Coming off dominating performances against Indiana and Florida, Texas is set for its first home meet of the season.
The No. 7 Longhorns begin competition on Thursday with a matchup against defending SEC champions No. 14 Texas A&M.
“I’m sure our whole Longhorn nation would love to see us come away with a win,” head coach Carol Capitani said. “A&M is a lot better than No. 14, they’re really good.”
Texas hits the pools against a fellow top-10 team on Friday, facing off against No. 4 North Carolina State.
“They’re strong where we have holes and we’re strong where they have holes,” junior Tasija Karosas said. “I think it’s definitely gonna be a really even matchup in terms of teams.”
All three teams showcase multiple All-Americans, including Karosas, Texas A&M’s Lisa Bratton and North Carolina State’s Alexia Zevnik — all of whom compete in the 100 and 200-yard backstroke as well as the 200-yard individual medley. “Lisa Bratton is one of the best backstrokers out there,” Karosas said. “We also have some of the best backstrokers on our team.”
Karosas — who holds the school and Big 12 record in the 100 and 200-yard backstroke — said the team will bank on its freshmen in the backstroke competitions. She named Claire Adams and Kaitlin Harty as key pieces as the Longhorns look for wins against highly ranked opponents.
“They’re very talented and tough and I think they came in here to do some things,” Capitani said. “We’ve seen a lot in practice, but they’ve only had that one race opportunity so it will be interesting to see as we go forward where they really shine.”
Texas begins competition against the Aggies on Thursday at 4 p.m. and will finish up against the Wolfpack on Friday at 5 p.m.
Karosas said she hopes to set the tone for home meets this season with two momentum-boosting wins this weekend.
“I like to stand behind the block and just take it all in,” Karosas said. “The scoreboard says ‘Texas Longhorns,’ [you] see all the championships that Texas has won, [you] look at the Longhorns on the flags and just take it all in. I think, ‘This is why I’m racing for Texas.’”