Senior Anthony Ashley leads team at 2019 Tiger Invite

The invitational serves as “tune-ups” for the SEC Championships, which begin Feb. 19.
Senior Anthony Ashley swims the breaststroke at the Tiger Invite on Friday, Jan. 25 2019 at the MizzouRec in Columbia, Mo. Skyler Navarro

Two years ago at the 2017 Tiger Invite, senior Anthony Ashley had one of the best meets of his life right before the SEC Championships. The next morning, he drove himself to the emergency room and found out that he had mumps, which forced him to stay home for over a week and miss the meet.

On Friday, he won the 400 individual medley at the 2019 Tiger Invite with a time of 3:52.48.

“The Tiger Invite is like tune-ups for us,” Ashley said. “I’m not going to go as fast today as I would at SEC’s but I want to swim the race the same way. We make sure that we are ready to go fast and do our best there.”

Ashley, a captain on the team, also won the 200 IM and 200-yard backstroke at the invite.

He was one of seven Missouri swimmers to win their races during the first day of the competition. Although there were no other universities competing at the event, the team used this opportunity to focus on getting ready for the upcoming meets.

“This is definitely different than normal meets because it’s just us or another team on the deck,” Ashley said. “It’s very easy to stay focused and positive because you are competing so heavily against other teams. Going into a meet like this, you got to make sure everyone focuses on the process.”

The Missouri men’s team is ranked No. 16 nationally and the women rank No. 21.

“The most important thing as a captain and something that we all do as a team is build up your teammates and make sure everyone is going fast and if you take the races seriously than other people will do the same,” Ashley said.

On Friday, freshman Allison Bloebaum won the women’s 1650 freestyle, sophomore Devan Sweeney won the women’s 400 IM, junior Haley Hynes won the women’s 50 freestyle, senior Mikel Schreuders won the men’s 50 freestyle, senior Annie Ochitwa won the women’s 200 freestyle and freshman Danny Kovac won the men’s 200 freestyle.

The team will head to Athens, Georgia for the SEC Championships on Feb. 19.

“In the end, the team goal is always to place as high at NCAA’s as possible and high at SEC’s,” Ashley said.

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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