Conference title reign continues for Longhorns

Elijah Perez

For the 33rd year in a row, the Longhorns are swimming and diving conference champions. This reign stretches back to the days of the Southwest Conference and extends now into the Big 12. Coach Eddie Reese, who’s led the Horns to conference titles in every year of his career, was named Swim Coach of the Meet for the 11th time in his career following this most recent championship run.

Over the course of the 4-day event, No. 2 Texas earned 17 victories out of a total of 21 events over competitors No. 18 Texas A&M and No. 25 Missouri. This strong showing started off with a clean sweep of Wednesday’s events, setting the tone for the rest of the championship.

On Thursday, Texas continued its string of strong performances. Charlie Moore, Austin Surhoff, Dax Hill and Jimmy Feigen kicked off the day with a victory in the 200-yard freestyle relay. Up next, Jackson Wilcox led the way in the 500-yard freestyle, and was joined by two fellow Longhorns to round out the top three.

Friday saw the wins continue to pile up for the Horns, as junior Nick D'Innocenzo won his second straight conference title in the 400-yard IM and Cole Cragin won the 100-yard backstroke.

On the final day of the championships, the Longhorns looked to finish off their title hunt in the same way they began it. Texas claimed victories in seven events on that day. D’Innocenzo earned his third title of the championship, running away with the 200-yard breaststroke.

For the second year in the row, D'Innocenzo came up big for the Horns. The junior from Andover, Mass. has been named back-to-back Outstanding Swimmer of the Meet.

“It is nice to get this honor but I still have a long way to go,” said D’Innocenzo. “I had a pretty good meet and had some good swims. As a team we have every intention to swim fast and want to show up and perform but our top priority is NCAAs.”

Saturday also served as the coming out party for a young face on the Texas roster. Freshman Kip Darmody captured the 200-yard backstroke en route to being named Newcomer of the Meet.

“It is great to perform this way and get some confidence moving forward,” said Darmody. “I was happy with my individual performances and hopefully I can carry it on to NCAAs.”

This year’s championship was a telling one for the Longhorns. It saw the emergence of a freshman stud in Darmody, the lengthening of a title run for D’Innocenzo, and for the seniors on the team, it was their opportunity to contribute to a team title and lengthen a streak that began in 1979.

With just one major event left on the schedule, the NCAA finals on March 22-24, the Longhorns will look to carry the momentum built on the back of this conference title and set their sights on capturing a national title for the 11th time in school history.