Longhorns claim Big 12, extend streak of conference titles

AddThis

Photo Credit: Angel Ulloa | Daily Texan Staff

For 37 consecutive years, the Longhorns have proven to be their conference’s swimming and diving powerhouse.

The 38th year was no different.

The No. 2 men captured their 38th consecutive conference title at the Lee and Joe Jamail Center under head coach Eddie Reese, lighting the iconic Texas Tower orange once again.

Meanwhile, the second-ranked women claimed their fifth consecutive Big 12 championship under head coach Carol Capitani. The win marked the 15th conference title in program history.

Capitani won the Women’s Swimming Coach of the Meet award for the third year in a row, but she put the honor back on her athletes.

“That’s just a testament to who they are, and how tough they are,” Capitani said. “They wanted to do it for Texas and they wanted to do it for their families … it was pretty fun.” 

Through the first three days of competition, both sides broke multiple school and national records, and day four was no exception.

All-American senior Will Licon, who held the NCAA record in the 200-yard breaststroke, smashed his record in the same event at 1:49.89 Saturday.

“No race is easy,” Licon said. “I mean, if it doesn’t hurt, I feel like you’re not trying enough. Just kinda wanted to see what I could throw down, and I’m pretty pleased.” 

Senior Clark Smith also posted the nation’s second highest time on his way to claiming the 1,650-yard freestyle in 14:33.28.

Juniors Joseph Schooling and Brett Ringgold, senior Jack Conger and sophomore Townley Haas joined forces to cap off the meet with a victory in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Their 2:48.66 effort marked the nation’s second-fastest relay time this season.

On the women’s side, the team’s younger core emerged and the veterans dazzled.

Senior Tasija Karosas added to her already colorful resume by winning the 200-yard backstroke. She clocked in at 1:51.11 to eclipse her previous time from last year’s Big 12 Championships by a tenth of a second.

Freshman Claire Adams followed right behind Karosas, trailing by less than a second behind her with a finish of 1:51.16.

Adams showed a lot of promise for the future along with teammate freshman Lauren Case, who took home the Women’s Newcomer of the Meet honor.

Team captain Karosas only has a few months left as a Longhorn, but feels that there is no doubt the team is in good hands.

“We (the seniors) do our best,” Karosas said. “We’ve made this team our own. We try to have good attitudes, and show the younger girls the direction we want this team to go.”

The Longhorns look to build off their big weekend as they head back to the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center for the American Short Course Championships on March 2. This is the final meet prior to the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, Ind. in late March.

“It would be really cool (if both sides won),” Haas said. “We are separate, but we are still Texas and support each other through and through.”