There’s a single moment of quiet, when the water is still amidst the chaos of cowbells and whistling. With a single beep and simultaneous splash — the women’s 400-yard medley begins.
The burnt orange on the sidelines erupts in cheers minutes later as the relay team of Madisyn Cox, Tasija Karosas, Rebecca Millard and Mimi Schneider places first with a time of 3:30.43, setting a meet and conference record.
A raucous crowd was present at Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center for the second night of the Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championship, where Texas swept every event of the evening.
Freshman Townley Haas began the night for the No. 1 Texas men’s team, earning his first Big 12 title with a win in the 500 freestyle, with a time fast enough to make him the all-time fifth-fastest Longhorn in the event. Fellow freshman Jeff Newkirk took second and sophomore Jonathan Roberts placed third.
Last year’s Big 12 Swimmer of the Year, junior Will Licon, earned the sixth fastest time in the country this season in the 200 individual medley. This was Licon’s second consecutive title in the event.
Freshman Tate Jackson swam a personal best in the 50 freestyle, earning his first Big 12 title, with sophomore Brett Ringgold and senior John Murray taking second and third, respectively.
“I can’t even really describe it,” Jackson said. “It has been unreal coming here to Texas. I have raced against Brett [Ringgold] and looked up to John [Murray] a few years before I was even considering Texas as a school. I didn’t even know I was going to be that good.”
Texas capped off the night with the 400 medley relay, where John Shebat, Licon, Joseph Schooling and Jack Conger set a Big 12 meet record.
Freshman Joanna Evans broke the 4:40 mark in the 500-yard freestyle event, the first Longhorn to do so in 24 years, earning her first Big 12 title.
“That has been an elusive goal for the program, and obviously for a long time,” said head coach Carol Capitani, women’s head coach on Evan’s swim. “I was talking to one of our alumni, and 24 years ago they had three people go under 4:40. They were all Olympians, and they were tough. And it doesn’t mean that 4:39 is one of the top times in the country, but I am really proud of Joanna, and that is a great start.”
Cox took the 200 individual medley for the third consecutive year and posted a meet record, while freshman Nora McCullagh came close behind second.
In the one-meter springboard diving final, senior Meghan Houston won her first Big 12 crown after finishing second in the event in 2015. Freshman Meghan O’Brien took a close second and freshman Sofia Rauzi took third.
Going into day three of the Big 12 Championships, both Texas teams have a comfortable lead. The men hold an 82-point advantage over West Virginia while the women sit 172.5 points ahead of second place Iowa State.