Longhorns at top after first day of championships

Elijah Perez

Editors Note: The article incorrectly ran in the Daily Texan claiming Texas was in first place after day one. Texas finished in third place after the first round of competition and we wanted to correct to make it clear. 

On Thursday, the Texas men’s swimming and diving team began the final push towards claiming an NCAA title, which would be the 11th in school history. The championship is awarded to the team that collects the most team points at the end of the three-day meet. Points are given based on finishing positions in each race.

The Longhorns entered the first event of the evening, the 200-yard freestyle relay, with the first seed. The relay team of Jimmy Feigen, Tripp Cooper, Charles Moore and Dax Hill posted a blistering time of 1:16.58 in prelims. However, during the finals for the event, the Texas men couldn’t keep a charging squad from California at bay. The Horns came in fourth to the Golden Bears, finishing with a time of 1:16.72 and earning 30 team points.

Up next for the Horns was junior Michael McBroom in the 500 freestyle. The 2011 NCAA Champion in the 1650 freestyle, McBroom finished in seventh place with a time of 4:20.11, a full four seconds slower than his preliminary time.

Still, McBroom’s finish earned 12 team points for the Horns.

In the third event of the evening, Texas sent two swimmers to the blocks in the 200 IM. Juniors Austin Surhoff and Nick D’Innocenzo finished tied for 11th and received 15th respectively, earning a total of 7.5 points for the team.

Amidst these sub-par showings, Jimmy Feigen returned to the blocks in the 50 freestyle looking to deliver a strong performance for his team. Feigen, a 23-time All-American, earned 20 points for the Longhorns and added an NCAA individual title with a first place finish in the event, posting a time of 19.01.

Not to be outdone by his title-earning teammate, senior diver Drew Livingston finished the fifth event of the evening, the 1-meter diving competition, with a first place finish. Livingston posted a final score of 448.1, beating his nearest competitor by nearly 40 seconds and on the way to earning 20 team points for Texas. Livingston is a two-time NCAA champion in the event, last earning the title as a freshman in 2009. Fellow Longhorn diver Matt Cooper competed in the event as well, earning a 10th place finish and another seven points for Texas.

In the final race of the night, the 400-yard medley relay, the squad composed of Cole Cragin, Eric Friedland, Neil Caskey and Hill looked to build upon a strong showing in preliminaries where they posted a time of 3:06.68, good enough for a second seed in the finals. In the finals, the Longhorns were able to beat their preliminary time, finishing the race with a respectable 3:05.68. However, this improvement fell short of a first place finish — the Horns wound up with a third place showing behind California and Arizona, but the relay team earned 32 team points for the Horns.

On the day, Texas finished with 121.5 points, good enough for a lead ahead of the rest of the field heading into the second day of the event. Coverage begins Saturday at 9 p.m. on ESPN3.

Printed on Friday, March 23, 2012 as: Longhorns at top after first day of championships