Matt Scoggin

With two diving titles and a collection of other top-10 finishes, Texas finished second at the NCAA Championships. Among the Longhorns’ strong performers was the 400-yard freestyle relay team that secured the ninth-fastest time in program history.






Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns grabbed three individual All-American finishes and an All-American relay to finish second this weekend while hosting the NCAA Division I Championships. Competing at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, Texas scored 417.5 points, trailing title-winner California’s 468.5.

This marks the 11th NCAA runner-up finish for head coach Eddie Reese, who has won 10 NCAA titles in his 36 years here. Reese said ninth-place finishes hurt the team.

“We lived and died by our ninths,” Reese said. “We’re from The University of Texas, so we expect to be battling for top three year in and year out and have a legitimate shot for first. We did.” 

Freshman diver Michael Hixon swept the springboard diving events to secure two NCAA titles and Diver of the Meet honors. 

“Having my boys right there, right beside the three-meter, that was unbelievable,” Hixon said. “I kind of went a little crazy after my last dive, probably a little bit too much.”

Hixon finished out his meet with a seventh-place finish in the platform diving event with a score of 366.35.

Diving coach Matt Scoggin reclaimed his 2012 title as the College Swimming Coaches Association of America Diving Coach of the Year. Scoggin attributed Hixon’s early success to his work ethic and dedication. 

“It’s infectious,” Scoggin said. “He shows up early, stays late. Sometimes I have to tell him, ‘Look, you’re done. You need to get out of here.’”

Hixon’s spirit translated to the swimmers. Sophomore freestyler John Murray clocked in at 42.43 for fifth in the 100-yard freestyle championship, and sophomore swimmer Matt Ellis placed seventh in the consolation final with 42.98.

Beating his own personal best and notching third on the all-time Texas board, junior swimmer Kip Darmody finished sixth in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:40.18. Freshman swimmer Jack Conger’s 1:40.73 time put him in eighth place, giving the Longhorns 11 overall points.

The Longhorns ended the night with a fourth-place finish in the 400-yard freestyle relay, the ninth-fastest time at UT. Ellis, Murray, Conger and senior swimmer Caleb Weir lapped at 43.07, 42.11, 43.06 and 42.70, respectively.

Scoggin said he’s optimistic about placing second with such a young team this year.

“It’s awesome to see young men have the guts to know how great they’re going to do before they even do it,” Scoggin said. “We feel very fortunate.”

Texas will compete in its final meet of the semester Thursday: the UT Diving Invitational — the first meet of the qualifying season. The women’s diving squad runs deep in talent and experience with a few members having competed in the world championships in Barcelona this past summer. 

Redshirt senior Maren Taylor won her first national title on the 1-meter board and finished 11th in the 3-meter final at this summer’s World Championships — her first international meet. This success follows a productive junior season in which she won the 3-meter event at the NCAA Zone D Championships.  

“It has started a new part of my career because it has made me have new, bigger goals and it allows me to look beyond just this year,” Taylor said. “I definitely want to build on this past summer.”

Despite her success on the international stage, Taylor prefers to focus on the short term and her impending return to competition, as a plethora of injuries has kept her out of competition
this season.  

“The [2016] Olympics remains one of my biggest goals, but I am taking it one day at a time and not looking too far ahead,” Taylor said.    

Fellow divers, junior Emma Ivory-Ganja and freshman Murphy Bromberg have made some waves of their own with combined first place finishes on the 3-meter event four out of their five meets this fall. Ivory-Ganja is a transfer this year from UCLA, despite being initially recruited out of the Woodlands High School by Texas head coach Matt Scoggin. Bromberg won the 10-meter platform event at this summer’s national championships after placing seventh at the world championships in the platform synchronized event.   

“We have a really strong team this year, probably one of the strongest teams in the country with the combination of everybody’s individual talents on the different boards,” Taylor said.  

The UT Diving Invitational attracts notable big names Miami (Fla.), Arizona State, Hawaii and UC-Berkeley — the current team of 2012 Olympic champion Missy Franklin.

Scoggin is quite pleased with his team’s performance this fall season and entertains high hopes for the week’s competition.

