Men's Swimming and Diving preview: NCAA Championships
DATE: March 23-25, 2006
Longhorns at the NCAA Championships: Texas has a proud tradition of success at the NCAA Championships as it has won nine titles in program history, including three team titles (2000, '01 and '02) in the last six years. After placing 21st at the NCAA Championships in his first season (1979) at Texas, Reese's teams have never finished lower than seventh at the national meet. Most recently, the Longhorns have captured their 27th consecutive conference championship and will go for their 26th top-five finish at the 2005 NCAA Championships.
Texas in the Rankings: Texas finished the season ranked No. 7 in the College Swim Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) dual-meet poll that was released on March 11. Stanford grabbed the top spot in the poll with four first-place votes. Three-time defending National Champion Auburn was ranked second with four-of-eight first-place votes, while California, Southern California, Florida and Arizona round out the top six.
2006 Big 12 Championships: The University of Texas women's and men's teams swept the Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships for the eighth consecutive season in Columbia, Mo. at the Mizzou Aquatics Center. For the Texas men, it was their 27th consecutive conference title dating back to head coach Eddie Reese's second year at UT in 1980 when it was a member of the Southwest Conference. After the meet he was awarded the Outstanding Coach of the Meet award by the meets coaches. The Longhorns finished with 1,036.5 points and the title, Texas A&M took second-place with 838 points and host Missouri was third with 719.5 points. Also receiving special recognition was freshman Michael Klueh (Evansville, Ind.) was named Outstanding Newcomer of the Meet and junior Garret Weber-Gale (Fox Point, Wisc.) was named Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet. Klueh won three events during the course of the meet (500-yard freestyle, 400-yard individual medley and 1,650-yard freestyle) while setting Big 12 meet records in the 200-yard freestyle in the opening leg of the men's 800-yard freestyle relay (1:34.67), the 400-yard IM (3:48.49) and the 1,650-yard freestyle (14.51.32). Weber-Gale won the 50-yard freestyle (19.78), was a member of the first-place 400-yard medley relay (3:12.63), took first-place in the 100-yard backstroke (47.70), helped the 200-yard freestyle relay to a top finish (1:18.41) and won the 100-yard freestyle (43.01). Overall, the UT men won a total of 16 out of 21 events.
Conference Streak: By winning the 2006 Big 12 Conference title, Texas has now won all 10 Big 12 Conference Championships and 27-straight league titles overall, dating back to Eddie Reese's second year at Texas in 1980 when UT was a member of the Southwest Conference. The only Texas team under Reese that has not won a conference championship was his first team in Austin in 1979.
Reese 2005 Terao Award Winner: University of Texas head men's swimming and diving coach Eddie Reese was awarded the World Swimming Coaches Association's 2005 Terao Award, naming him the coach of the 2001-2004 quadrennium. The Terao Award is bestowed by the World Swimming Coaches Association (WSCA) quadrennially, following the Summer Olympic year, to the best international swimming coach of a four-year cycle, culminating in the Olympic year. It is named after Japanese coach and entrepreneur Yutaka Terao, founding president of WSCA. The Terao has been awarded twice previously: in 1997 to John Carew, Australia-coach of Kieran Perkins and in 2001 to Doug Frost, Australia-coach of Ian Thorpe. The Austin, Texas resident was bestowed the Terao based on the performances of three of his swimmers during the four-year span: World Record holders Ian Crocker, Brendan Hansen and Aaron Peirsol.
Swimming cleans up at second annual Golden Goggle Awards: It was a big night for Texas swimmers at the 2005 Golden Goggle Awards in New York, as three out of eight awards went to former Longhorns, while UT head coach Eddie Reese was named Coach of the Year. Olympic triple gold medalist Aaron Peirsol was named Male Athlete of the Year, complementing his USA Swimming Athlete of the Year honor at the annual U.S. Aquatic Sports Convention in September. University of Texas head coach Reese earned the Coach of the Year Award for the second-straight year. Olympic medalist Ian Crocker won the Male Performance of the Year for his gold-medal winning performance in the 100-meter butterfly at the World Championships. Olympic medalist Brendan Hansen won the Perseverance Award, given to the athlete who came back from adversity to have outstanding performances in 2005.
Leading By Example: For seniors Christian Schurr (Austin, Texas) and Matthew Molnar (Auburn, Ala.) it will be the last trip to the big dance hosted by Georgia Tech on March 23-25 in Atlanta, Ga. Schurr will compete in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke and Molnar will compete in the 100-yard breaststroke. Schurr is a three-time Honorable Mention All-American honoree while Molnar is making his first career trip to the national championships.
