Next up on our 2021/2022 TCU Athletics year in review, the TCU Swimming & Diving team.
Both the men’s and women’s swim teams had a relatively successful year as the men finished 2nd in the Big 12 with the women claiming 3rd.
Considering the University of Texas has built a Swimming & Diving dynasty compatible with the Alabama football program, finishing just 205 points behind them in the Big 12 championship meet isn’t too shabby.
This is the highest finish for both Horned Frogs teams since 2015. The men beat out West Virginia by 40 points (828-788) as the women also topped the Mountaineers, but were 31 points behind the Kansas Jayhawks in the battle for second.
Several swimmers contributed to the Frogs’ success at the Big 12 meets. Rylee Moore finished second in the 200-backstroke as well as contributed to three school records throughout the meet, Geremia Freri took home bronze in the 1650 freestyle with an NCAA B Cut time of 15:19.49, and Piotr Sadlowski also finished third with a 1:47.49 in the 200 butterfly.
Not to forget the men’s 400 freestyle relay team that finished the meet off with a silver medal, led by Noah Cumby’s impressive 43.28 split.
Historically, the Frogs’ season would come to an end at this point in the season, but not this year. TCU had three athletes qualify for the NCAA National Championship meet, the first time the purple and white have been represented on the grand stage since Cooper Robinson qualified on the 200 backstroke in 2014.
Janis Silins was the lone swimmer to make the cut, as David Ekdahl and Alec Hubbard represented the Frogs on the boards.
Silins, the current TCU record holder in the 100 (52.11) and 200 (1:54.05) breaststroke, qualified for his first national championship meet after setting a personal best time at the Art Adamson Invitational.
The senior breaststroker ended up placing 40th overall with a time of 1:55.73 in the 200 breaststroke.
Of course, the athletes are the ones actually in the pool doing the swimming, but the relatively new head coach, James Winchester, deserves a ton of credit for the Frogs’ recent success.
Typically, holding a position for four full seasons wouldn’t quantify you as a “new” head coach, but considering what this program had going before his arrival, he’s finally had time to build a culture and the type of program he wants to run.
Richard Sybesma was at the helm for 38 long years, but all great things have to come to an end. Winchester has done a great job transitioning this program and based on this year’s results, the Swimming & Diving teams are headed in the right direction.
This year’s success was shared across the swimming & diving teams, as the diving team has two members qualify for the NCAA Championship meet.
In order to qualify, though, the freshmen duo of David Ekdahl and Alec Hubbard needed big scores at the Big 12 meet. Ekdahl placed 6th (706.8) in the 1-meter and 9th (725.8) in the 3-meter at the Big 12 meets.
Hubbard on the other hand qualified on platform thanks to an 8th place finish at the NCAA Zone D competition with a score of 640.55. He also took home a bronze medal at the Big 12 meets.
The two went on to make a splash (pun intended) at the NCAA Championship meet, with Ekdahl finishing 24th in 3-meter with a score of 353.3 and Hubbard finished 37th in platform prelims with a score of 276.7.
Aside from ending their debut season in style, Hubbard and Ekdahl both set school records over the course of the regular season. Ekdahl, a three-time Big 12 diver of the week, holds claim to two: 1-meter (388.5) and 3-meter (418.8). Hubbard on the other hand holds claim to the school record on platform with a score of 377.03.
The Frogs certainly had some award-deserving performances this season, but the fact of the matter is when you’re in the same conference as a team comprised of literal Olympians (Texas), it’s going to be tough to take home hardware.
Although UT took home quite literally every Big 12 honor, both the men’s and women’s swimming & diving teams earned Scholar All-American honors.
The women’s team earned the honors for the 56th consecutive semester with a wildly impressive cumulative GPA of 3.61. The men may not have a crazy streak like that, but they posted a 3.15 GPA as a team, one of the best in recent years.
Aside from the team’s earning the award, nine individual Horned Frogs were named Scholar All-Americans. Noah Cumby, David Ekdahl, Hugh McPherson, Claire Chahbandour, Connie Deighton, Faith Harms-Zacharias, Sydney Jorgenson, Anna Kwong, and Sheridan Schreiber were all honored.
As mentioned previously, the Frogs are headed in the right direction under head coach James Winchester.
The Frogs are losing a handful of seniors, including Janis Silins and Sheridan Schreiber, but nothing program-altering will be going down this offseason.
Winchester will bring in the guys and girls needed to continue this upward trajectory, and who knows, maybe the Frogs will give UT a run for their money a few years down the line.
The official 2022/2023 schedule is yet to be released, but Frog fans can expect the 2022/2023 swimming & diving season to get started around late September, likely with a home meet against a non-conference opponent.