Ricky Berens

The first two days of the Phillips 66 National Championships and World Trials in Indianapolis have been fruitful for both current and former Longhorns alike. The ultimate goal of the World Trials is to qualify for the 2013 FINA World Championships, which are to be held in Barcelona, Spain from July 19 to August 4.

Former Longhorns Jimmy Feigen (2009-12) and Michael McBroom (2011-13) both earned a trip to Barcelona with a pair of runner-up finishes on the first day. Ricky Berens also has eyes turned towards the Worlds. He’s turned in two top-five finishes in as many days.

Feigen, a San Antonio native, finished second in the 100 meter freestyle to the gold medalist in the event at the London Olympics, Nathan Adrian. The field features seven Olympians. Feigen finished in 48.24 seconds, pushing him to eighth in the world, beating his lifetime best of 48.46 from the tech-suited 2009 US National Championships. He had the fasted closing 50, a 25.12 time to push past Anthony Ervin for second place. Feigen became an Olympian in 2012, winning the silver medal as part of the 4x100 meter freestyle relay. He participated in the 2012 FINA Short Course World Championships last fall in Istanbul, Turkey and also won NCAA titles in the 50 and 100 yard freestyle categories in his final year at Texas.

“Winning a gold medal [at the Olympics] is the pinnacle of swimming achievement, but right behind that is winning a gold medal at the World Championships,” Feigen said about preparing for Barcelona.

McBroom clinched his trip to Worlds with a second place finish in the 1500 meter freestyle, posting a time of 14:59.12, with London Olympian Connor Jaeger taking first. It was McBroom’s first time to finish under the 15-minute mark and he now ranks seventh in the world this year. McBroom competed with Feigen at the 2012 Short Course Worlds in Istanbul, where he placed 10th in the 1500 meter freestyle. He added more accolades to his resume in March at the 2013 NCAA Championships with two second place finishes in the 500 and 1650 yard freestyle events.

Two-time Olympian and former Longhorn Berens finished fifth in the 100 meter freestyle on the first day, behind Feigen with a time of 48.68. His second fifth place finish came on the second day, in the 200-meter freestyle. Former Longhorn Michael Klueh took seventh in that same final.

Though Berens’ eligibility to compete at the World Championships next month remains unconfirmed, the two finishes he’s posted may still earn him a spot on Team USA’s freestyle relay roster; finishing fifth in both the 200-meter and 100-meter events improves his chances. Junior Clay Youngquist won the 200-meter freestyle consolation final and former Longhorns Austin Surhoff and Dax Hill finished fourth and sixth respectively.

Texas signee and Maryland native Jack Conger also had a top-five finish in the 200-meter backstroke championship final with a time of 1:56.82. The national high school record holder in the 500-yard backstroke, Conger was a finalist in the 100-meter and 200-meter events at the 2012 Olympic trials.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

The University of Texas boasts a strong swimming program that has brought home numerous national titles over the last couple of decades. The Longhorns have also sent quite a few swimmers to represent the United States in Olympic competition.

During the past two weeks at the London Olympics, former Longhorns Brendan Hansen and Ricky Berens finished at the top of the podium, each bringing home a gold medal to Texas.

Berens medaled in the 4x200 meter freestyle relay, his second gold medal in this event. He joined the Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Conor Dwyer relay. The relay team finished in 6:59.70, a second slower than the world record they set in Italy in 2009. The gold marks the second medal in London for Berens who claimed silver in the men’s 4x100 meter freestyle relay that occurred earlier in the games. Berens now has three career medals in the Olympics after winning gold in the 4x200 meter freestyle relay in 2008.

Hansen also claimed a relay gold on the last day of the swimming competitions in London. He swam the breaststroke leg of the men’s 4x100 meter medley relay along with Phelps, Matt Grevers and Nathan Adrian. This marks the third gold that Hansen has earned in the 4x100 meter medley relay. Hansen was part of the 2004 and 2008 relay teams that took gold at the previous Olympics. He also took bronze in the 100-meter breaststroke. Hansen now owns six total Olympic medals with three gold, one silver and two bronze medals to his name.

Recent graduate Jimmy Feigen took silver, along with Berens, in the men’s 4x100 meter freestyle relay.

Former Longhorn Troy Dumais, a four-time Olympian, took bronze in the men’s 3-meter synchronized springboard event, his first Olympic medal.

With the United States Olympic swimming team trials coming to a close earlier this week, a few more Longhorns have earned the right to represent the United States in London this summer.

