Men's Swimming & Diving wins 16th straight Big 12 Championship
Feb. 25, 2012
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Texas Men's Swimming & Diving team won its 16th straight Big 12 Championship and 33rd consecutive conference title Saturday in Columbia, Mo.
"We have a great group of kids that have given it everything they have had this year," said head coach Eddie Reese. "We were not as good as I hoped at this meet and it wasn't their fault. We have worked them very hard and they just need a lot more rest."
The Longhorns scored 1,014.5 points overall to give them over 1,000 points for the 13th straight year. They are the only team in Big 12 history to win the conference meet.
UT racked up several honors for their meet performances. Head coach Eddie Reese was named Swim Coach of the Meet for the 11th time while Matt Scoggin was tabbed Diving Coach of the Meet for the eight time. Texas swept the athlete awards as well with Nick D'Innocenzo being named the Most Outstanding Swimmer for the second straight year, Drew Livingston earning his fourth consecutive Most Outstanding Diver honor and Kip Darmody drawing praise as the Newcomer of the Meet. Livingston is the Big 12's only four-time recipient of either the swimming or diving award.
"Nick (D'Innocenzo) has been struggling this year because we have put them through a hard training program and this weekend he did a great job," said Reese. "Kip swam some really fast times this weekend and will keep getting better. He will be real hard to beat at the end of the year."
Livingston became the only athlete in Big 12 Men's Swimming & Diving Championship history to be named Diver of the Meet for the fourth straight year. He won both the 1-meter and platform diving contests while claiming second in the 3-meter. He wrapped up his weekend by scoring 471.90 points for his third Big 12 Championship on the platform. He has won it each of the last two years.
"It is pretty cool that I have been able to win the award across four straight meets," said Livingston. "It is a tribute to how hard I have worked and means a lot because of that. Today I won the platform even though I haven't competed in it since last year at the NCAA Championships. I felt pretty good but I think I will be more ready come NCAAs."
D'Innocenzo was great throughout the meet with wins in the 200 IM and 400 IM the last two days. On Saturday he added to his victory list with a first place finish in the 200 breaststroke. He had a time of 1:55.78 to beat out his teammate Eric Friedland (1:56.59).
"It is nice to get this honor but I still have a long way to go," said D'Innocenzo. "I had a pretty good meet and had some good swims. As a team we have every intention to swim fast and want to show up and perform but our top priority is NCAAs."
Darmody helped his case for top newcomer by leading off the final session with a victory in the 200 backstroke. His 1:43.38 was the fastest time of the season in the event for the Longhorns. He was followed by three UT swimmers in the standings with Austin Surhoff second, Hayes Johnson third and Conor Swanson fourth.
"It is a real honor to be named Newcomer of the Meet," said Darmody. "It is great to perform this way and get some confidence moving forward. I was happy with my individual performances and hopefully I can carry it on to NCAAs."
Texas won four other events on Saturday to sweep the day's competition. Jimmy Feigen won the 100 freestyle for the fourth straight year, joining Jackson Wilcox to give UT two swimmers this meet that became four-time champions in an event. There are now eight in school history to do so.
Michael McBroom won his first Big 12 Championship in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 14:53.86 while Neil Caskey earned his second straight win in the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:45.66. To cap off the championship, Texas won the 400 freestyle relay for the 15th time in 16 years of the championship. Clay Youngquist, Dax Hill, Charlie Moore and Jimmy Feigen combined for a time of 2:52.64.
Next weekend some Texas swimmers will have one more chance to qualify for the NCAA championships as the American Short Course Championships will take place at the Lee & Joe Jamail Swimming Center in Austin.