No. 1 Texas Men’s Swimming and Diving takes lead through night one of NCAA Championships

27 Mar By
Team Shop
(via Texas Athletics)

(via Texas Athletics)

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IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Texas unloaded explosive individual and relay performances that yielded three NCAA titles and an NCAA record on night one of the 2015 NCAA Championships at Iowa's Campus Recreation Center Natatorium.

Texas leads the NCAA Championships through the first of three days with 171 points. Defending NCAA champion California sits in second with 119 points while Florida holds third place with 108 points. Michigan is in fourth place with 105 points while Alabama rounds out the top-five with 79 points.

Texas swept the opening day's two relays -- the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 400 medley relay -- for the first time at the NCAA Championships since 1990. The latter relay yielded NCAA, NCAA Championship and U.S. Open records, as UT claimed the 400 medley relay for the first time since 2004 in 3 minutes, 1.23 seconds.

The 400 medley relay featuring senior Kip Darmody, sophomore Will Licon, freshman Joseph Schooling and sophomore Jack Conger topped the previous NCAA, NCAA Championship and U.S. Open record mark of 3:01.39 set by Auburn at the 2009 NCAA Championships.

California's Ryan Murphy opened the 400 medley relay with an American record swim with his 44.17 leadoff on backstroke. Texas' Darmody kept the Horns within striking distance with his leadoff of 45.39. The Golden Bears' stretched their lead to over two seconds after the breaststroke before Schooling took over on the butterfly and nearly ran down Cal's Justin Lynch. Schooling split a lightning-fast 43.95 on the butterfly leg while Lynch split 45.47.

Cal led by about half of a second before the Bears' Seth Stubblefield matched up with Texas' Conger on the anchor leg, freestyle. Conger gave Texas the lead at the 350-yard mark and held on in the final 25 yards to give the Longhorns the win at 3:01.23 behind his anchor swim of 40.96 seconds. California placed second at 3:01.60 with Stubblefield on anchor at 41.84.

Texas opened the night by initially placing second in the 200 freestyle relay at 1:15.86, but the would-be champion at the time, N.C. State, was disqualified for an early take-off. As a result, the Longhorns took home their first NCAA title in the 200 free relay since 1996 and their fifth overall. Junior Matt Ellis led off in 19.33 before classmate John Murray picked up the second leg in 18.85. Conger split 18.75 on the third leg before Darmody anchored in 18.93.

Sophomore Clark Smith, who didn't qualify for the NCAA Championships as a freshman, became UT's first NCAA champion in the 500 freestyle. Smith, the son of former Texas swimmers John and Tori (Trees) Smith, won his first NCAA title in his first NCAA finals swim at 4:09.72, the second-fastest time in school history.

Smith took the lead midway through the race and held off a late challenge from Florida's Dan Wallace to preserve the win. Junior Sam Lewis took seventh overall at 4:16.75 while freshman Jonathan Roberts took eighth in 4:16.89.

Only an American record-setting effort by Stanford's David Nolan kept Licon off the top of the 200 IM awards podium. Nolan lowered his American record and took the win in 1:39.38 to become the first swimmer ever to break 1:40 in the event. Licon lowered his school record once more and settled for second in 1:40.09 after clocking a school record 1:40.68 in the preliminary round. Schooling won the event's consolation final in 1:42.86.

Junior Cory Bowersox reached the one-meter diving finals for a third consecutive year and placed sixth at 420.00. The Fairfax, Virginia, native scored a meet-best 80.60 points on his first dive, an inward two-and-a-half somersault. He finished strong with his forward two-and-a-half somersault with one twist in the pike position for 78.4 points to finish at 420.00.

Day two of the NCAA Championships gets underway Friday at 11 a.m. Central.

2015 NCAA Division I Men's Swimming and Diving Championships

Day 1 Texas Finals Results

200 Freestyle Relay Championship Final

1 Texas (Ellis 19.33, Murray 18.85, Conger 18.75, Darmody 18.93), 1:15.86

500 Freestyle Championship Final

1 Clark Smith, 4:09.72

7 Sam Lewis, 4:16.75

8 Jonathan Roberts

200 IM Championship Final

2 Will Licon, 1:40.09

200 IM Consolation Final

1 Joseph Schooling, 1:42.86

One-Meter Diving Championship Final

6 Cory Bowersox, 420.00

400 Medley Relay Championship Final

1 Texas (Darmody 45.39, Licon 50.93, Schooling 43.95, Conger 40.96), 3:01.23

2015 NCAA Division I Men's Swimming and Diving Championships

Day 1 Texas Prelims Results

200 Freestyle Relay

3. Texas (Ellis 19.53, Murray 18.64, Conger 18.52, Darmody 19.22), 1:15.91

500 Freestyle

1 Clark Smith, 4:11.17

2 Sam Lewis, 4:12.44

6 Jonathan Roberts, 4:13.10

21 Clay Youngquist 4:17.42

200 IM

1 Will Licon, 1:40.68

9 Joseph Schooling 1:42.62

50 Freestyle

17 Matt Ellis, 19.39

22 John Murray, 19.45

29 Tripp Cooper, 19.64

32 Brett Ringgold, 19.68

43 Aaron Gustafson, 20.06

400 Medley Relay

3 Texas (Darmody 46.28, Temple 52.38, Cooper 45.04, Conger 41.83), 3:05.53

1-Meter Diving

5 Cory Bowersox, 391.10

11 Mark Anderson 364.00

29 Will Chandler, 323.90

James Schleicher is the publisher of Horns Illustrated magazine. He's also a fifth generation Texan and lifelong Austinite. Follow @HornsIllus twitter to keep up with all things Horns Illustrated.