Former Longhorn swimmer Ricky Berens will compete in the 200-meter freestyle event in London, his only individual event at the 2012 Olympic Games, in addition to the 400-meter and 800-meter freestyle relays. Berens had qualified during trials for the relays, but a third place finish in the 200-meter freestyle behind Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte initialy kept him out of any individual events.

However, Phelps decided to scratch the 200-meter event from his busy Olympic schedule Monday, saying he wanted to focus his energies on keeping fresh for other events, and opened the door for Berens.

Texas head coach Eddie Reese will join Berens, former Longhorn Brendan Hansen and senior Jimmy Feigen in London as an assistant coach for the United States Olympic men’s team. Reese has coached in six previous Olympic Games, three times as the assistant coach. In the 1992 Barcelona Games, the 2004 Athens Games and the 2008 Beijing Games, Reese was named the head coach for the Games.

Brendan Hansen kneels as he celebrates his win in the men's 100-meter breaststroke final at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials.

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

Although the 2012 United States Olympic Trials are still in full swing, many Longhorns have already qualified to make the trip to London in three different sports.

In diving, former Longhorn Troy Dumais qualified for his fourth Olympic Games last week in Federal Way, Washington in two events. Dumais and his partner Kristian Ipsen from Stanford took first in the men’s 3-meter synchronized springboard event to qualify. On the last day of the diving trials, Dumais finished second in the individual 3-meter springboard to earn his spot on Team USA.

In Eugene, Ore. at the track and field trials, Sanya Richards-Ross has qualified for her third Olympic Games in two events, the 200- and 400-meter races. This is the first time in her career that she has qualified for two different events. Richards-Ross won gold in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008 for her part in the 4x400 meter relay. She also took home bronze in Beijing in the 400-meter individual event.

Richards-Ross will be joined in London by Trey Hardee in the decathlon and Michelle Carter in shot put. This will be Hardee’s second trip to the Olympics after finishing fourth in the decathlon in 2008. Carter has also qualified for her second career Olympics. She finished fifteenth in Beijing in shot put.

Marquise Goodwin, a starter on the Longhorns’ football team, finished first place in the men’s long jump event with a jump of 8.33 meters, a personal best to qualify for the Olympic team.

Several Longhorns have already qualified for Team USA in the pool, with several more attempting to make the team by the time trials end on July 2.

Former Longhorn Ricky Berens qualified for his second Olympics in the 400- and 800-meter freestyle relays. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Berens won gold in the 800-meter freestyle relay along with Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Peter Vanderkaay. Berens swam the third leg for the record-setting team. Berens came in third in his final heat on the 200-meter freestyle, missing the qualifying mark by just 0.81 seconds.

Brendan Hansen qualified for the 100-meter breaststroke with a second-place finish ahead of Longhorn Aquatics teammate Eric Shanteau, who also qualified for the Olympics. This will be Hansen’s second trip to the Summer Games. Hansen has four medals to his name, including a gold for his participation on the 800-meter freestyle relay with Berens.

Kathleen Hersey, who competed for the Longhorns for two years before turning professional with Longhorn Aquatics, placed second in the 200-meter butterfly to qualify for her second Olympic Games. Hersey narrowly missed qualifying in the 100-meter butterfly event by finishing in third place.

Jimmy Feigen is the new Olympian on the swim team for the Longhorns. Feigen qualified for the relay team with a fourth-place finish in the 100-meter freestyle event and will be attempting to qualify for 50-meter race as well.

Jimmy Feigen is the one to watch in Omaha this week. As one of the fastest freestyle sprinters in the world, Feigen is a favorite to earn a trip to London during this week’s U.S. Olympic trials.

This past season Feigen established himself as a premier swimmer after coming home from the 2012 NCAA Championships with two individual championships and a first place relay finish. After three years of finishing in the top five, Feigen finally finished first in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 19.01 seconds and first in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 41.95 seconds.

With two individual crowns on his resume, Feigen is aiming for something a little bit bigger ­— a spot in London to compete against the best from around the world and a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream.

“Jimmy is probably one of the most talented swimmers in USA swimming right now. He has a great stroke and great talent,” said Ricky Berens, former Longhorn teammate. “He hates to lose. He’s very focused and internally motivated. He’s a huge asset for UT and hopefully will be at the Olympics for Team USA.”

Feigen’s solid senior season will be a huge advantage as he competes in Omaha. As a freshman in 2008, Feigen took a shot at a trip to Beijing, but was not able to make it out of prelims in his two events. He finished 28th in the 50-yard and 40th in the 100-yard freestyle events that year.

