Crosstown rivals take competition from field to water

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    The rivalry against Southern Methodist University extends from the football field into the pool for TCU.

    The men’s swimming and diving team will be competing for its first win against SMU in program history on Wednesday.

    Head coach Richard Sybesma said SMU has had a good program over the years. It is an exciting opportunity to swim against the Mustangs at the home pool in the TCU Recreation Center Natatorium, he said.

    “This meet is always in the back of our heads no matter what time of the year,” senior Ryker Saunders said. “This meet means everything to us.”

    Last season, SMU defeated TCU, 156-144, in the last event of the meet.

    TCU came back to sweep the top-three spots in the 200-yard individual medley event to get within reach of the Mustangs, 144-140.

    The 400-yard free relay event would determine the winner of the meet. The Frogs came close, finishing three-and-a-half seconds faster in the event than four days earlier, but the team finished 0.86 seconds behind SMU.

    “You always have those movies where they come back and win. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for us in the last relay,” Saunders said. “It was heartbreaking to come so close but still fall a little short.”

    Saunders said the team has been working and training harder, specifically for the SMU meet.

    Because SMU is a non-conference opponent, the outcome of the meet does not affect the rankings of TCU in the Big 12, but defeating the Mustangs is still a priority for the Frogs.

    “What’s interesting is that this meet accounts for nothing, but it means absolutely everything,” Saunders said.

    SMU will be opening its season at TCU. The Mustangs are competing in their first season in the new American Athletic Conference.

    Across three conferences, SMU has won 16 conference championships in the last 17 years.

    “It is extremely motivating to know being the team to actually conquer SMU would be something legendary,” Saunders said. “It’s a big deal in the program to have that bookmark or footnote in history as being the first squad to take down the Mustangs.”

    The meet will start Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the TCU Recreation Center Natatorium.