Swimming and diving teams look to make splash this year

Blanche Schaefer

As the defending Big 12 champions, men’s and women’s swimming and diving have high expectations for the 2015–16 season.

The defending national champion men’s team begins the season with the Orange-White intersquad meet in Austin on Sept. 25. Texas returns a slew of talent, including five-time All-American juniors Will Licon and Jack Conger, who both finished in the top four at the USA Swimming National Championships this summer. Junior Mark Anderson, Big 12 Men’s Diver of the Year, returns to the platform after earning All-American honors in platform diving at the NCAA championships.

Men’s head coach Eddie Reese returns for his 38th season, along with a fairly young roster of talented athletes who gained valuable experience last season as members of the championship squad. Reese has guided the Longhorns to 11 NCAA titles and 36 consecutive conference titles in his time with the team.

“I’ve never had a goal to be an Olympic coach, never had a goal to win an NCAA title,” Reese said after the 2015 NCAA championship. “I just want a bunch of people who will trust me, and we’ll see how fast we can get them to go.”

The Longhorn women open their season hosting top 10 teams Florida and Indiana Oct. 16–17 in Austin. The women swept the Big 12 championships and finished in the top 10 at the NCAA championships for the third straight year, all with a team of mostly underclassmen. Texas is primed to improve this year, with many of its key athletes returning. Juniors Madisyn Cox, a two-time Big 12 champion swimmer, and Murphy Bromberg, a U.S. national champion diver, are coming off a successful summer of national competition and should continue to play an important role for Texas under women’s head coach Carol Capitani.

Despite the stacked rosters, the season will be far from easy for the Longhorns. Texas faces one of the toughest schedules in the NCAA, according to SwimSwam. After Florida and Indiana, the women host Stanford at home Oct. 30 and then travel with the men to College Station to face rival Texas A&M on Nov. 6.