Will Chandler

Sophomore Will Chandler dives at the Big 12 Championships earlier this year. He earned All-American honors for the first time in his career with a fifth-place finish in the platform event.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Despite earning five individual All-America finishes and recording one All-America relay at the NCAA Championships, Texas fell short of gaining the national title. Michigan captured the team title with 480 points, California was the runner-up, Arizona took third and USC placed fourth with 289 points, just one point ahead of Texas.

Although Texas didn’t achieve the ultimate victory of winning the team title, the meet was filled with small victories.

The Longhorns’ fifth-place standing was enough to give 35-year head coach Eddie Reese his 33rd top-five NCAA Championship finish at Texas.

Senior Michael McBroom finished second in the 1,650-yard freestyle in 14:32.75 to set a new school record. His second-place standing was the highest Longhorn placing at the meet. McBroom finished his career at Texas with the top-three 1,650-yard freestyle performances in school history.

“He swam a totally different stroke than he swam when he won the mile at the conference meet and when he broke the NCAA record in the 1,000 (freestyle),” Reese commented. “He was just trying to go too hard. You just can’t do that in this sport, it’ll catch up with you.”

Senior Dax Hill took fourth in the 100-yard freestyle in 42.40, marking his second national top-five finish in the event. Hill finished his Texas career as the fourth-fastest Longhorn in the event.

Despite qualifying for the 200-yard backstroke in sixth place, senior Austin Surhoff, the second-fastest Longhorn ever in the event, took eighth in the finals in 1:41.89.

Redshirt sophomore diver Will Chandler achieved his first All-America finish and placed fifth in the platform event with 400.25 points. 

“A year ago today, he made the decision to have major surgery,” head diving coach Matt Scoggin said in reference to the operation Chandler had to treat his Crohn’s disease. “He had another tough situation to overcome here. He had a poor showing yesterday and a poor showing the day before on the one-meter. He had the mental toughness to start all over and get up and go to bat again with the belief that he could still do it.”

The meet concludes the men’s swimming and diving season, but the Longhorns are already looking forward to next year.

“The seniors did a great job, and we’re going to miss them,” Reese said. “They left us in real good position with their spirit and direction. They did a great job of taking care of people all year.”

Freshman Connor Lammert attempts a shot in Texas’ 73-47 loss over the weekend. Lammert will carry an increased role into game with TCU, averaging 11.5 points per game in his last two. 

Photo Credit: John Smith | Daily Texan Staff

After his dominating performances against TCU and Arizona, redshirt sophomore Will Chandler gained recognition from the Big 12 as the Men’s Diver of the Week last Wednesday. Despite it being the third time Chandler has received the award, this time holds a special significance: it was his first Big 12 Men’s Diver of the Week honor since coming back from Crohn’s disease. 

Chandler was diagnosed with Crohn’s, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract, at age 12. However, it wasn’t until his sophomore year in college, in the middle of his development as a serious diver, that the disease became severe enough to require surgery.

“I had six feet of my large intestine removed,” Chandler recalled. “I lost like 20 pounds in the hospital, and that’s really important, because if you’re a little twig on the diving board, the board isn’t going to go anywhere when you jump on it.”

But diving coach Matt Scoggin wasn’t concerned with Chandler’s weight loss affecting his diving abilities. He was solely concerned with how it would affect his health. 

“Sports took a back seat,” Scoggin said. “I was only concerned with Will progressing to complete health and managing the disease.”

Chandler’s diving may have been pushed to the back burner, but the diving team stepped up to support Chandler during his 24-day stay at the hospital. 

“I saw a teammate in the hospital every day I was there,” Chandler said. “Matt came to the hospital three to five times. He brought me diving videos to watch so I could still stay in the mindset. That was really my strength.”

The struggle didn’t end when Chandler was released from the hospital. He had been out of the pool for about four months and lost a significant amount of muscle. 

“It definitely plays a role in the back of your mind,” Chandler said. “When I do come back, am I going to be able to be as good or as strong as I was before?” 

