The Texas men’s swimming and diving team opens up its season Thursday against North Carolina. The Longhorns return to the pool after a relatively successful 2012-13 season where they captured the Big 12 conference title and placed fifth at the NCAA Championships.
The Longhorn’s fifth place finish gave head coach Eddie Reese his 33rd championship finish at Texas. Entering his 36th season, Reese has guided the Longhorns to top-three finishes in 27 of 35 NCAA championship meets.
Assistant coach Kris Kubik returns for his 31st season and diving coach Matt Scoggin, a former Longhorn diver, returns for his 19th season on Reese’s coaching staff. In addition to their team success, the Longhorns individually accounted for five All-America finishes and registered an additional All-America relay showing last season.
Despite their success, the Longhorns are primed to surpass last year’s achievements. To do this, they must rely on consistent performances from veterans such as junior swimmer Clay Youngquist.
Youngquist, a four time All-American, claimed two NCAA Championships in the 400 freestyle relay and the 800 freestyle relay during his freshman campaign.
“Our goal is definitely to win an NCAA Championship,” Youngquist said. “It’s always a special thing to do, but this year, with it being in our home pool, it would be special for us and the University of Texas.”
To secure the team’s 11th NCAA team title, its first since 2010, it will require an effort from a talented freshmen class, headlined by swimmer Jack Conger and diver Michael Hixon, both of whom secured wins for their respective teams during the Orange-White scrimmage earlier this month. Youngquist and the other team leaders have preached the importance of technique in practice in preparation for Thursday’s meet.
“I understand what it takes to get them to that level and win a championship,” Youngquist said. “My mom was my coach growing up so I understand how to be a leader in and out of the pool.”
Youngquist believes the biggest obstacle the freshmen will have to overcome in their first meet will be nerves.
The Longhorn coaches are not expecting blazing swim times during the opening matchup but understand the hard work the team is putting in will keep the team fresh moving forward.