29 Mar

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Men’s Swimming and Diving wins 11th NCAA team title

swimming texas championshipIOWA CITY, IowaTexas sophomore Will Licon and freshman Joseph Schooling won NCAA titles for a second consecutive night as the Longhorns completed a dominant three-day performance and won their 11th NCAA team title at the 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Swimming and Diving Championships.

The Longhorns led the meet from start-to-finish and handily claimed the team title with 528 points.  California, the 2014 NCAA champion, took second with 399 points while Michigan placed third with 312 points.  USC took fourth with 278 points and Florida rounded out the top-five with 248 points.

Head coach Eddie Reese tied former Ohio State coach Mike Peppe for No. 1 all-time with 11 NCAA team titles and was selected as the CSCAA Swimming Coach of the Meet.  Saturday's team trophy marked the first NCAA team championship for The University of Texas since Volleyball in 2012. UT now has 48 all-time NCAA team championships and 51 overall national team titles in school history.

Reese won his first NCAA team title since 2010, and UT notched its 29th top-three NCAA Championships finish in Reese's 37 seasons on the Forty Acres.  Texas won six individual swimming titles, the most at a single NCAA Championship meet since 2001, when the Horns won seven en route to UT's eighth NCAA title.

Texas' seven NCAA individual titles at the 2015 NCAA Championships moves UT's all-time total to 114 individual swimming and diving titles, good for No. 5 all-time (54 individual swimming, 41 swimming relays, 19 diving).  UT last won seven events at an NCAA Championship meet in 2004.

The evening began when junior Sam Lewis shaved over six seconds off of his personal best in an afternoon 1,650 freestyle heat and placed ninth overall at 14:47.99 to earn honorable mention All-America honors.  Sophomore Will Glass placed eighth in the 200 backstroke consolation final and added a point for the Horns at 1:43.20.

Junior John Murray added 12 points for the Horns by way of his seventh-place showing in the 100 freestyle consolation final in 42.62.  Classmate Matt Ellis chipped in seven points with his second-place time of 42.44 in the 100 freestyle consolation final.

Licon defeated American record holder Chase Kalisz of Georgia en route to victory Friday in the 400 IM and produced a similar feat in Saturday's finals.  The El Paso native matched up against the American record holder in the 200 breaststroke, Arizona's Kevin Cordes, and edged Cordes by five one-hundredths of a second.

Cordes led Licon at the 150-yard mark but Licon out-split Cordes by about half a second down the stretch to take the narrow win.  Licon, who also finished as the runner-up in the 200 IM, became UT's first NCAA champion in the 200 breaststroke since Eric Friedland in 2011.

Texas collected a bundle of points in the next event, as UT placed three Longhorns in the 200 butterfly championship final.  London Olympian Joseph Schooling of Singapore became the first Longhorn ever to sweep the 100 and 200 butterfly at the NCAA Championships and the first UT swimmer to even win both events in his career.

Schooling edged the event's American record holder, teammate Jack Conger, and took the win in 1:39.62.  Conger finished just off the pace in 1:39.74.  Sophomore Clark Smith was disqualified for a one-hand touch at the wall.  Schooling became UT's first NCAA champion in the event since Rainer Kendrick in 2004.

All-America sophomore Mark Anderson made his first championship final on platform and placed sixth in the event Saturday evening with 432.0 points.  UT enjoyed a typically strong performance from its divers and earned an All-America honor on all three boards.

Texas closed out its 11th NCAA title victory by taking fourth in the 400 freestyle relay at 2:49.10 (Ellis 42.72, Conger 42.17, Darmody 42.47, Schooling 41.74).

Texas NCAA Championships Notes

  • Texas boasts more NCAA team titles (11) and NCAA top-two finishes (22) than any other men's swimming and diving program since head coach Eddie Reese's arrival at UT in advance of the 1978-79 season.
  • Texas ties Ohio State for No. 2 all-time with 11 NCAA team titles
  • Reese ties former Ohio State coach Mike Peppe for No. 1 all-time with 11 NCAA men's swimming and diving team titles
  • Reese entered the meet as the only coach in the sport's history to win NCAA team titles in four separate decades; the 37th-year head coach has won 11 NCAA team titles over a 34-year span (1981, '88, '89, 1990, '91, '96, 2000, '01, '02, 2010, '15).  Associate head coach Kris Kubik has been by Reese's side for every NCAA team title.
  • Reese's Longhorns have finished among the top-three in 29 of 37 NCAA Championship meets under his direction.
  • Texas swept the relays on day one (200 free relay and 400 medley relay) for the first time since 1990.
  • Texas won the 200 free relay for the fifth time overall (No. 3 all-time) and for the first time since 1996.
  • Texas won the 400 medley relay for the 12th time overall (T-1st all-time with Stanford) and for the first time since 2004, when future Olympic gold medalists Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, Ian Crocker and Garrett Weber-Gale claimed the win.  The 2015 Longhorns quartet of Kip Darmody, Will Licon, Joseph Schooling and Jack Conger won in 3:01.23 to break the NCAA, NCAA Championship and U.S. Open record mark of 3:01.39 set by Auburn at the 2009 NCAA Championships.
  • As a program, Texas entered the 2015 NCAA Championships with NCAA titles in every swimming event except the 500 freestyle and the 400 individual medley. Sophomores Clark Smith (500 free) and Will Licon (400 IM) filled those voids this week, meaning Texas has won all 18 swimming events currently contested at the NCAA Championships.
  • Joseph Schooling became the first Texas freshman to win an NCAA individual swimming title since Austin Surhoff (200 IM) in 2010.  The Singaporean Olympian claimed UT's first NCAA title in the 100 butterfly since 2004 (Ian Crocker) and its seventh overall (No. 2 all-time).  Schooling broke Crocker's 11-year-old school record (44.72) en route to victory in 44.51.
  • No school had ever landed the top-four finishes in a championship final until Texas went 1-2-3-4 (Schooling, Jack Conger, Tripp Cooper, Will Glass) in Friday's 100 butterfly final.
  • Texas made history in the 100 butterfly preliminaries when it qualified an NCAA record six swimmers for the championship final. No school had ever sent more than four swimmers to a championship final in any event at the NCAA Championships.  The previous high for single team members represented in an event final (championship final and consolation final combined) was five swimmers by USC in 1987 (500 freestyle) and Michigan in 1994 and 1995 (500 freestyle both years).
  • Texas' seven NCAA individual titles at the 2015 NCAA Championships moves UT's all-time total to 114 individual swimming and diving titles, good for No. 5 all-time (54 individual swimming, 41 swimming relays, 19 diving).  UT last won seven events at an NCAA Championship meet in 2004.

Part-time journalist turned full-time blogger, Brian is an online staff writer at Horns Illustrated and serves as senior staff writer for digital marketing agency Speak Social. Brian currently resides in Austin and you can read his blog at the following address: briankendall.wordpress.com