Texas swimming and diving start strong at Big 12 Championships

Matthew Boncosky

The Texas men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are well on their way to securing a pair of Big 12 titles after a strong first two days of competition.

The top-ranked men’s team began the competition Wednesday by sweeping the 200 medley relay, the 1-meter diving competition and the 800 freestyle relay. Senior diver Grayson Campbell won his second straight Big 12 title in the 1-meter dive, sitting atop five other Longhorns who all finished with top scores.

“Anytime we compete for Texas, you want to absolutely pull out your best,” Campell said. “It’s an incredible feeling just going out there knowing that you gave it your all and that it turned out well.”

Men’s head coach Eddie Reese said after the competitions Wednesday they knew they would be dragging a bit in the 800 freestyle relay — despite their first-place finish.

“We weren’t quite as good as I would like us to have been,” Reese said. “We had two people that were a little bit under the weather, and I think they set personal records of throwing up after the race.”

Reese said there’s probably not a better way they could’ve started the meet, and everyone knows they will be getting better as they go forward.

The men again swept all competitions Thursday, including the 500 freestyle finals, placing three of the top four swimmers and filling all three top spots in both the 200 medley and 50 freestyle finals. The 400 medley relay team set a new meet record in their victory.

So far, the Texas men have built a solid lead in the point total with 382, followed by West Virginia at 291. They will look to build on that advantage in the final days of competition in the hopes of securing their 41st straight conference championship.

Meanwhile, the No. 10-ranked women’s team got off to a good start Wednesday by winning both the 200 medley relay and the 800 freestyle relay. 

“We have pretty high expectations,” women’s head coach Carol Capitani said. “Now it’s how do we attack the rest of the week and still accomplish our goals as we move forward.”

The women kept things rolling Thursday by winning the 500 freestyle finals, 50 freestyle finals and 400 medley relay. Senior diver Alison Gibson secured her third consecutive Big 12 title in the 1-meter dive, and freshman Kelly Pash swam her fastest time of the season to win the 200 medley finals. 

“I knew that I could do a best time,” Pash said. “I was just ready to throw down.”

The women currently hold the lead with a total of 370 points. Kansas is in second with 276, followed by West Virginia with 178. The Longhorn women will look to capture their eighth straight Big 12 Championship with strong performances in the final days of competition.