Oct. 20, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - Five Green Wave swimmers posted individual wins and junior Sadie Eicher came away victorious in the one-meter springboard but it was not enough as the Tulane University women's swimming and diving team came up just short to North Texas, 158.5-141.5, on Saturday at the Reily Student Recreation Center Natatorium.
With the diving results yet to be finalized, the Green Wave realized they needed a strong showing in the final event and answered the bell with a 1-2 showing in 400 free relay. When the final tally was compiled, however, the Mean Green wound up edging Tulane by just 17 points. With the loss, Tulane fell to 1-1 on the year. North Texas improved to 2-0.
"It really came down to the really close, touch-touch races," Tulane interim head coach T.J. Natal said. "We're talking about tenths of seconds and in the really close races, they were the ones that came out on top. The ball seemed to bounce their way in a couple of key moments in some of the races, and that's kind of how it always goes. You've got to take advantage of the opportunities that are given, and they took a little bit more of advantage of those opportunities than we did today.
"I pulled the team aside and I told them that regardless of what the final score was, even with us being on the losing end of things, I'm very proud of the girls. We've come a long way since we've been together this year. We're a different team even than the one we were two weeks ago. We showed a lot of leadership, a lot of fortitude and kind of came together really nicely."
Junior Rachel Ranson posted Tulane's first individual win of the day with a 1:53.44 in the 200 free. It was the first of five 1-2 finishes for the Green Wave on the day as senior Lauren Pfohl was close behind with a 1:54.26. Seniors Gisele Calderon (2:08.33) and Emily Needham (2:09.45) posted the top two times of the meet in the 200 fly, seniors Kristine Gu (24.46) and Kayla Alf-Huynh (24.60) followed suit in the 50 free, and Ranson (52.67) and Gu (52.75) did the same in the 100 fly. Eicher, meanwhile, led all divers with a 242.48 in the one-meter springboard.
In the final event, the quartet of freshman Mia Schachter, Alf-Huynh, Gu and Ranson combined to clock a 3:32.73 in the 400 free relay while Pfohl, freshman Elizabeth Cook, rookie Anna Lewis Matson and senior Elizabeth Whitaker were next with a 3:32.92.
North Texas, meanwhile, tallied nine individual victories, including 1-2-3 finishes in the three-meter springboard, the 200 breast and the 500 free, as well as a 1-2 showing in the 1000 freestyle.
Alf-Huynh, Schachter, senior Grace Tarka and Gu led Tulane in the 200 medley relay with a 1:47.14 to finish second. Freshman Roni Meyer paced the Green Wave effort in the 400 IM (4:35.00), the 1000 free (10:31.04) and the 500 free (5:10.82) to finish second, third and fourth in the respective events.
Also posting second-place finishes for Tulane were Cook in the 100 back (58.61), Schachter in the 100 breast (1:05.17), Pfohl in the 200 back (2:07.67) and sophomore Amy Needham in the 100 fly (58.93). Eicher was fourth in the three-meter springboard with a score of 190.07, and freshman Harley Jackson touched the wall at 2:20.32 in the 200 breast to finish fourth.
"I give a lot of credit to the upperclassmen really giving wisdom to the underclassmen, especially the freshmen," Natal added. "They've showed them how to prepare, even as far as the mistakes they've made and ways to avoid those mistakes again, and also the general attitude of the team. The girls are such a tight-knit group this year and they've really supported and got behind each other. Each of them really motivates the other to go out there and give their best performance.
"The big positive is that I think the girls know that all the hard work and what we've been doing is pushing us in the right direction. They can see the progress we're getting out of it and I think they're excited to keep moving forward."
The Green Wave return to action on Friday, Oct. 26, when they play host to in-state rival LSU at 6 p.m. in the Reily Nat. During that competition, Tulane will honor the senior class of Alf-Huynh, Calderon, Gu, Needham, Pfohl, Tarka, Whitaker, Kristin Ates, Jillian Daleiden, Allie Evans and Rebekah Harris. Those 11 seniors were the first class to sign with Tulane following the re-instatement of the program back in 2009. Admission to the Tulane/LSU contest, like all home Green Wave meets, is free.