Texas will host the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship for the first time since 2003 from Thursday to Saturday at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center.
Head coach Eddie Reese has led the Longhorns to 10 NCAA titles in his 36 years as head coach, and if Texas finishes in first place this weekend, Reese will be tied with former Ohio State coach Mike Peppe for the NCAA record of 11 titles.
The men’s No. 6 team has qualified four divers and shares the lead with California with 16 swimmers attending the championship.
Reese has trained his athletes rigorously since September to prepare for the most important meet of the season. This is the weekend their hard work will potentially pay off.
“To make this meet is a great statement,” Reese said. “A great commitment.”
Freshman diver Mark Anderson qualified at the NCAA Zone ‘D’ Diving Meet in Minneapolis earlier this month, finishing first with 840.6 points, despite having been out of platform diving for weeks because of an ear condition.
After undergoing a corrective operation, Anderson is now required to wear a polo cap when he competes, but that isn’t holding him back.
After qualifying for his first NCAA Championship, Anderson’s teammates shared a photo via Instagram of Reese and all the swimmers wearing identical caps.
Diving coach Matt Scoggin has been impressed with Anderson’s perseverance this season.
“He had a great ability to stay cool and calm and focus on what makes the dive work at a very crucial moment,” Scoggin said.
In its seven times hosting the NCAA Championship, Texas has won three of the titles. Junior diver Will Chandler considers home-pool advantage to help the team.
“We are very comfortable here,” Chandler said. “The guys are starting on their own blocks.”
Michigan took the 2013 NCAA Championship title, followed by California and Arizona, and Texas finished in fifth place. This year, 20 determined Longhorns are hoping to keep the title at home.
“You will see a bunch of kids that have got a great shot to make the Olympics in 2016,” Reese said.
The competition kicks off at 11 a.m. Thursday, with the preliminary rounds and finals to follow at 7 p.m.