“I expect that they physically are feeling a little bit better because of the lighter weights they are on this week,” Scoggin said. “I expect them to have multiple signs of positive progress. They have worked very hard this fall and I think in each of the events they will see their progress happening.”

Junior diver Ryan Anthony and his teammates are excited to get back in their home pool as they host the UT Diving Invitational which begins Thursday on the 40 acres.

Photo Credit: Sarah Montgomery | Daily Texan Staff

The dual meet season is over, and the championship season looms for Texas swimming. For the divers, the road to nationals begins Thursday at the UT Diving Invitational. The men’s diving team is looking forward to the opportunity to perform in front of a home crowd for the first time in over a month. This meet will mark the Longhorns’ first taper meet, in which they scale down — or taper — their weight training. 

“What we do in the pool tends to stay fairly consistent,” junior diver Ryan Anthony said. “It’s what we do beyond the pool that we change. That involves weights and other activities that would strengthen our bodies. We’re backing off of that so our energy levels go up, and we can show how hard we’ve been working on the main stage.”

Anthony, who earned a spot on the Big 12 Commissioner’s honor roll in 2012, sees this meet as an opportunity to build momentum heading into the qualifying season. 

“I just want to follow my progression [and] use this meet as a springboard to where I want to be in the future,” Anthony said. 

Anthony and his teammates can take comfort in knowing when they do take center stage this week, they will be looking into a sea of burnt orange. The Longhorns hope to claim their fourth invitational title in five years. 

“Being at home is very beneficial,” diving coach Matt Scoggin said. “It gives them a chance to get used to diving in front of their home crowd, full of their friends and families like they will be at nationals. They’ll get a chance to step up and hear their name announced, hear it get quiet and then have to dive well.”

A strong freshmen class should perform well at the invitational.

“Even if you have a strong upper-class [team], which we do, we’re fortunate to have young divers that can come in and hold everyone accountable,” Scoggin said. “They compete with the upperclassmen, and it raises everyone’s level.”

The Diving Invitational begins Thursday and concludes Saturday. The end of the dual meet season and the change in training mean the NCAA championships are just around the corner. 

“They’ll still be in the weight room, but not as much,” Scoggin said. “Because of the setup, usually your performance rises. It’s a good dress rehearsal for nationals because the guys will have prelims and then a final, which is different from a dual meet where you only have one shot.”

After a mishap at the 2011 NCAA Championships dislocated her right elbow, diver Maren Taylor opted to redshirt what would have been her third year, the 2011-12 season, to heal. Now, she has recovered, is back on the board and headed to Spain to compete in the FINA World Championships.

Taylor earned a spot in the individual three-meter diving event at the Championships beginning July 19 in Barcelona, Spain. She will be the only American woman to compete in the event and is the first Texas diver to represent the U.S. in international competition since Laura Wilkinson in 2008. Texas diving coach Matt Scoggin will join her as an assistant coach on the team.

To qualify, divers competed in the 2013 USA Diving World Trials and had to earn a minimum of 903 points with a combined degree of difficulty of 14.8 in the finals. Taylor finished with a 905.50 points and a 14.8 difficulty level on her five dives.

Scoggin said the meet was successful and proved what Taylor could do especially after her disappointing NCAA trip.

“What Maren did today was exactly what we thought she’d be able to do in the three-meter event at the NCAA Championships,” Scoggin said. “Her three-meter finish at NCAAs was disappointing, but she was able to shake it off. That’s a big key to her success. She moved on, prepared for this meet and knew she could do this today."

During the season, Taylor brought her Big 12 title total to three and was selected as the Big 12 Diver of the Year. She earned All-America honors in the one-meter and platform events this year at the 2013 NCAA Championships, giving her All-American awards for each year she has competed.

The Longhorns have been a dominating force at the Big 12 Championships, winning every year since the conference formed in 1996, giving the Longhorns a total of 16 titles.

In terms of victories, this year is expected to be no different than the last 16. Senior Michael McBroom earned a mention on the Faces in the Crowd page in last week’s issue of Sports Illustrated for his record-breaking 1000-yard freestyle swim. Texas also has 11 swimmers ranked within the top 25 for 11 events, and on the diving side of things redshirt sophomore Will Chandler and sophomore Myles Herzog are expected to score high and carry the team.