However, there is one haunting factor standing between Chandler and a successful career: the potential that Crohn’s disease will return. 

Crohn’s is characterized by spontaneous flare-ups that could knock Chandler back to the beginning stages of the recovery process. Chandler acknowledges this possibility, but is hopeful the surgery, his medicine and diet will be enough to keep him healthy. 

“There is definitely a chance it can come back,” Chandler said. “But before, I was really stubborn about it. Whenever I felt sick, I didn’t tell anybody, and that’s what made me so sick. Now I talk to my doctor every five days to make sure that’s not happening again.”

Further stalling Chandler’s progress was his still-recovering body. He couldn’t dive back into his normal workout and practice routines. He had to be reintroduced slowly. 

“When I came back to practice, I didn’t even get in the water for another month,” Chandler said.

Scoggin did his best to accommodate Chandler’s condition while still advancing his skills. 

“Coming back and working with Will, I had to adjust my coaching by listening to his doctor and trainer,” Scoggin said. “Speed was important. We couldn’t throw him back into workouts too quickly. I mean, he was coming back from major surgery.”

Chandler, who redshirted last year, has made substantial improvement in his return to diving. Receiving the Big 12 Men’s Diver of the Week award only further displayed his progress.

“It’s definitely a very slow progression, but my legs are as big as they’ve ever been,” Chandler said. 

Scoggin recognizes Chandler’s abilities and has faith he can achieve NCAA recognition.

“One of the great things about Will is he’s always optimistic. He has such high goals and aspirations for himself,” Scoggin said. “He wants to be a great diver, and he has unlimited diving potential.”

Despite overcoming substantial struggles to earn the Big 12 award, Chandler still wants more. 

“Its good for confidence,” he said. “But I want to be honored on the NCAA level.”

On Saturday, the Texas men’s diving team wrapped up a successful competition in Houston at the Phill Hansel Invitational. Texas redshirt sophomore Will Chandler registered two consecutive top-five showings during the weekend. He placed third in the one-meter event Thursday and in the three-meter event Friday.

Freshman Sean O’Brien also had a top-five finish for the Longhorns Friday, placing fifth in the three-meter with a score of 350.95.

Other divers representing Texas were sophomores Ryan Anthony and Myles Herzog, who placed 14th and 19th, respectively.

The Longhorns also performed well in Saturday’s men’s platform diving. Chandler took second with a score of 338.00. LSU’s Daniel Helm took first place in the event with a score of 369.90.

Anthony and Herzog represented Texas with 10th and 11th placements in the platform event Saturday.

The swimming team did not travel with the diving team to Houston over the weekend. Competition for the swimming team will resume in less than two weeks, when UT will host the USA Swimming Winter National Championships at the Texas Swim Center Nov. 29th.

Texas hosted its annual intrasquad meet Friday afternoon pitting Orange against White at the Texas Swimming Center where the White team claimed a 156-127 victory.

Although Orange took the lead at first with junior Patrick Murphy’s win in the 100 backstroke, senior Nick D’Innocenzo picked up three victories for the White team in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and the 200 Individual Medley. John Martens took the 200 Butterfly for the White team as the only freshman to win an event, though five freshman took second place finishes.

Sophomore Will Chandler racked up 265.58 points for White in the one-meter dive, topping freshman Sean O’Brien’s score of 260.63. However, the results were reversed in the three-meter dive with O’Brien earning a first place score of 283.43 to Chandler’s second place total of 254.40.

The meet concluded with the White team’s victory in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1:21.72.

The Longhorn’s first official meet will be Oct. 19 at the Mansfield Invitational in Mansfield, Texas. 

In the last five NCAA championship meets, the Longhorns have finished no worse than second, and this year they look forward to returning 29 letterwinners from the 2011-2012 squad. Last year Texas won the Big 12 Championship and placed second nationally under the direction of head coach Eddie Reese who is beginning his 35th season with Texas.