Texas men’s swimming and diving team added another accolade to its long list of titles this weekend, taking home its 11th NCAA title in Iowa City, Iowa.
From the first dive to the final wall touch, the Longhorns led the meet. The team dominated the competition, claiming the team title with 528 points. Last year’s NCAA champion, California, snagged second with 399 points and Michigan came in third with 312 points.
Texas head coach Eddie Reese, named CSCAA Swimming Coach of the Meet, and former Ohio State coach Mike Peppe now share the No. 1 ranking for most NCAA titles of all time. Reese is the only coach in swimming and diving history to win NCAA team titles in four separate decades.
“I’ve got 10 rings from winning 10 championships,” Reese said. “I have no clue where they are.”
Reese said what matters to him is the individuals who make up his team.
“I know what every kid did and how much they improved,” Reese said. “Those are things that really matter. It’s always about people. The number of championships just means I’m old.”
Before the first preliminary rounds began Thursday, Texas, as a program, held NCAA titles in every swimming event except the 500-yard freestyle and the 400-yard individual medley. By the end of the meet, sophomores Clark Smith, in the 500-yard free, and Will Licon, in the 400-yard individual medley, had both earned first-place times, rounding out Texas’s record sheet.
In the 400-yard individual medley, Licon defeated Georgia junior Chase Kalisz, the national record-holder in the event, with a time of 3:36.37. Smith’s first place finish in the 500-yard free contributed 20 points to his team’s total.
“Clark Smith didn’t even make this meet last year, [and this year], he won an event,” Reese said. “That just doesn’t happen. I can’t make that happen. He made that happen.”
Freshman and London Olympian Joseph Schooling also made a great deal happen. Schooling helped make program history when the Longhorns qualified six swimmers, an NCAA record, in the 100-yard butterfly preliminaries for the championship final. Previously, no school had ever sent more than four swimmers to a final in any event at the NCAA Championships.
Schooling became the first ever Longhorn to sweep the 100- and 200-yard butterfly at the NCAA Championships and the first Texas swimmer in general to earn a title in both events.
“To swim my first championship season with these guys, with Eddie [Reese] and Chris [Scheaffer] and have so much success off the bat means a lot to me, and I’m excited for the next few years,” Schooling said.
While Schooling has another three years with the Longhorns, the 2015 NCAA Championships marked the last time Texas’ seniors would compete as Longhorns.
“I am still waiting for someone to wake me up right now,” senior Kip Darmody said. “I don’t think the meet could have gone any better for us. Sacrificing many Saturday nights and giving it my all every day, day in and day out, it’s surreal. Like I said, I am still waiting for someone to wake me up — it’s something special.”