The talented athletes of the Longhorn squad don’t appear to be the sole factor in earning the title every year. The leading determinant appears to be the award-winning leadership of head swimming coach Eddie Reese and head diving coach Matt Scoggin.

Eddie Reese has been the Texas swimming head coach for 35 years. He has been selected as Swimming Coach of the Meet 11 times out of the 16 Big 12 Championship meets, chosen as ASCA Coach of the Year three times and selected eight times as the NCAA Coach of the Year.

Matt Scoggin is in his 19th season as the Longhorns’ head diving coach. He has been selected as a NCAA Coach of the Year six times and is a 12-time Big 12 Conference Diving Coach of the Year.

With the combination of first-rate athletes and esteemed coaching, No. 1 ranked Texas, the 10-time NCAA champion, is likely to secure a 17th title. The Longhorns host the championship at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. The meet begins Wednesday morning and ends Saturday evening.

Published on February 27, 2013 as "Sixteen Big 12 titles in, Horns hope for more". 

As head coach of the UT diving team, Matt Scoggin, former UT and Olympian diver, inspired students with several life lessons he learned during his athletic career Wednesday evening.  

Every week, the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence invites UT students, faculty and the public to attend the ACE Distinguished Series, an academic success program that hosts a diverse group of speakers and topics. 

Scoggin began diving at the age of 14. After coming in second-to-last place in his first competition, he said diving became his obsession. Immediately after the competition, he began cutting out pictures of champion divers and posting them around his room as a constant reminder to work hard.

Throughout the lecture, Scoggin focused on the psychological aspect of diving by applying it to everyday life. 

“I couldn’t think of the consequences of the competition and so, like a light switch, I got my mind right at a crucial moment,” Scoggin said. “I had that chip on my shoulder that allowed me to relax and perform well.”

Scoggin advised the audience to find that right mind-frame by reflecting on past successes and failures.

“Everyone’s different,” Scoggin said. “It’s one of life’s journeys to find out what makes you tick, so when it’s your moment, you have peace of mind which will allow you to perform like you’ve been training.”

Scoggin competed for Texas from 1981-1985 and went on to compete in the Barcelona Olympics. Prior to being selected coach for the 2012 USA Olympic Team, he won the USA Diving’s Coach of Excellence Award at the USA Diving National Championships in 2010. 

Paul Nguyen, undeclared freshman and gateway scholar, said he was interested in Scoggin’s lessons from the beginning.

“I like how he related his diving experiences to school. It kept me engaged.”

Executive director of the Gateway Scholars Program, Aileen Bumphus, said his life lessons apply directly to college students. 

“I like how he advised the students to find that one thing that makes you tick,” Bumphus said. “College is about getting your mind ready, especially during times of adversity.”

 Scoggin ended his lecture by reminding the audience the importance of perseverance.

“If there’s something you really want, cut some pictures out of magazines and when things are looking bad, don’t give up,” Scoggin said. “Some great things are going to happen.” 

Freshman Connor Lammert attempts a shot in Texas’ 73-47 loss over the weekend. Lammert will carry an increased role into game with TCU, averaging 11.5 points per game in his last two. 

Photo Credit: John Smith | Daily Texan Staff

After his dominating performances against TCU and Arizona, redshirt sophomore Will Chandler gained recognition from the Big 12 as the Men’s Diver of the Week last Wednesday. Despite it being the third time Chandler has received the award, this time holds a special significance: it was his first Big 12 Men’s Diver of the Week honor since coming back from Crohn’s disease. 

Chandler was diagnosed with Crohn’s, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract, at age 12. However, it wasn’t until his sophomore year in college, in the middle of his development as a serious diver, that the disease became severe enough to require surgery.

“I had six feet of my large intestine removed,” Chandler recalled. “I lost like 20 pounds in the hospital, and that’s really important, because if you’re a little twig on the diving board, the board isn’t going to go anywhere when you jump on it.”

But diving coach Matt Scoggin wasn’t concerned with Chandler’s weight loss affecting his diving abilities. He was solely concerned with how it would affect his health. 