Also Making the Trip: Juniors David Donaldson (San Antonio, Texas), Tyler O'Halloran (Boardman, Ohio), Thomas Sacco (Dallas, Texas) and Garrett Weber-Gale (Fox Point, Wisc.), sophomores Jeremy Harris (St. Paul, Minn.), Caleb McDermott (Canyon Lake, Texas), Matthew McGinnis (Raleigh, N.C.) and Daniel Rohleder (Austin, Texas) will also be representing UT in Atlanta, Ga. for the NCAA Championships. Donaldson will be swimming in the 200-yard individual medley, 100- and 200-yard butterfly. O'Halloran will compete in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke and the 100-yard freestyle. Sacco will swim in the 100-yard butterfly, 100- and 200-yard backstroke events. Harris will be making his first trip and swim in the 50-, 100- and 200-yard freestyle races. McDermott will race in the 200-yard individual medley, 200-yard freestyle and the 200-yard backstroke. McGinnis will race in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle. Rohleder will swim in the 100-yard butterfly, 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard butterfly. Weber-Gale will compete in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke. Weber-Gale is a former NCAA Champion and has been named All-America seven-times in his career, O'Halloran is a four-time All-American award winner, and McGinnis was a two-time All-America honoree last year as a freshman. Lowe, Rohleder and Sacco have also taken home both All-American and Honorable Mention All-American honors.
Rookies making A Run: For freshman Michael Klueh (Evansville, Ind.), Sean Patton (Charlotte, N.C.) and Ryan Verlatti (Tacoma, Wash.) it will be their first trip to the NCAA Championships. Klueh qualified in three individual events, while both Patton and Verlatti qualified in a pair apiece. Klueh will race in the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle. Patton will swim in the 500-yard freestyle and 200-yard backstroke.
Rally in the Relays: Texas also qualified five relay teams; the 200-yard freestyle relay, the 400-yard medley relay, the 200-yard medley relay, the 800-yard freestyle relay and the 400-yard freestyle relay. The 800-yard medley relay time of 6:21.33 swam by Klueh, McDermott, Weber-Gale and McGinnis is currently the third fastest time in the country entering the NCAA Championships.
2006 Zone D Diving Results: Joining the team in Atlanta will be teammate junior diver Bailey Gao (Delta, British Columbia) who qualified for the national championships by winning the 1-meter diving competition at the Zone D meet in Columbia, Mo., at the Mizzou Aquatics Center.
Fourteen Strong: Texas will have 14 swimmers competing at the NCAA Championships which is the fourth most of any school. Auburn, the defending national champion, leads the way with 18 qualified swimmers while Cal-Berkley and Stanford tied to boast the second most with 15 apiece. Minnesota and Florida round out the top five with 12 apiece.
Two-time Big 12 Conference Swimmer of the Month: Freshman Michael Klueh has been named the Big 12 Conference Swimmer of the Month for January and for the second time this season. He also won the award for October. Klueh placed first in six events and qualified twice under the NCAA Standard in January. The freshman qualified in both the 500-yard freestyle (4:27.66) and 200-yard butterfly (1:37.24). In two outings, Texas defeated Texas A&M in the Lone Star Showdown, 165-129, in College Station and then went to Dallas and defeated Southern Methodist 153.5-123.5. In his first two collegiate meets, Klueh put together a string of nine consecutive wins, while qualifying under the B Standard in both the 1,650-yard freestyle (15:25.32) and 800 free (6:36.05). At the Big 12 Relays, Klueh helped the Longhorns to a first place finish and earned top honors in the 3x100 relay (2:30.22), 3x500 relay (13:37.15), 4x100 free relay (3:01.97), 4x100 medley (3:23.14), 2x400 relay (6:46.63) and 200x400x200 IM (7:56.20).
December Big 12 Conference Diver of the Month: University of Texas junior Bailey Gao was named Men's Diver of the Month for November. This marks Gao's first time earning the honor. Gao was first in both the 1- and 3-meter diving competitions against USC. On the 1-meter springboard, he posted 316.75 points and earned 361.90 points on the 3-meter.
Head Diving Coach: Matt Scoggin is in his 12th year at Texas as the head diving coach, where he has clearly established UT as one of the nation's top men's and women's diving programs. A former U.S. Olympic diver and 2000 USA Olympic men's assistant diving coach, Scoggin's has been recognized nationally for his outstanding efforts. He was selected NCAA Women's Diving Coach of the Year for the 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons as well as the NCAA Men's Diving Coach of the Year for 2000-01. Additionally, Scoggin is a five-time Big 12 Women's Diving Coach of the Year and has won the conference's Men's Diving Coach of the Year twice. Scoggin has also coached the U.S. National Team seven times, including his most recent appointment as the head coach that competed at the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.