“This meet is like the Wild West. Not one team has had a perfect meet.”
While women’s swimming and diving head coach Carol Capitani may not believe this to be true, Texas still managed to churn out an impressive sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships this past week in Columbus, Ohio. It was Capitani’s fifth top-10 NCAA finish in six seasons with the Longhorns.
Texas kicked off the meet in record-breaking fashion, as the 800-yard freestyle relay team of Quinn Carrozza, Claire Adams, Evie Pfeifer and Rebecca Millard bested the former school record of 6:54.83 set at last year’s meet by more than a second, earning an All-America fifth-place finish.
Picking up where she left off at the Big 12 Championships, Adams went on to win All-America honors on all five relays and the 100 backstroke less than a month after winning the title of Big 12 Women’s Swimmer of the Meet.
This set an early tone of success for the Championships. Momentum carried over to the additional four relays, and the Longhorns earned top-8 finishes in all five relays.
Success was not limited to the relay teams, though, as Thursday night saw distance swimmer Evie Pfeifer become the first swimmer to earn All-America honors in the 500-yard freestyle since Susan Escobar in 2008.
The Big 12 Women’s Newcomer of the Meet went on to have a remarkable meet, earning three additional All-America honors in the 800 freestyle relay, 400 individual medley and 1650 freestyle.
“She’s unflappable,” Capitani said. “You’re lucky when your hardest workers are some of your best kids.”
Across the way on the diving boards, Texas proved to have equally impactful performances,
Sophomore standout Alison Gibson placed fourth in the 1-meter diving finals after winning the event last year, while Murphy Bromberg finished as the runner-up on the platforms.
While the Championships may not have witnessed the Longhorns win an individual event, their impressive performances at the Big 12 Championships less than a month earlier earned them plenty of representation at the national meet.
Texas placed sixth overall with 221.5 points, while Stanford won its second consecutive and 11th overall national championship.
As the season concludes, much is left to be reflected upon. Departing seniors pave the way for new leadership and the rise of underclassmen. Coaches turn to recruiting while athletes turn to the gym.
This season witnessed Texas win its sixth consecutive conference title, and the Longhorns’ underclassmen shined brightly at the Big 12 and national meets.
After witnessing All-America performances from Adams, Pfeifer and Gibson, Texas fans need not fret about next season. It’s apparent this team has big things planned.