Under men’s head coach Eddie Reese, the Longhorns have racked up 37 consecutive conference championships.
With another conference tournament hitting the 40 Acres this week, it’s soon to be 38.
Texas, a well-established swimming and diving powerhouse, exudes confidence. The Longhorns are positive they will come out with yet another Big 12 Championship prior to the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis in March.
The conference brings only five schools to the championship meet, including Texas. When the events commence Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, the Longhorns will lurk as clear favorites swimming in their home pool.
Critics, however, aren’t too impressed with the Longhorns’ streak of championships. Many believe the Big 12 isn’t as challenging as other conferences and will not serve Texas as good preparation for the NCAA Championships.
Reese simply shrugs it off. “If it’s hurting us, then I hope it keeps hurting us,” Reese said. “What matters is what you do in September through January. That’s the key to March, not a conference championship.” Regardless of the critics, Texas is determined to savor the moment at home for the 12th time swimming in front of family and friends this season, even though some team members have seen bigger stages.
Sophomore Townley Haas, a 2016 Olympic gold medalist, said being an Olympian has only helped him grow in his second year as a Longhorn.
Last year, he clinched two individual titles paired with two relay titles and helped lift Texas to another national championship. This year, he wants more.
“I think I gained a little bit of confidence over the past year,” Haas said. “I am pretty good, and as easy as that sounds, it kind of helps me to be able to know that … I’ve put in the work.”
Though the men have gathered a lot of momentum this year, the women are right there with them.
The women’s team, ranked No. 2, has won 14 of 20 Big 12 Championship meets, including last year’s when head coach Carol Capitani was honored as Women’s Swimming Coach of the Meet.
“It means a lot to me, but I put it back on the women,” Capitani said. “It’s not one of my goals. Rather, it’s their performances and how they carry themselves. When our team swims well and they respect each other, it makes me happy.”
Senior captain Tasija Karosas leads the women as a 10-time Honorable mention All-American and 13-time Big 12 Champion. Karosas holds the school record for several events, including the 100 and 200-meter backstroke.
In spite of always performing on a grand stage, Karosas said she doesn’t feel pressure before competing.
“It’s almost motivation to hold our spot and keep it,” Karosas said. “We are just trying to prove ourselves. I don’t try to focus on getting another school record, I just try to help push my teammates.”