To senior swimmer Kip Darmody, being a Longhorn is about being part of a team and respecting tradition.
Many of Darmody’s teammates share his interpretation, and for the five freshmen new to the men’s swimming and diving team, Darmody hopes Friday’s Orange-White scrimmage will teach them what he learned his freshman year.
“I remember [my freshman year], Brendan Hansen telling me that the second I put a Texas cap on, I’m representing more than myself,” Darmody said. “I’m representing the spirit of Texas and all the guys who swam before me. It’s bigger than you. This is the meet where the freshmen really learn that type of spirit.”
Although the scrimmage has big implications for morale, it is largely informal.
Head coach Eddie Reese said the swimmers, especially freshmen, see the scrimmage as an opportunity to prove themselves.
“To me, it’s not as important as the importance they give it,” Reese said. “Any time you stand them up and use automatic timing and you put on the fast suits, it becomes a test.”
The swimmers will race for first place on a team that is consistently ranked as one of the top-10 teams in the country. And that’s exactly what makes this race so interesting.
“Eddie [Reese] and [assistant coach] Kris [Kubik] always believe that we actually end up getting more hyped up to race each other than other teams,” Darmody said. “We race each other almost every single day, and to actually step up on the blocks and have your time pop off in front of someone else’s, it really gives you a sense of pride.”
The high intensity of the inter-squad competition will give the coaches an opportunity to nitpick and find areas for improvement.
“The faster you go, the more chances that mistakes will show up,” Reese said. “I’m going to be surprised. They’re gonna be really fast.”
Although Reese expects to be surprised by their speed, the overall talent of the team will come as no shock to him.
“This year started better than any year I can remember,” Reese said. “We’re the strongest in the butterfly, and we are weak nowhere.”