Winter National Championships

Texas represented well against high-profile Olympians at the AT&T Winter National Championships at the Texas Swim Center this weekend.

Hosting the event, the Longhorns claimed the Men's meet title with 428 points.

On Friday Texas took three top five finishes throughout the day.

Clay Younquist and Dax Hill took fifth and sixth respectively where they competed against Olympians Ryan Lochte and Ricky Berens, a Texas-Ex. Berens actually won the event while Lochte came in second.

On Saturday  Senior Michael McBroom took his second title of the Tournament in the 1,650 Freestyle event.

UT head coach Eddie Reese commented on the mental state of McBroom in this tournament and in general.

"He's really tough, mentally. He's one of the best fighters out there. He's going to swim really well this year."

With championships abroad looming in the future, Reese commented that McBroom's performance was a good sign.

"Michael is getting ready to go to the FINA Short Course World Championships in Turkey, and he needs to be pretty good. He was tonight" Reese said.

Despite a slow start, the Texas women's team also came through this weekend against the tough competition.

"We had a great meet as a team," UT women's head coach Carol Capitani said.  The first day was a little flat, but after that, we really stepped it up. I'm really proud of them. And the crowd here was terrific."

Throughout the tournament Texas Women's team represented with a stellar performance by Laura Sogar, who demolished two of her school records in the 100 and 200 Breaststroke events.

Kaitlin Pawlowcz and Kelsy LeNeave took sixth and seventh respectively in the 1,650 freestyle, while Sarah Denninghoff earned a win in the 200 backstroke consolation final.
The Horns finished up Saturday night by taking second in the 200 freestyle relay.

"It was a great team effort," Capitani said. "Almost everyone had at least one best time. We had some great performances class-by-class."

Texas represented well against high-profile Olympians at the AT&T Winter National Championships at the Texas Swim Center this weekend.

Hosting the event, the Longhorns claimed the Men's meet title with 428 points.

On Friday Texas took three top five finishes throughout the day.

Clay Younquist and Dax Hill took fifth and sixth respectively where they competed against Olympians Ryan Lochte and Ricky Berens, a Texas-Ex. Berens actually won the event while Lochte came in second.

On Saturday  Senior Michael McBroom took his second title of the Tournament in the 1,650 Freestyle event.

UT head coach Eddie Reese commented on the mental state of McBroom in this tournament and in general.

"He's really tough, mentally. He's one of the best fighters out there. He's going to swim really well this year."

With championships abroad looming in the future, Reese commented that McBroom's performance was a good sign.

"Michael is getting ready to go to the FINA Short Course World Championships in Turkey, and he needs to be pretty good. He was tonight" Reese said.

Despite a slow start, the Texas women's team also came through this weekend against the tough competition.

"We had a great meet as a team," UT women's head coach Carol Capitani said.  The first day was a little flat, but after that, we really stepped it up. I'm really proud of them. And the crowd here was terrific."

Throughout the tournament Texas Women's team represented with a stellar performance by Laura Sogar, who demolished two of her school records in the 100 and 200 Breaststroke events.

Kaitlin Pawlowcz and Kelsy LeNeave took sixth and seventh respectively in the 1,650 freestyle, while Sarah Denninghoff earned a win in the 200 backstroke consolation final.
The Horns finished up Saturday night by taking second in the 200 freestyle relay.

"It was a great team effort," Capitani said. "Almost everyone had at least one best time. We had some great performances class-by-class."

Competition began at the AT&T Winter National Championship. Lochte stole the show with his performance.
Photo Credit: Ben Chesnut | Daily Texan Staff

Olympic stars lived up to the hype yesterday at day one of the AT&T Winter National Championships as they cleaned up, with a few exceptions, the rest of the field.

But it was Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte who stole the show. Whenever he was on the deck, one had a hard time distinguishing the difference between the swimming national championship and a Justin Bieber concert.

He looked to the crowd; hundreds of girls screamed. He waved; hundreds of girls screamed louder. And then to top it all off, after he won the 200 individual medley, his only event of the evening, Lochte tossed his gold medal into the middle of the screaming girls.

“It was awesome and fun,” freshman Jackie Aguillen, who caught Lochte’s medal, said. “[My friends and I] came out just to see him.”

Gold medalists Katie Ledecky (500 free), Jessica Hardy (50 free) and Matt Grevers (50 free) also won their respective events. London Olympics sweetheart Missy Franklin finished third in the 200 medley.

As for Texas swimmers, none had a better day than senior Michael McBroom, who came from behind in the 500 freestyle to win by less than half a second, drawing the loudest non-Lochte yells of the day.

“I knew I didn’t have as much speed going out as the other [competitors],” McBroom said. “I just wanted to stick with them and race the last 100 and 50 [yards] tough and come away with the pass. There were a lot of Texas fans and they let out a pretty good roar when I was up there which was cool because that doesn’t really happen at other meets.”

Four other Texas swimmers reached the finals on day one of competition: Kaitlin Pawlowicz (eighth, 500 freestyle), sophomore Kelsey LeNeave (fifth, 500 freestyle), senior Austin Surhoff (third, 200 medley), junior Ellen Lobb (seventh, 50 freestyle).

The championships resume Friday and Saturday with prelims starting at 9 a.m. and finals at 5 p.m.

If you have never been to a high-profile swimming competition, today is your day as past medalists and Olympic hopefuls pack the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center for the 2012 USA AT&T Winter National Championships.

That means many London Olympics stars such as Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, Nathan Adrian, Matt Grevers and Katie Ledecky will be competing alongside the best high school, NCAA and professional swimmers. Former Longhorns Ricky Berens, Jimmy Feigen and Garrett Weber-Gale, who are also Olympic medalists, will join them at the meet.

The midseason national championships, the biggest meet since the London Olympics, starts Thursday and runs through Saturday. Preliminaries each day start at 9 a.m. and the finals begin at 5 p.m. An all-session pass for the weekend’s events can be purchased at the door or online at the Longhorn Aquatics store. Texas students can purchase tickets at a reduced price.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to have nationals at our pool,” Carol Capitani, women’s swimming head coach, said. “It’s a great chance to really showcase our facility.”

The events Thursday include the 200 freestyle relay, 500 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 50 freestyle and 400 medley relay. Lochte, Franklin, Ledecky and many others will race Thursday.

Senior Dax Hill said he was excited to share the pool with Olympic medalists.

“No doubt, it’s a high atmosphere swim meet,” Hill said. “What you ultimately want is to get next to one of these guys in a race.”

Hill is one of a few Texas swimmers to keep an eye on this weekend. On the men’s side, Clay Youngquist, Michael McBroom, Kip Darmody and Hill have all won NCAA championships. Youngquist is ranked No. 1 in the NCAA for the 200 freestyle and No. 7 for the 500 freestyle, both of which will take place Thursday. On the women’s side, freshman Kaitlin Pawlowicz and all-American senior Laura Sogar — ranked in the Top 10 for the 100 and 200 breaststroke ­— have both been off to hot starts.

The championships can be watched by webcast at usaswimming.org or Sunday at 1 p.m. on NBC.

Printed on Thursday, November 29, 2012 as: Championship draws Olympians into Austin