Matt Cooper

As the 2010 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships were drawing to a close, the Longhorns were in a tough fight for points to claim the top spot in the country. With the swimming events completed and UT’s prospects looking strong, the hopes of claiming the 10th national title in Texas history rested on the backs of two sophomore divers.

With this lofty goal hanging over their heads, Matt Cooper and Drew Livingston ascended to the platforms and looked to secure a victory for their team. “We didn’t really say anything to each other, but we knew that if we just make diving finals, our team would win the championship,” Livingston told The Daily Texan in February.

The two earned enough points, with Cooper finishing third and Livingston in seventh, to lock up the 2010 title for the team. Sophomores at the time, Cooper and Livingston are now finishing up stellar senior campaigns that have produced impressive results.

Cooper claimed victories in the 1-meter dual against both SMU and Auburn and earned the top spot in the 3-meter against Georgia. Livingston came on strong at the end of the season at the Big 12 Championships, claiming titles in both the 1-meter and the platform competitions.

Starting Thursday at the Zone ‘D’ Diving Championship, the two seniors, joined by fellow Longhorns freshman Ryan Anthony and sophomore Will McCraney, will embark upon a path to qualify for the NCAA championships and put themselves in positions to help No. 2 Texas earn another national title.

The Zone ‘D’ meet will take place in Iowa City, Iowa and is one of five zone meets around the country occurring this weekend. These zone meets provide opportunities for divers to post qualifying scores for the NCAA Championships, occurring March 22-24. Participants in each zone attend the designated meet for their geographical region in the country.

Each zone is allotted a certain number of qualification spots for the NCAA championships. Zone ‘D’ is the largest in the country and has nine spots available for men. By bringing in four divers, Texas has good odds of sending qualifiers to the NCAAs. However, the quest won’t be an easy one. Competing against the Longhorns for these spots include divers from No. 25 Missouri, No. 18 Texas A&M, No. 16 Minnesota, No 14. Iowa and several other universities.

If the Texas men’s team is to win its 11th national title, it will need strong performances from its divers this weekend to do so. One has to feel that these men are up to the challenge.
 

Men's Diving

Senior diver Drew Livingston dives during a practice in February.Livingston is a four-time All American and also owns an NCAA title.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

As the 2010 NCAA men’s swimming and diving championships were drawing to a close, the Longhorns were in a tough fight for points to claim the top spot in the country.

With the swimming events completed and UT’s prospects looking strong as the meet drew to a close, the hopes of claiming the 10th national title in Texas history rested on the backs of two sophomore divers.

With this lofty goal hanging over their heads, Matt Cooper and Drew Livingston ascended to the platforms and looked to secure a victory for their team.

“We didn’t really say anything to each other, but we knew that if we just [made] diving finals, our team would win the championship,” Livingston said.

The two earned enough points, with Cooper finishing third and Livingston in seventh to lock up the 2010 title for the team. Sophomores at the time, Cooper and Livingston are now finishing up stellar senior campaigns that have produced impressive results.

Cooper claimed victories in the 1-meter dual against both SMU and Auburn and earned the top spot in the 3-meter against Georgia. Livingston came on strong at the end of the season at the Big 12 Championships, claiming titles in both the 1-meter and the platform competitions.

Starting Thursday at the Zone D Diving Championship, the two seniors, joined by fellow Longhorn freshman Ryan Anthony and sophomore Will McCraney, will embark upon a path to qualify for the NCAA championships and put themselves in positions to help No. 2 Texas earn another national title.

The Zone D meet will take place in Iowa City, Iowa, and is one of five zone meets around the country occurring this weekend. These zone meets provide opportunities for divers to post qualifying scores for the NCAA championships, occurring March 22-24. Participants in each zone attend the designated meet for their respective geographical region. Each zone is allotted a certain number of qualification spots for the NCAA championships. Zone D is the largest in the country and has nine spots available for men. By bringing in four divers, Texas has good odds of sending qualifiers to the NCAAs. However, the quest won’t be an easy one. Competing against the Horns for these spots include divers from No. 25 Missouri, No. 18 Texas A&M, No. 16 Minnesota, No 14. Iowa and several other universities.

If Texas is to win its 11th national title, it will need strong performances from its divers this weekend.

Printed on Thursday, March 8, 2012 as: Divers in search of 12th title, begin preparation for Zone D

Seniors Matt Cooper and Drew Livingston were important factors in Texas’ NCAA championship in 2010. The two divers have become very close since they began their careers at Texas and hope to finish their senior year at Texas with another national championship.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

On the final day of the 2010 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships, Drew Livingston and Matt Cooper watched as their teammates swam their hardest to give Texas a lead at the end of the meet. The team rallied on the meet’s final day to pull ahead of California.

The diving duo took the platform with the confidence that their team had done their part. Now, it was their turn.

“We didn’t really say anything to each other, but we knew that if we just make diving finals, our team would win the championship,” Livingston said.

He and Cooper, who were both sophomores at the time, came through with flying (or should I say diving) colors and made the diving finals. They eventually clinched the team’s national championship with Cooper finishing third and Livingston seventh.

Now, they are seniors and itching for a second championship ring.

“I sit back and daydream about what we can really do, and I think we’d both like to have lofty goals,” Cooper said. “I think we can final all three boards, if not better. I think that we can take home that number one trophy, and I think Drew and I can definitely be a big part of that as far as scoring goes.”

Last year, Cooper took the year off from diving. Feeling burnt out, he needed time to determine how committed he was to the sport. But now he is back and better than ever. This season, he has qualified for the Olympic Trials in both the 3-meter and 10-meter event. Livingston has qualified as well.

The two divers, who knew each other before coming to Texas, have solidified their friendship. But that friendship has not diminished their competitive natures.

