Weekend previews: Tennis, track and field, swimming and diving

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Men's swimming

Last weekend, sophomore Jack Conger dove into the national spotlight as he set a school record in the 200-yard butterfly. 

Conger’s time of 1:40.34 put him ahead of the previous record holder, freshman teammate Joseph Schooling, and simultaneously earned him the title of NCAA’s fourth best performer ever in the event. 

Conger kept his reaction simple.

“It was really nice,” he said.

Head coach Eddie Reese was more visibly excited.

“It was totally surprising to all of us,” Reese said. “He got out there real strong, and his last three 50’s were 25.9, 25.9, 26 flat.  You just don’t see that in butterfly.”

Conger, usually a backstroke specialist, appreciated being recognized for accomplishments in another field.

“The last few days leading up to the meet, we were really narrowed in on one or two events to focus on, and the 200 fly was that for me,” he said. “It’s not necessarily an off event, but it’s something besides backstroke, which is nice to do to get my mind off of something I enjoy and love doing so much.”

Conger will try to continue his success this weekend as the No. 1 ranked Longhorns face off against TCU at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in their Senior Day contest. 

The last time these two schools faced off was in 2013, when the Longhorns had a decisive 133-88 win in Fort Worth.

Men's tennis

Following their hard fought 4-2 victory against the SMU Mustangs on Saturday, the undefeated Texas men’s tennis team will face two ranked opponents this weekend.

Friday, the No. 62 Washington Huskies are coming to Austin, and Sunday, the Longhorns will face off against the No. 75 Rice Owls at the Weller Indoor Tennis Center. 

The Huskies, the tougher of the two matchups, are currently undefeated with three consecutive shutout victories. Meanwhile, the Owls are recovering from three straight losses, two of which came against unranked opponents Old Dominion and Mississippi State. 

The Longhorns come into the weekend on the back of very strong singles play, especially from senior All-Americans Søren Hess-Olesen and Lloyd Glasspool. Texas boasts one of the most experienced rosters in the Big 12, with five seniors and seven upperclassmen in all.

However, the Longhorns’ toughest test this season will come in Chicago at the ITA National Indoor Championship next weekend. If Texas can win both matches to sweep the weekend, it looks to continue its strong momentum heading into the ITA contest on Feb. 13.

Track and field

Coming off the heels of a strong weekend, Texas’ track and field will split up once again this weekend.

The Longhorns’ distance runners will travel to South Bend, Indiana, for the Meyo Invitational at Notre Dame. The meet, known for attracting some of the top talent in the country, will provide a mid-season test for Texas.

Meanwhile, the rest of Texas’ team will head out west to the New Mexico Collegiate Classic in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

In the sprints, junior and Bowerman hopeful Courtney Okolo will be running her first 400 meters of the year, looking to gear up for the outdoor season.

This weekend also provides junior Kaitlin Petrillose, who joins Okolo on the Bowerman preseason watch list, another stepping stone on her quest to once again gain recognition as the NCAA Indoor Pole Vault champion. The Albuquerque Convention Center, home to the New Mexico Collegiate Classic, has provided four of the top-20 marks for pole vault this season, giving Petrillose an opportunity at setting her season-high mark.

Junior Ryan Crouser, No. 1 shot-putter in the world, also looks to continue his success this weekend coming off a world-leading mark of 20.95 meters (68–9.00) at the UW Invitational. 

Texas currently ranks No. 11 in the country on the men’s side and No. 7 on the women’s.

Women's swimming and diving

No. 6 ranked Texas women’s swimming and diving team will host TCU Friday in its final meet until the Big 12 Championships at the end of the month.

All-American sophomore swimmer Madisyn Cox will look to continue her stellar 2015, coming off a three-win outing in a dual-meet against Arizona and SMU last week. Cox’s accomplishments were enough to claim honors as the Big 12 Conference’s Swimmer of the Week, her first such recognition as a Longhorn.

Senior swimmer Gretchen Jaques expects to continue her success as the nation’s No. 2 swimmer in the 100-yard breaststroke.

In the diving events, platform diving duo senior Emma Ivory-Ganja and sophomore Murphy Bromberg hope to build on their performance from the dual meet last week, where they placed first and second, respectively.

Today’s home meet will serve as Senior Day for Texas, and the Longhorns will honor eight graduating seniors. 

The meet begins at 4 p.m. at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center.