“I knew that 2008 wasn’t going to be my year, but I’ve been looking forward to 2012 my whole life,” Feigen said.

Feigen will compete for a chance to represent the United States in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle events in addition to a possible relay spot. The Olympic races are considered long course races, which are done in meters, as opposed to the short course races, done in yards, seen at the NCAA Championships.

This won’t be the first time that Feigen has competed for the United States. He finished second in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle events at the 2011 ConocoPhillips National Championships. At the 2011 World University Games in China, Feigen took home golds in the 100-yard freestyle and the 400-yard freestyle relay. He currently holds a spot on the U.S. National Team.

“You can never turn down an opportunity to put on a USA cap and represent America,” Feigen said of competing for the United States. “It meant a lot to wear the USA cap. It was absolutely fantastic. It was a really humbling experience, to say the least, but also a totally fulfilling and wonderful experience.”

Feigen also holds the American record in the 200-yard and 400-yard freestyle relay and the 200-yard medley relay, and he’s a 17-time All-American.

At Texas, Feigen holds five school records in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle, 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays, and 200-yard medley relay. Feigen was on the 2010 Longhorn squad that were crowned NCAA Champions.

Feigen’s major competition in the pool this week includes former University of California Golden Bear Nathan Adrian. In addition to also having individual NCAA championships in both the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events, Adrian currently holds the U.S. record for both freestyle event lengths. He will be competing for his second trip to the Olympics and another medal to go with his 400-meter relay gold from Beijing.

But Feigen won’t let Adrian, or anyone else, get in the way.

Earlier this summer, Feigen beat one of the best swimmers in American history, Michael Phelps, at the Longhorn Aquatics Elite Invite. Feigen won the 100-meter freestyle event with a time of 48.63, a personal best, while Phelps clocked in at 49.05.

“I live for the pressure and will embrace it come trials,” Feigen said. “[I] will move the earth to accomplish my dreams.”

Texas sophomore Laura Sogar competes at the Austin Grand Prix, one of eight in the Grand Prix series. Swimming in familiar waters at UTÂ’s Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, Sogar finished fourth in the 100-meter breastroke final with a time o

Photo Credit: Danielle Villasana | Daily Texan Staff

The Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center at UT played host to the USA Swimming Austin Grand Prix Series this weekend, accommodating star swimmers like Michael Phelps and Janet Evans, as well as past and present Longhorns that fared well.

The first day of competition saw five former Longhorns qualify for Olympic trials. Ricky Berens led on the men’s side, taking second in the 100-yard freestyle, while David Walters and Garrett Weber-Gale also qualified for trials in the event. Susana Escobar and Adrienne Woods both bested the Olympic qualifying time in the 400-yard freestyle.

“I am very excited to be back because this feels like home after swimming here for four and a half years,” Berens said, “I have so many great memories at this place, the pool and the city, so being back and seeing all the burnt orange is
pretty incredible.”

The men continued their strong swimming on day two as Berens emerged victorious in the 200-yard freestyle, and Michael Klueh took third. David Walters performed big as well, placing fifth in the 200-yard freestyle and third in the 50-yard freestyle.

The successful trend continued on Saturday as both former and present Longhorns swam huge on the women’s side. Woods, a former Longhorn, placed eighth and fifth respectively in the 200-yard freestyle and the 200-yard backstroke. Current UT women’s captain Karlee Bispo placed 19th in the 200 freestyle but still qualified for Olympic trials. Freshman Kaitlin Pawlowicz finished 20th in 200 backstroke and qualified for the trials as well.

The ladies capped off an impressive grand prix performance with big performances from current UT swimmers. Laura Sogar placed fourth place in the 100-yard backstroke, easily qualifying for Olympic trials in the event. Bispo and Pawlowicz both qualified for Olympic trials in the 200-yard IM and 200-yard butterfly events, respectively.

“I was very happy to make the finals,” Sogar said, “People are really ready to go at this meet and there are some enormous names here, so it is great to be up there with them at this time of the season.

Klueh closed out the grand prix for the men, winning the mile swim.

Phelps, the eight-time gold medalist from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, had a successful weekend in what was one of his last events before retirement. He said he wants to call it quits after the 2012 London Olympics, and this weekend brought out the nostalgia.

“All of the memories are really hitting me,” Phelps said after winning the 200-meter individual medley. “It’s kind of weird closing everything down.”