth place.
"We set a goal of not losing an event this weekend and they didn’t," Riggs said.
The WVU women’s squad placed first and second in the 100-yard butterfly, with Natalie Johnsen winning first place with a time of 57.97. Celia Martinez finished second in a time of 58.05. The women’s team also won the 200-yard freestyle relay for the second week in a row with a time of 1:38.82. Senior Jaimee Gillmore led the relay team, which also featured Amelie Currat, Rachel Ward and Sam Hall.
Freshman Emma Mitchell earned first-place honors in yet another meet, winning the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:03.39. Kelsey Frantz placed second in 5:08.38, while freshman Georgia Baldus finished fourth for the second week in a row with a time of 5:13.26. In total, the WVU women’s team finished with top-four finishes in five of the final day’s 26 events.
For the West Virginia men’s squad, the diving platform belonged to the Mountaineers, who secured all top five places in the 3-meter board event. Alex Obendorf won the event with a score of 324.80. Senior Nate Carr finished first once again in the 200 individual medley with a time of 1:52.87. Andrew Marsh claimed first place in the 100-yard backstroke, 100-yard free, and 100 butterfly.
Marsh also earned first-place honors as a member of the 200 freestyle relay team, which included Carr, senior Ross Glegg and Frank Csonka. Saturday’s first-place finish for the men’s 200 relay team marks the fourth win of the season, as they have won the event in each meet this year.
"These are long weekends, and the teams are tired from a month of racing and training," Riggs said. "I think we finished the third session extremely well, both with our times and races strategies. We now have a month to learn from this first month and get ourselves ready for Tennessee."
The Big 12 vs. Big East Weekend is the final meet of October for the Mountaineers, who head to Knoxville for the Tennessee Invite in late November. West Virginia will have four weeks off to prepare for the program’s first trip to Tennessee for the three-day meet beginning Nov. 20.