Men's Swimming and Diving wins Big 12 Championship again, Women take second
· 2007-08 Men's Swimming and Diving: |
There is one thing more certain than death and taxes.
It’s the Texas Men’s Swimming and Diving team.
Coach Eddie Reese’s squad continued their dominance, winning a 12th straight Big 12 Championship in the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center.
If you’re keeping track at home, Coach Reese’s men have won every Big 12 Conference championship.
Texas has won 29 straight conference championships, dating back to the Southwest Conference.
The last time Coach Reese’s team did not win the conference championship was in 1978-79 -- his first year at Texas.
Last year in the Big 12 Championship, Texas set a meet record with 1,114 points.
This year, Texas shut out the opposition.
The Horns won every event in the swimming and diving championships -- the first time this has happened.
“They’re doing a real nice job,” said Reese in a master understatement, referring to his team. “They’re a real special group.”
Coach Kim Brackin’s women were runners-up for a second consecutive year, with Texas A&M claiming the title.
"It was exciting to see Susana Escobar have more great swims, and it sets her up for a great NCAA meet," UT coach Kim Brackin said. “She and Hee-Jin Chang have been the leaders on this team at the bookends - in distance and the sprints."
These finishes were particularly impressive as the UT men and women showed no rust after a break that was only slightly shorter than the Writers Guild of America strike.
After duels with Southern Methodist University in Dallas in early February, both of Texas’ swimming and diving teams went on hiatus.
Or so it seemed.
Brackin, whose inaugural Texas team was No. 6 in the NCAAs last year, was happy to have the breather following her 17th-ranked Longhorns’ loss to No. 14 SMU.
In her second year as women’s coach Brackin welcomed back six All-Americas from the 2007 team, with junior Hee-Jin Chang leading the group. Diving coach Matt Scoggin has been able to rely on Mary Yarrison and Kathryn Kelly.
Kelly, a junior, and Susana Escobar, a sophomore swimmer, were both honored by the Big 12 in late January after their fine performances against Auburn, Georgia and Arizona.
For Kelly, it was her first such Big 12 recognition since her freshman year. For Escobar, it was her first such recognition ever.
Yarrison, a senior was selected Big 12 Conference Women’s Diver of the Week in early February following a winning performance in the three-meter. It was Yarrison’s second such honor.
“Composure and determination will help us along the way,” Brackin said.
Reese has claimed nine NCAA Championships at Texas, including three in the last six years. Since being No. 21 nationally in his first year as UT swim coach in 1978-79, Reese’s teams never have finished lower than seventh. Last year, Texas’ men wound up fifth in the NCAAs.
His 2008 outfit, which ranked No. 1 going into the Big 12 Championship, welcomed back 10 All-Americas from the 2007 team. Seniors Matt Lowe and Matt McGinnis, junior Michael Klueh and sophomores Dave Walters and Ricky Berens all have medaled in international events since the end of last season.
Sophomore Mike Wong, an honorable mention All-America in 2007 with his work on the platform, and junior transfer Jonathan Wilcox, who had been an All-America at Florida, and freshmen Matt Cooper and Matt Cardell also are diving standouts.
Cooper, Walters, Klueh and Berens have six Big 12 Conference weekly honors between them thus far in 2008. Cooper alone owns three of the honors.
Reese told the team before the Big 12 Championships that he believes as long as you go into a swim meet willing to race as hard as you can, the rest will take care of itself.
“We don’t talk about winning championships,” he said. “The individual is first. We talk about what it takes for each individual to get better. With that focus, we are in a battle for the championship every year.
“I like that.”