MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University swimming and diving sent its seniors out in style with a pair of dominating wins over TCU on Saturday at the WVU Natatorium.
The women earned a 210-90 victory, their first dual meet win over a Big 12 foe since WVU joined the conference in 2012-13. The men were equally as dominant, posting a 194-106 win for their fourth consecutive victory over the Horned Frogs.
The women won 15 of 16 events and the men claimed 10 wins. The men finished 1-2-3 in five events and the women earned four 1-2-3 finishes. Three of the men’s five 1-2-3 finishes also saw the Mountaineers claim the top four places.
“I’m very proud of the teams’ total effort today,” WVU coach Vic Riggs said. “I think the biggest difference this week was we had very strong swims from top to bottom in almost every event. The energy on the deck was amazing before and during the meet and one of the most exciting meets we’ve had at home in a while. It has been several years since both teams won together in a dual meet and to have it on senior day makes it very special.”
The day began in a big way on springboard, where the divers won each event and tallied two 1-2-3-4-5 finishes, a 1-2-3 finish and a 1-2 finish. The men claimed the top four spots on both events. Proietto won both boards, with a 355.50 on 1-meter and a 351.05 on 3-meter. Junior Alex Obendorf
was second on both events, thanks to a 330.30 on 1-meter and a 349.15 on 3-meter.
For the women, Calcut swept the events courtesy of a 291.70 on 1-meter and a 302.70 on 3-meter. Sophomore Madelyn Woods
placed second in both events, with a 276.00 on 1-meter and a 280.60 on 3-meter. West Virginia added a third-place finish on 3-meter thanks to sophomore Averly Hobbs
“It was a big day for the divers, and I’m very proud of all of them,” WVU diving coach Michael Grapner said. “Their confidence continues to rise and so do their scores. Both the men and women came to compete today. Mike Proietto is a competitor, he really stepped up today with two big wins. I’m really happy for the rest of the men as well, now they all have their NCAA Zone scores for the meet in March. On the women’s side, Julia was very consistent on both boards. Three of the women have their Zone score. (Freshman) Brooke Zedar
continues to improve each week. The women did a great job to help the team defeat the Horned Frogs.”
Following WVU’s four wins on springboard, the attention turned to the swimming events and the 200 medley relay. The women got off to a strong start with a victory in 1:47.53 thanks to sophomore Maggie Miller
, Harris and freshmen Julia Miranda
and Julia Nilton
. West Virginia also added a third-place finish. The men placed second and third, with times of 1:33.75 and 1:34.05.
Individual events began with the 1,000 freestyle, where the Mountaineers won both events. Junior James Koval
led a 1-2-3 finish for the men with a 9:31.24, the fourth-fastest time in the event in school history. For the women, Skelley’s 10:15.57 earned her first win of the day and fueled a 1-2 finish for West Virginia.
The Mountaineers continued their strong start in the 200 freestyle, where the men placed first and second and the women first and third. Freshman Ryan Kelly
posted a 1:40.81 to win by nearly two seconds and Skelley won her second consecutive race with a 1:53.26, winning by 2.33 seconds.
The WVU women earned their first 1-2-3 finish in the 100 backstroke, as Miranda touched the wall in 55.82 to win the event. Currat (56.47) was second and Miller (57.40) placed third.
Harris earned her first individual win with a 1:06.29 in the 100 breaststroke. Sophomore Jake Armstrong
led a 1-2 finish for the men with a 58.21 to earn the win. As the top four finishers all finished within 0.26 seconds.
Bullock’s first win came in the 200 butterfly as the women claimed the top three finishes. Bullock’s 2:04.75 came in ahead of sophomore Morgan Carr
’s 2:06.84 and senior Mackenzie Braden
’s third-place finish of 2:07.92.
The women wrapped up the first session of racing with their third 1-2-3 finish in four events in the 50 freestyle. Currat’s 24.43 led the way, ahead of Nilton (24.54) and sophomore Sam Hall
(24.90). The men placed first and second in the event, thanks to El Merini’s first win in 20.73 and sophomore Drew Damich
’s second-place finish in 21.03.
“We discussed coming out and dominating the first session and I think we did that and more,” Riggs said. “Having the women win the first relay was huge for them. After the relays we then went on to win 10 of the next 12 events with 1-2-3 sweeps in the men’s 1,000, with James swimming a season-best time of 9:31.24, the women’s 100 back, with Julia Miranda
swimming a season-best time of 55.82, the women’s 200 fly with Morgan Bullock
having a strong swim, the women’s 50 free with Amelia having an in-season best time. We also had four events that we went 1-2 in, which helped us end the session with a solid lead.”
Following a brief break, competition resumed with the 100 freestyle, where the men rolled to a 1-2-3-4 finish. El Merini touched the wall in first place with a 45.83, followed by Damich (46.68) and freshmen Sam Neaveill
(47.58) and Matthew Marsh
The women followed with a win in the 200 backstroke, with Currat earning her second win of the day with a 2:01.96. The women added another win in the following event, thanks to Harris’ 2:19.69 in the 200 breaststroke.
Skelley scored her third win of the day in the 500 freestyle, thanks to a 5:02.81. The men followed with a 500 win of their own, courtesy of freshman Trayton Saladin
, who touched the wall in 4:39.57.
The Mountaineers closed out the middle group of races with wins in the 100 butterfly. The men went 1-2-3 and the women finished first and second. Freshman Jack Frazier
led the men with a 50.69, finishing ahead of senior Austin Green
(51.23) and freshman Gabe Swardson
(51.64). For the women, Bullock’s 56.53 won the event, ahead of Miranda’s 56.61.
“The divers did a great job today and really helped us secure the meet at the end of the middle session,” Riggs added. “During the middle session we discussed keeping focused and finishing the job before the second break. Our women did a great job by winning four of the five events, with Amelie in the 200 back, Emma Harris
in the 200 breast, Emma Skelley
in the 500 free and Morgan Bullock
in the 100 fly. On the men’s side we knew TCU would have a strong session and they did, but having Merwane, Trayton and Jack win the 100 free, 500 free and 100 fly, respectfully, was enough to answer their very good session.”
The women closed the day with a pair of wins, in the 200 individual medley and the 400 freestyle relay. Bullock earned her final win with a 2:09.33 in the 200 individual medley. In the relay, a 3:33.38 was good for the win from Currat, Miranda, Nilton and Bullock.
The men finished with a 1-2 finish in the 400 freestyle relay. Damich, Neaveill, Saladin and El Marini touched the wall in 3:06.41 to win, ahead of WVU’s second relay team, which finished in 3:09.91.
“Our last session was strong as well and winning both relays was a great way to finish the meet,” Riggs concluded. “Overall it was one of the strongest team performances for both teams from start to finish this season.”
Up next, the West Virginia women continues Big 12 action at Iowa State on Jan. 21, at noon ET. The men and women return to the road for a pair of races at Bucknell and Villanova in two weeks. WVU faces Bucknell on Friday, Jan. 27, at 6 p.m. ET, before traveling to Villanova the following day for a 1 p.m. ET matchup.