“Sports took a back seat,” Scoggin said. “I was only concerned with Will progressing to complete health and managing the disease.”

Chandler’s diving may have been pushed to the back burner, but the diving team stepped up to support Chandler during his 24-day stay at the hospital. 

“I saw a teammate in the hospital every day I was there,” Chandler said. “Matt came to the hospital three to five times. He brought me diving videos to watch so I could still stay in the mindset. That was really my strength.”

The struggle didn’t end when Chandler was released from the hospital. He had been out of the pool for about four months and lost a significant amount of muscle. 

“It definitely plays a role in the back of your mind,” Chandler said. “When I do come back, am I going to be able to be as good or as strong as I was before?” 

However, there is one haunting factor standing between Chandler and a successful career: the potential that Crohn’s disease will return. 

Crohn’s is characterized by spontaneous flare-ups that could knock Chandler back to the beginning stages of the recovery process. Chandler acknowledges this possibility, but is hopeful the surgery, his medicine and diet will be enough to keep him healthy. 

“There is definitely a chance it can come back,” Chandler said. “But before, I was really stubborn about it. Whenever I felt sick, I didn’t tell anybody, and that’s what made me so sick. Now I talk to my doctor every five days to make sure that’s not happening again.”

Further stalling Chandler’s progress was his still-recovering body. He couldn’t dive back into his normal workout and practice routines. He had to be reintroduced slowly. 

“When I came back to practice, I didn’t even get in the water for another month,” Chandler said.

Scoggin did his best to accommodate Chandler’s condition while still advancing his skills. 

“Coming back and working with Will, I had to adjust my coaching by listening to his doctor and trainer,” Scoggin said. “Speed was important. We couldn’t throw him back into workouts too quickly. I mean, he was coming back from major surgery.”

Chandler, who redshirted last year, has made substantial improvement in his return to diving. Receiving the Big 12 Men’s Diver of the Week award only further displayed his progress.

“It’s definitely a very slow progression, but my legs are as big as they’ve ever been,” Chandler said. 

Scoggin recognizes Chandler’s abilities and has faith he can achieve NCAA recognition.

“One of the great things about Will is he’s always optimistic. He has such high goals and aspirations for himself,” Scoggin said. “He wants to be a great diver, and he has unlimited diving potential.”

Despite overcoming substantial struggles to earn the Big 12 award, Chandler still wants more. 

“Its good for confidence,” he said. “But I want to be honored on the NCAA level.”

The UT men’s diving team will head to Houston on Thursday for the Phill Hansel Invitational. Events for this meet will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Thursday events will include men’s 1-meter prelims and finals. Three-meter prelims and finals will be held Friday, and both men’s and women’s platform diving will take place Saturday.

Texas returns redshirt sophomore Will Chandler, who is the current Big 12 Men’s Diver of the Week. Freshman Sean O’Brien, also traveling with the team, had that same honor in October.

“It will be great for the team to get used to the University of Houston pool where we’ll have the NCAA Zone Diving Meet in March,” UT diving coach Matt Scoggin said. “Being able to dive at the facility at the NCAA Zone meet is one of the main reasons we’re going there, since we’re not hosting the UT Invite this year.”

Scoggin also said the meet would be an opportunity to preview the competition.

“A number of the schools competing in that Zone meet will be in Houston this weekend, so this will be a really good competition,” Scoggin said.

Men's Swimming and Diving

Senior diver Drew Livingston was named Big 12 Diver of the Year over the weekend. Texas also swept the other four Big 12 awards gi

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

In a year that saw the Texas Men’s Swimming and Diving team earn many individual and team awards, it’s only fitting that the second ranked squad in the country claim a few more accolades at the season’s end. Texas won the Big 12 title in February and finished second at the National Championships last month.

Over the weekend, the Horns racked up a few more awards to add to a trophy case already bursting at the seams, as Texas claimed all five yearly Big 12 awards.

Head Coach Eddie Reese was named Coach of the Year, Matt Scoggin claimed Diving Coach of the Year honors, Jimmy Feigen was dubbed Swimmer of the Year, Drew Livingston was tabbed as Diver of the Year and Kip Darmody was crowned Newcomer of the Year. This is the fourth time since 2003 that Texas has claimed all five yearly awards.

