411OnTheForty: Women’s swimming and diving finishes third at NCAA Championships

22 Mar By
College World Series
Evie Pfeifer set a pair of program records at the NCAA Championship in Greensboro, N.C. (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Texas women's swimming and diving team placed third at the NCAA Championships, scoring 344.50 points during the four-day event at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.

Virginia won the title, scoring 491 points, and North Carolina State edged out the Longhorns with 354 points.

The 800-yard freestyle relay team of Kelly Pash, Evie Pfeifer, Kyla Leibel and Julia Cook registered a fourth-place finish with a time of 6:57.21 in Wednesday's lone event.

The Longhorns climbed to third place in the team standings thanks to a trio of strong individual performances that left them with 119 points after the second day.

Pfeifer finished second behind Virginia's Paige Maddenin the 500-yard freestyle, in 4:35.02, but broke the school record in the event by .03 seconds. The previous record was set Nov. 29, 2019 by Joanna Evans.

UT also reached the podium in the 400-yard medley relay team of Cook (backstroke leg), Anna Elendt (breastroke leg), Olivia Bray (butterfly leg) and Pash (freestyle led) touched the wall third, just behind California. Bray registered the fastest split on the third leg of all 20 teams in the event with a time of 50.43 seconds.

The Horns had several more solid showings Friday, scoring 105 points, though Pash was the only podium finisher, as she sprinted to a third-place finish in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:43.50.

On the final day of competition, Texas produced a pair of runner-up finishes: In the 200-yard butterfly "A" final, Bray, Pash and Emma Sticklin all placed in the top seven. Bray, who kept pace with Michigan's Olivia Carter, finished just .63 seconds behind Carter for the second place finish, touching the wall with a time of 1:52.87. Pash tied with Texas A&M's Taylor Pike for fourth, and turned in a time of 1:53.42. Sticklin concluded her first NCAA championships with a seventh-place finish in the event and a time of 1:54.09.

Pfeifer not only earned a runner-up finish in the 1,650-yard freestyle, and scored 17 points, but also broke her own school record with a time of 15:46.41. That previous record had been set at the Big 12 Championships on February 27.

The Longhorns added 26 points from the diving platform as junior Paola Pineda recorded her third fifth-place finish of the meet on platform, after having finished in the same slot on the one and three meter springboard events.

A small number from the team will compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials this summer. The diving meet is set for June 6-13 in Indianapolis, Ind., while the swimming meet is scheduled for June 13-20 in Omaha, Neb.

Riley Zayas is a high school sophomore and freelance journalist from Round Rock, Texas. He began his journalism career as a Sports Illustrated Kids reporter and has since become a regular contributor to Horns Illustrated, covering Texas Longhorn sports. His work also includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes publications, College Baseball Nation and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports website. He currently serves as the Managing Editor of True To The Cru, covering UMHB athletics. Twitter: @ZayasRiley