Men’s swimming and diving wins NCAA title

28 Mar By
Carson Foster and the Texas men's swimming and diving team won the 15th NCAA title in program history, giving head coach Eddie Reese at least one title in each of the last five decades (photo courtesy of texassports.com).

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Texas men's swimming and diving team won the program's 15th national title with a first-place finish at the NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships as the Horns scored 598 points; runner-up California finishing 27 points behind.

The victory was a rebound for head coach Eddie Reese's program, which lost to Cal in the 2019 NCAA championships in Austin. Reese has now led Texas to a national championship win in five different decades; the victory marked the university's 56th national title (52nd NCAA crown).

Texas raced out of the gates on the meet's first day, as junior Drew Kibler, senior Austin Katz, freshman Carson Foster and senior Jake Sannem captured a victory in the 800-yard freestyle relay with a time of 6:07.25, defeating Cal by 1.43 seconds.

The relays continued to provide the Horns with points on the second day, as the 400-yard medley relay team of senior Chris Staka, sophomore Caspar Corbeau, senior Alvin Jiang and junior Daniel Krueger took first place in a hard-fought race, touching the wall with a time of 3:00.23. It was Texas and Cal at 1-2 once again, with the Golden Bears finishing just .5 seconds after the Horns.

On the diving platform, senior Jordan Windle made his final NCAA Championship meet his finest, claiming the 1-meter diving title on day two before finishing second in the 3-meter springboard on day three. He capped off his college career, by taking fourth on platform on Saturday with a score of 422.75 points.

After day two, Texas trailed Cal, 230-203, though the Longhorns quickly closed the gap on Friday, behind a trio of runner-up finishes.

Get more Texas Longhorns Sports

In the 400 yard individual medley "A" final, four Longhorns placed, with Foster coming in second and a time of 3:38.25. Jake Foster took fifth, Braden Vines finished sixth and David Johnston Jr. rounded out the field in eighth. Those four accounted for 55 of Texas' 211 points on the day, as the Horns regained the lead.

Adding to the pivotal day of competition was a strong performance in the 200 yard freestyle as Kibler, Sannem and Peter Larson placed in the "A" final of the event. Kibler was just .29 behind Florida's Kieran Thomas as the junior finished second, scoring 17 points. Sennem touched the wall fourth and Larson placed eighth, coming in just .03 seconds after USC's Alexei Sancov.

Cal and Texas went head-to-head on Saturday in the final session of the meet, with the Longhorns maintaining the advantage.

Texas' swimmers also battled in a sort of intrasquad competition, especially in the 100-yard freestly,e as Kibler and Krueger were neck-and-neck the entire way. Both touched the wall at the exact same moment, with a lightning-fast time of 41.59, to tie for second place. It was perhaps the day's most entertaining race, as the entire field stayed close, with first-place finisher, Cal's Ryan Hoffer, posting a time of 40.89. At the 50-yard mark, Krueger was .22 seconds ahead of Kibler, though Kibler battled back in the second half of the race. Neither bested their prelim time, and Kibler's prelim time of 41.45 ranked No. 3 on UT's all-time performers list.

The victory concludes Texas' season, though many of the squad's swimmers will compete in Omaha, Nebraska at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials June 6-13. The U.S. Olympic Diving Trials will be June 6-13 in Indianapolis.

Riley Zayas is a high school sophomore and freelance journalist from Round Rock, Texas. He began his journalism career as a Sports Illustrated Kids reporter and has since become a regular contributor to Horns Illustrated, covering Texas Longhorn sports. His work also includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes publications, College Baseball Nation and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports website. He currently serves as the Managing Editor of True To The Cru, covering UMHB athletics. Twitter: @ZayasRiley