Reese adds this year’s title to an already sterling resume, bringing in his seventh straight Coach of the Year honor and 10th overall during his tenure on the 40 Acres. Reese guided the Horns to their 16th consecutive Big 12 Title en route to a fifth consecutive first or second finish at the National Championships.

Matt Scoggin claimed his sixth Diving Coach of the year award in a season that saw senior divers Matt Cooper and Drew Livingston earn All-American honors and between them claim one National title, four top-four and six top-ten finishes at the NCAA Championships.

Senior Jimmy Feigen capped off what has been a prolific career at UT with his fourth consecutive Swimmer of the Year honor. The 24-time All-American earned national championships in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle and the 400-meter freestyle relay at this year’s NCAA Championships. Feigen’s is the first swimmer in conference history to win Big 12 Swimmer of the Year four straight years.

Drew Livingston’s Diver of the Year Honor is the third of the senior’s career. Livingston won the National Championship in the 1-meter while earning three more All-American honors, enough to be named NCAA Diver of the Meet.

Freshman Kip Darmody is an emerging force for this Texas squad. He was a member of the National Champion 800-yard relay squad and earned All-American honors in the 100 backstroke. Darmody’s Newcomer of the Year honor extends an impressive streak for the Horns, as Texas has had a swimmer earn the title every year since 2003.

Printed on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 as: National runners-up sweep Big 12 awards

It’s called the “Cullinan.” It’s a difficult feat involving a half twist/turn move on the uneven bars, and only a handful of gymnasts can do it. One such person is Shelby Cullinan, a redshirt sophomore diver who the move is named after.

In two years at Texas, Cullinan has proven to be an unstoppable force. Both her experience as a gymnast and her vivacious personality have propelled her in a sport that is relatively new to her. Cullinan spent much of her life in the gym perfecting routines on the uneven bars en route to becoming a nationally competitive gymnast. It was not until her sophomore year of high school after a torn ACL along with the encouragement of her aunt that she decided to try diving — just for fun.

After reinjuring her knee, Cullinan quit gymnastics and switched to diving full time, where she quickly became the top high school diver in her home state of Arizona. While her transition from an exceptional gymnast to an equally talented diver was sensational, it came as a result of hard work and a persistent attitude.

For Cullinan, the transition between the two sports was easier than most would expect.

“You’re still flipping and you need air awareness [in diving],” she explained, “but it was really hard landing on my head, learning to spot the water to know when to come out, and also trying to find the rhythm of the board because gymnastics is all power but with the board you have to be patient.”

Diving is also easier on the body than gymnastics. Cullinan recalls feeling pain after a gymnastics competition. With diving she is now able to walk and do other types of physical activity after a meet.

Despite the differences, Cullinan made the transition seamlessly. Diving head coach Matt Scoggin has taken notice of how her gymnastics background has contributed to her success.
“As a diver, she is very gifted because she twists really well from gymnastics,” he said. “She has good visual references like most gymnasts do. [She] knows where [she] is in the air and that has really translated into [being] a consistent diver.”

Her physical skills have been helped along by her “Type A” personality. At competitions she is often found chatting with divers from other teams, as she prefers to have fun while diving. Her methodology, while out of the ordinary, has proven successful.

“When I first came here I was really nervous competing and I thought that I needed to be really serious and focused, but every meet I was getting last, I was doing horribly,” Cullinan recalls. “I need[ed] to figure out what works for me ... I can’t focus on the dives in competition ... I have to talk, listen to my music, just get my mind away from it and have fun.”

Cullinan’s transition to diving has not been totally seamless. There was one significant hurdle she had to overcome as a diver — she is afraid of heights. With the encouragement of her coaches and consistent practice she has able to begin to conquer that fear. She admits that her best event is probably the highest dive, off the 10-meter platform.

Her fear of heights is a “work in progress,” Scoggin said. But he added that some of the best divers in history have been afraid of heights.

If Cullinan can continue to stave off her fear of heights and continue to get stronger, there is nothing stopping her.