Texas men’s swimming dominates Big 12 Championship as Foster brothers, relay teams battle for wins, meet records

Ethan Ferguson

The 2021 Big 12 Swimming Championship showcased lots of fantastic conference talent on the men’s side last week.

In the end, however, it was the same story: an all-around dominant performance from the Texas men’s swimming team, who came away with a staggering 951 points in the Feb. 24-27 event at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. The dominant performance put the Longhorns in the lead for their 42nd consecutive conference title.

Texas teammates and brothers Jake and Carson Foster went head-to-head in the final of the 200-yard individual medley, as well as the A Final of the 400-yard individual medley. Both brothers took quick leads following their starting dives, showing the competitiveness between the two.

In the 200-yard individual medley, freshman Carson beat his sophomore brother Jake with a time of 1:41.46, setting a new Big 12 Championship record for the event. Jake finished just two seconds behind him with a time of 1:43.43. 

Jake, the defending 400-yard individual medley champion, didn’t go down without a fight the next day. 

But Carson remained hungry and did it again, setting another Big 12 Championship record time of 3:40.22 and beating his older brother. The photo-finish between the two brothers separated them with times only 0.13 of a second apart. Then, the freshman Foster continued his success, finishing first in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:40.34.

The depth of talent on the Texas squad was on display throughout all four days of swimming, even between Longhorn teammates, including on the men’s 800-yard freestyle relay teams. Not to be outdone, the A and B Texas teams traded trash talk and showed their competitiveness.

“The B relay told the A relay, ‘It’s gonna be really close,’” head coach Eddie Reese said Feb. 24 before the race. “They can trash talk, and it’ll be a spirited race. They wanna go as fast as they did or faster than they did on the invite.”

And it was close. But the Texas A Relay finished first with a time of 6:12.07 and the Texas B Relay finished behind by just an additional six seconds.  

The Longhorns’ senior leadership came from all-star swimmer Alvin Jiang, who was named Big 12 Male Swimmer of the Meet. While displaying some spectacular underwater swimming and dolphin kicks, Jiang was able to lead his relay teams to win both the 200-yard and 400-yard medley. For the remainder of the tournament, Jiang was unstoppable. 

“He is so good, he gives me the chills,” Reese said to Longhorn Network about Jiang. “His fly is a 12 on a 10-point scale.”   

Jiang, the defending Big 12 champion in both the 100-yard backstroke and butterfly coming into the tournament, retained his titles in both events. In the A Final of the 100-yard butterfly, an event in which he ranks No. 2 nationally, Jiang raced to a win with a time of 44.91 seconds. Later on, in the A Final of the 100-yard backstroke, he finished first again with a stellar time of 45.09 seconds. 

Then the senior, a sprinter swimmer, finished the tournament with a challenge he wasn’t used to: the 200-yard butterfly. But it certainly didn’t look like a challenge to him, as he finished first with a strong time of 1:41.60.

The Texas men’s swimming and diving squad will look to their diving team to finish out the win, which would be the Longhorns’ 42nd consecutive conference championship, on March 1-3.