In his 40 years at Texas, head coach Eddie Reese has brought home 39 consecutive conference titles. Saturday, his team claimed number 40.
But it’s no surprise that the winningest team at Texas owes a lot of its success to Reese.
Texas closed out the Big 12 Championship at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. After falling behind West Virginia on Wednesday night, Texas had some ground to cover before claiming first for three consecutive nights.
The Longhorns closed out the conference with 1,028 points. West Virginia trailed in second place with 849.5 points.
However, freshman Daniel Krueger stole the show this week, claiming his first two titles in his performance Thursday in the 50 free and a record time in the 400-yard medley relay alongside freshman Charlie Scheinfeld, junior Ryan Harty and senior John Shebat.
On Saturday night, Krueger went neck to neck in the 100 yard freestyle against senior Townley Haas and freshman Drew Kibler, taking the win with a final time of 42.33, more than half a second faster than Kibler (42.86).
“I am pleased with my times this week, but there is always room for improvement,” Krueger said. “I have some technical things that I can work on with Reese and (assistant coach) Wyatt (Collins) but at this point in the season, I am pretty happy with how I performed.”
At the close of Friday night’s events, Harty set the Big 12 record for his time in the 100 back, making it the seventh-fastest time in the country at 45.19. He didn’t stop there. Harty broke another meet record Saturday night with a time of 1:38.61 in the 200 yard backstroke.
Meanwhile, freshman Alex Zettle made broad strokes at his biggest meet of the year for his performance in the 1650-yard freestyle. His final time was 14:48.32, making it the fastest mile time in the Big 12 to date.
“I was really excited because it was the best time for me by a lot,” Zettle said. “I put in a lot of great work this year and it has been a lot of fun, but I think there is always room to improve.”
Texas must now prepare for the NCAA Championship on March 27, where the team has the opportunity to claim its 15th national title under the leadership of Reese. It’s no small feat operating under such pressure, but if history is any measure, the Longhorns have shown it isn’t anything they can’t handle.
“Ever since I was a young kid it’s always been a goal of mine to compete for a university at the NCAAs, and it is incredible that I get to represent this great university,” Zettle said. “I am just looking forward to being there and doing well for my team.”