National Championship moments: 1987 Women's Swimming and Diving
Even after the Longhorns won their third consecutive NCAA title in 1986, Texas women's swimming and diving head coach Richard Quick was not satisfied. He decided to alter his training program for the 1986-87 season, setting his sights not only on a fourth championship but on NCAA, American and U.S. Open records as well.
To achieve these goals, Quick added "easy swimming" into his program. After weeks of extensive training, Quick tapered his team for four or five weeks allowing enough recovery to have real fast swimming in practice and in dual meets.
"In our system, the kids have to pay a consistent, steady price. I'm not overworking people and not under tapering them at the end to be safe, so if somebody goofs off and hasn't paid the price all year long, then they are not going to perform in the end," Quick said at the beginning of the season.
But performance quickly became the least of Quick's worries. His training undoubtedly paid off as his team swam to its first undefeated dual season with a 9-0 record. By far their sweetest victories were over No. 2 Stanford and third No. 3 Florida. The Texas women traveled to Gainesville and defeated Florida 67-46 on January 24, with strong wins by Andrea Hayes (200 back), Tracey McFarlane (200 breast), Kara McGrath (200 fly) and Carrie Steinseifer (100 free). The Horns also took the 400 free and the 400 medley relays to secure the win.
Two weeks later in its home pool, Texas virtually demolished Stanford, handing the Cardinal a 92-48 defeat. The Horns started hot, setting pool and conference records in the 400 medley relay and barely missing and American mark. Texas won eight individual races to Stanford's five, but it was the Horns' depth in scoring that produced the overpowering victory.
It was after this dual victory that Quick told his team, "Everybody in the nation is going to say that we rested for this meet and we swam too fast and we're not going to be good at the end. I think we're right on schedule."
The Horns were on schedule and had been swimming so well that they had qualified an unprecedented 22 swimmers. The diving team was also on schedule, and qualified three divers to the championships. Since each diver counts as one-third of a competitor, and in order to meet the NCAA squad limit of 18, Quick had to leave five swimmers at home.
But he was taking 17 of the nation's best to defend their national title, and at the same time, test his new training program. His swimmers intended to swim for records and they succeeded. Texas' showing resulted in the fastest NCAAs ever as Betsy Mitchell and Tracey McFarlane swam career bests while capturing NCAA and U.S. Open records - Mitchell in the 100 and 200 back and McFarlane in the 100 yard breaststroke. Mitchell also set the American records in these events, while McFarlane's time of 1:00.68 would have broken the American record held by Tracey Caulkins. However, due to her Canadian citizenship, McFarlane was only eligible for the U.S. Open Record. NCAA and U.S. Open records were also set by the Texas squads in the 200 medley relay and the 200 free relay.
The Horns led from day one of the Championships and continued to build on that lead, entering the last day with 438 points to Stanford's 396-1/2. Texas locked up the meet in the prelims of that final day, winning yet another national championship. In the end, they were not only good, they were the best.