Over the last 40 years, a lot has changed for the Texas swimming and diving program. Perhaps the biggest common denominator, however, is the man at the helm: head coach Eddie Reese.
Under Reese’s guidance, Texas has won 13 national championships, including one in each of the last three years. The Longhorns will have an opportunity to add to their legacy as the NCAA Championships begin Wednesday in Minneapolis.
“Eddie has had quite a bit of success doing the double taper,” junior Tate Jackson said. “He’s got his experiences with trials to the Olympics with guys like Townley (Haas) and Jack (Conger) and (Joseph Schooling). Those guys are obviously able to perform both at trials and at the Olympics, so he’s got plenty of experience doing this quick little turnaround.”
Jackson is among the team’s 15 swimmers who qualified for the meet after a dominant showing at the Big 12 Championships in which he was named the Swimmer of the Meet.
Now in his third season as a Longhorn, Jackson said that he’s placing his faith in Reese to guide the team toward a successful ending to the season.
“I didn’t have very much success my freshman year,” Jackson said. “Sophomore year got a little bit better. I just trust Ed, really. He’s got enough experience.”
Alongside Jackson, Schooling and Haas are the two Texas swimmers who have won individual NCAA titles in previous seasons. Schooling brought home four titles in 2015 and 2016 while Haas accounted for two of the team’s seven individual wins at last year’s meet.
Texas will also send three divers to the national meet in hopes of adding to to their title chances. Freshman Jordan Windle is one of those who will also ride his success at the Big 12 Championships into Minneapolis.
During last month’s conference championship in Austin, Windle set an NCAA record in the platform diving competition. The freshman phenom said that one of his remaining goals is to now capture an NCAA title.
“I’m really shooting for hopefully getting an NCAA title,” Windle said. “It’s a big goal just because there’s so many amazing athletes around the country and in these other schools that I’ll be competing against. I think I’m able to do it as long as I have fun with it.”
The team enters the week ranked No. 6 in the country with a Big 12 championship to its name despite just a 4–5 record in dual meets during the regular season.
In his 40th year at UT, it’s clear that Reese has nothing left to prove, having already met the record for winningest coach in the sport’s history. Ironically though, Reese said that winning is something the team chooses not to discuss.
“We don’t ever talk about winning,” Reese said. “If we have great performances and somebody beats us, they’re going to have to have great performances. We’ll just congratulate them.”