“We’re just as likely to joke around and laugh all practice as we are to have a contest mid-practice,” Livingston said. “That’s really good because to be the best, you have to beat the best. To have one of the best with you at practice every day, it’s really helpful, and we feed off of it.”

Livingston believes that if he had gone to a school where he trained without people like Cooper and his coaches to push him, he would not be where he is today.

Even away from the pool they love to compete.

“During break when we weren’t practicing diving, we used to go play golf two or three times a week,” Cooper said. “We would go out and use our per diem money and play a few rounds. But now our per diem money is kind of running down. We’ll probably start playing more after NCAAs.”

Cooper played golf when he was younger, but Livingston is still new to the sport.

“I think Cooper is the better golfer, but I’m the better competitor,” Livingston said. “So I take advantage of that sometimes. We can both hold our own.”

Now that Cooper is back, the dual threat on the boards could be exactly what Texas needs to push them to a second national championship in three years.

“It’s really sweet, not just to train with Drew, but I know that if I’m not having my best day, he will be there and vice versa,” Cooper said.

Winning the national title is all they think about. Although Olympic Trials are looming in June, they are enjoying and focusing on their final season as Longhorns.

“I imagined coming to Texas and leaving with a championship,” Livingston said. “I’ve already got one, so why not get one more before I leave?”

Printed on Friday, February 3, 2012 as: Divers team up for championship

Men's Swimming & Diving

The second-ranked Longhorns left Tucson with a disappointing loss to the No. 1 Arizona Wildcats on Saturday.

Texas fell to 4-2 in dual meets as the Wildcats remain unbeaten at home with a 155-88 victory. Arizona clocked-in impressive finishes across the board, but the Longhorns were able to pull away with a few strong performances.

Michael McBroom, Jackson Wilcox and Jacob Ritter took the top three spots in the 1000 freestyle event. Later on in the 500 freestyle, the three distance swimmers were able to clinch the top three finishes as well. Kyle McNeilis raced to a fourth place finish to help the Longhorns dominate the distance events.

Senior Jimmy Feigen had impressive performances in the 50 and 100 freestyle events, taking second place in both. Freshman Clay Youngquist stepped up for the Longhorns with a second place swim in the 200 freestyle.

In diving, Matt Cooper won the one-meter competition. Cooper was followed by Drew Livingston who claimed third in the event. Cooper also clenched a second place finish on the three-meter board and teammate Will McCraney took fourth.

Texas will look for redemption as they dual Texas A&M on Friday, Feb. 3. This will be the final meet before they battle in the Big 12 Championships in Columbia, Mo. on Feb. 22-25.

Freshman Kait Pawlowicz swims the 200 fly during a meet against Georgia over winter break. The break proved fruitful for both the men’s and women’s squads as both teams came away with numerous individaul event wins, the men went 2-0 as a team and the women went 1-1.

Photo Credit: Danielle Villasana | Daily Texan Staff

The holidays are a time for fun, gifts and happiness. Winter break brought all of these for the Longhorns.

The No. 2 ranked men’s swimmers and divers were dominant over the break, defeating No. 9 Georgia and No. 7 Auburn by 35 and 30 points, respectively.

The seniors made the most of senior day in their meet with Georgia as Jimmy Feigen lead the charge by winning the 50 and 100 freestyles. Eric Friedland and Neil Caskey also won two events apiece. All three swam on the winning 200 medley relay team.

Senior diver Matt Cooper continued his impressive year with a win in the 3-meter dive and a second place finish in the 1-meter dive. Drew Livingston was the opposite in both diving events, winning the 1-meter dive and placing second in the 3-meter dive.

Other winners for the Longhorns were Michael McBroom in the 1000 freestyle, Dax Hill in the 200 freestyle, Patrick Murphy in the 200 backstroke and Cole Cragin in the 100 backstroke.

The men followed this win up the next week with their most impressive performance of the year in a dual meet with the Auburn Tigers.

“This was one of the best overall dual meet efforts by our team in a long time, maybe in the last three or four years,” said head coach Eddie Reese. “This was a great step for us. We are being led by a great group of seniors and everybody is doing a great job competing.”

Friedland and Feigen swam very well, each placing first in two events. Jackson Wilcox looked great as well, notching the fastest time in the country so far this year in the 1000 freestyle with a time of 9:01.22.

Cooper won the 1-meter diving event while Livingston emerged victorious in the 3-meter diving event. Other individual winners were Hill and Caskey, who won the 200 freestyle and the 200 butterfly events, respectively.

The women tasted both victory and defeat this holiday break, beating top ranked Georgia while losing to Auburn.

In an impressive effort on senior day, the Longhorns became the first team to beat Georgia in the last two years with a 155-145 victory.

“It was a great way to send off the seniors,” said head coach Kim Brackin. “They are five really great kids who have made an impact on the program, not just scoring points but the people they are so it was fun to see them enjoy that last home meet experience.”

Senior Karlee Bispo proved why she’s a captain as she swept all three freestyle events of the meet. Laura Sogar looked dominant as well, winning both the 100 and 200 breaststrokes events.

Other individual winners were Leah Gingrich in the 200 butterfly and Shelby Cullinan in the 3-meter diving event. The Longhorns also earned points with a victory in the 200 medley relay.

In the meet with Auburn, the ladies lost in a tough fashion that saw inconsistency doom the No. 4 ranked team in the nation.

Bispo who placed first in both the 200 freestyle and 200 IM events was a bright spot for the Longhorns. Other winners were Sogar, Lily Moldenhauer and Kaitlin Pawlowicz who each won an event.

Both the men and women will continue their seasons Jan. 28 in a meet with the Arizona Wildcats.

Printed on Wednesday, January 18, 2012 as: Winter break was successful in the pool for the Longhorns