The last time the swim team competed together, they were on the highest stage in college swimming competition — the NCAA Championship. On Friday, the atmosphere was much lighter at the annual Orange-White Meet.
Although it seems virtually impossible to get better after winning the 2009 NCAA title, head coach Eddie Reese believes there is still room for improvement.
“Our goal every year is to find a way to get better,” Reese said. “We have such good swimmers and if they get better we are always in competition to be in the top three or four places in the NCAA.”
In Friday’s casual meet, the Longhorns appeared poised to begin another run at a repeat. Senior Scott Jostes, who won the 200 yard and 100 yard freestyle races, and junior Drew Livingston, who prevailed in both diving events with a score of 370.50 in the 1 meter and 344.32 in the 3 meter diving, had the most impressive results.
The final event of the meet was the 400 yard freestyle relay. The Orange ‘A’ team, Patrick Murphy, Dax Hill, Donald Sutton and Neil Caskey, was victorious over the White ‘A’ team with a time difference of .30 seconds.
With a strong group of swimmers and divers returning, losses of seniors such as Hill Taylor, Ben Van Roekel and Alan Maher are difficult to overcome.
“There is no way you can replace seniors,” Reese said. “You’ve got to come up with a different identity almost because were going to be a lot different than we were last year,”
New captains and now seniors Bryan Collins, Jim Robertson and Scott Spann will look to keep the tradition alive.
“The only goal is to find a way to get better — that’s the way its supposed to be in whatever you do,” said Reese. “Whatever you did this year find a way to get better the next year.”
Sophomore Nick D’Innocenzo, winner of the two individual medleys of the day, said the team enjoyed coming back and swimming together again after their break.
“We are going to get through the season and when it comes down to it we’ll be ready and I think that’s what were all looking forward to is being able to come back and hopefully repeat,” said D’Innocenzo.
And despite losing so many seniors, D’Innocenzo still believes the team is very strong.
“We lost a big chunk of our team,” D’Innocenzo said. “But I feel like we always do every year and we gain a big chunk back. So I don’t think we are put down by it at all.”