WHAT: Looking for its 10th NCAA team championship, No. 2 Texas heads to the season-ending 2008 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships.
WHEN: Thursday, March 27 - Sunday, March 29: Prelims at noon Pacific each day; Finals at 7 p.m. Pacific each night.
WHERE: Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center - Federal Way, Wash.
TEXAS AIMS FOR 10TH NCAA TEAM TITLE
Under 30th-year head coach Eddie Reese, Texas begins pursuit of its 10th NCAA team championship this week in Federal Way, Wash. The Longhorns have captured all 10 of their NCAA titles under Reese, who will serve his third term as the head coach of the U.S. Olympic men's swimming team later this summer at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
Texas will bring 16 swimmers and three divers to Federal Way in its quest to capture the national championship. Junior Michael Klueh enters the meet as the top seed in the 500 freestyle, and sophomore Dave Walters holds the nation's top seed in the 200 freestyle.
800 FREESTYLE RELAY SHATTERS NCAA, AMERICAN, U.S. OPEN RECORDS
After falling just a few seconds shy of setting a new American record in the 800 freestyle relay at the 2007 Big 12 Championship, Texas managed to shatter that record -- and set new NCAA and U.S. Open records -- at the 2008 Big 12 Championship last month in Austin.
The quartet of freshman Dave Walters, senior Matt McGinnis, junior Michael Klueh and sophomore Ricky Berens obliterated the record in 6:10.55, breaking the previous mark of 6:14.14 set by Club Wolverine's Michael Phelps, Peter Vanderkaay, Davis Tarwater and Chris DeJong on Nov. 30, 2007 in Atlanta. Walters led off in 1:32.51 to set a new school record in the 200 freestyle, as he took down Doug Gjertsen's 18-year-old Texas standard of 1:33.15. McGinnis followed in 1:33.31 before giving way to Klueh, who clocked 1:32.21 in the third leg. Berens anchored in 1:32.52 to finish off the relay in 6:10.55.
TEXAS CAPTURES 29TH CONSECUTIVE CONFERENCE TITLE
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Two things have remained constant over the last 29 seasons -- coach Eddie Reese has maintained a high standard of excellence, and his Longhorns have continued to win conference titles, year after year. The Longhorns claimed their 29th consecutive conference title and their 12th Big 12 Conference title, as UT completed a four-day run through the Big 12 meet in Austin with a meet record of 1,129 points.
The meet marked the first time in the 12-year history of the Big 12 Championship that Texas had won each swimming and diving title at the meet. Junior Michael Klueh was selected as the Swimmer of the Meet, and Reese once again took top honors as the Swimming Coach of the Meet. Diving coach Matt Scoggin was tabbed the Diving Coach of the Meet. Freshman Jonathan Jackson enjoyed breakthrough performances in the 50- and 100 freestyles and was selected as the Newcomer of the Meet.
ONE SWIM, FOUR RECORDS FOR KLUEH
It took only one swim for junior Michael Klueh to break four records at the Big 12 Championship. Klueh opened the meet with a time of 4 minutes, 11.41 seconds in the 500 freestyle, shattering his own school-record and Big 12 Conference mark of 4:14.10 set at the 2006 NCAA Championship. The mark topped the previous Texas Swimming Center record time of 4:12.18 set by USC's Ous Mellouli and beat his previous Big 12 meet record of 4:15.28 set at the 2006 Big 12 Championship. The time is the fastest among college swimmers this season by two seconds.
KLUEH GOES THE DISTANCE
The incredible showing from Klueh at the Big 12 Championship was hardly his first dominant performance of the season. Klueh displayed a sign of things to come on Dec. 1 at the Texas Invitational when he took down Matt Hooper's 14-year-old school mark in the 1,650 freestyle. Klueh clocked 14:41.83 in the event, breaking Hooper's previous mark of 14:42.02 set at the 1994 NCAA Championship. Klueh has had a hand in all three school records - 1,650 freestyle, 500 freestyle and 800 free relay -- that have fallen this season.
SOPHOMORE JINX NOT A CHANCE
Sophomores Dave Walters and Ricky Berens have followed stellar freshman seasons with terrific sophomore campaigns, and duo figures to contend for individual titles at the NCAA Championship. Walters landed the nation's top seed in the 200 freestyle with his performance of 1:32.51 on the opening leg of UT's American record-setting 800 freestyle relay.
Walters, who excels at distances from 100 to 500 yards/meters, made waves last summer at the 2007 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming National Championships, when he topped a loaded field in the 100-meter freestyle. Walters also holds the fourth seed in the 100 freestyle at 42.57 and the 14th seed at in the 500 freestyle at 4:18.22.
The versatile Berens has climbed up UT's all-time top performance list in the 100- and 200 butterfly events and the 200 IM. Berens now ranks second all-time among UT's top swimmers in the 100- and 200 butterfly events. Berens continues to refine his strokes in the 200 IM, and the work has paid off, as he is seeded 15th nationally in that event.
GETTING IT DONE IN THE POOL AND THE CLASSROOM
As often as the Longhorns get things done in the pool, they are just as likely to excel in the classroom. No fewer than 15 Longhorns were selected to the 2008 Academic All-Big 12 team. Texas led the league in academic all-conference selections, which included 14 first-team honorees.
THREE DIVERS TO COMPETE FOR TITLES
Under 14th-year diving coach Matt Scoggin, Texas will send three divers to compete for NCAA titles in Federal Way. Sophomore Mike Wong will make his second appearance in as many seasons, while junior transfer Jonathan Wilcox and freshman Matt Cooper will make their first NCAA appearances as Longhorns.
Wilcox captured the one-meter event at the Big 12 Championship, and Cooper took the three-meter and platform events. Wong added a platform win at the NCAA Zone "D" Diving Meet.
Texas will look to claim its first NCAA diving title since Troy Dumais swept the one- and three-meter springboards in 2002.
VERLATTI, WILCOX RETURNING HOME
The chance to compete at this week's NCAA Championship in suburban Seattle serves as a homecoming for junior swimmer Ryan Verlatti and junior diver Jonathan Wilcox. Verlatti was born and raised in nearby Tacoma, Wash., and called the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center his home pool throughout his junior swimming years. Wilcox, who competed at The University of Florida during his first two collegiate seasons, is a native of nearby Bellevue, Wash. Verlatti and Wilcox will make their first career Seattle-area appearances as Longhorns this week at the NCAA Championship.
FOUR FOR FOUR
Texas seniors Matt Lowe, Caleb McDermott, Matt McGinnis and Daniel Rohleder each will make their four NCAA Championship appearance in as many seasons. The quartet has helped Texas to seventh, fourth and fifth place finishes over the last three seasons at the NCAA Championships and have accounted for 22 All-America honors and 12 honorable mention All-America certificates.
MAGRUDER BREAKS OUT AT BIG 12 MEET
It had been a long time coming for UT senior Agustin Magruder, but his journey toward earning a NCAA berth proved worthwhile, as he earned his first NCAA automatic-qualifying marks at the Big 12 Championship. The Colorado native captured the 200 breaststroke in 1:55.67 to become the fourth fastest 200 breaststroker in school history. Magruder and fellow senior breaststroker Matt Lowe will make a formidable breaststroke duo at the NCAA Championship.