Seniors Jimmy Feigen and Drew Livingston captured individual national championships to lead the Longhorns on the first day of the NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving National Championships.
The two individual titles helped Texas finish strong as they scored 128.5 points for third place on Thursday.
Feigen edged out Southern California's Vladimir Morozov at the wall to claim the third title in the 50 freestyle by a Texas swimmer. At the turn, Feigen was second to Morozov but he was able to overtake him in the final 25 yards.
"Jimmy has done a lot of things right this year," said Reese. "Before the first relay today he said he has a lot more resting in him and he is going to be better before this meet is over."
In his first three seasons at Texas, Feigen finished second as a freshman, fourth as a sophomore and third last year in the 50 freestyle. After the race Feigen expressed his relief to claim his first national title.
"My four years have been really great and NCAA's have been really good to me," said Feigen. "Now I am a senior and things are starting to pick up. It is my time and I feel like the spotlight is getting thrust in my direction and I am ready to accept that. I won the event against a great field so I am happy."
In the next event, Drew Livingston led from start to finish as he won his second career national title in the 1-meter competition. He also won the event as a freshman in 2009. With three dives scoring over 80 points, he racked up 448.10 points to win by nearly 40 points. It is the ninth national title in the 1-meter for the Longhorns and 99th individual NCAA championship in school history.
"Obviously it is really nice," said Livingston. "I am going to enjoy it for about 15 minutes and then I have two more events to get ready for. One of the mistakes I made when I won it in 2009 was getting too high from it and I came back the next day and got 14th on the 3-meter. I am enjoying it but the experience tells me I need to move on as quick as possible."
Texas started off the Thursday finals with the 200 freestyle relay. The Longhorns' Feigen, Clay Youngquist, Charlie Moore and Dax Hilll teamed up for a time of 1:16.72 for fourth place and 30 team points. Feigen had UT in first place after the first leg of the relay with a split of 19.10, but the Longhorns could not stay out front.
The Longhorns closed the day with a relay as well, taking third place in the 400 medley relay. Cole Cragin, Eric Friedland, Neil Caskey and Feigen combined for a time of 3:05.68. The finish added 32 points to the team total.
Junior Michael McBroom made the A final in the 500 freestyle. He posted a time of 4:20.11 to finish seventh in the event and gain 12 team points. Both his prelims time and finals times marked the top two marks of the season for McBroom.
In the 200 IM, Texas had two swimmers in the consolation B final. Junior Austin Surhoff, the 2010 NCAA Champion in the event, tied for third in the heat and tied for 11th overall with his time of 1:44.17. Junior Nick D'Innocenzo came in 15th overall with a time of 1:46.35. The two swimmers added a combined 7.5 points to the team's tally.
In the consolation B final of the 1-meter diving event, senior Matt Cooper was in an all-out battle for the top position. Cooper posted over 60 points on five of his six dives, including a 74.4 on his inward 2 1/2 somersault tuck. However, Arizona's Benjamin Grado was lights out as well and recorded a 76.80 on his final attempt to take the win. Overall in the 1-meter diving event, Cooper placed ninth for seven team points.
Overall Texas piled up 11 All-America awards and three honorable mention All-America recognitions. Feigen collected three All-America honors while Caskey, Cragin, Friedland, Hill, Livingston, McBroom, Moore and Youngquist all received one. Cooper, D'Innocenzo and Surhoff all captured honorable mention.
The NCAA Championships continue on Friday with the prelims at 11 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m. The events scheduled to take place include the 200 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke, 3-meter diving and 800 freestyle relay.