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Texas wins its 11th national title

BY IAN MURPHY | MARCH 30, 2015 5:00 AM

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Ask Eddie Reese where his 10 championship rings are, and he won’t be able to tell you.

The living legend that is the Texas men’s swimming coach probably won’t be able to find this one, either. He said he lets his grandkids play with his NCAA Championship rings, and that’s probably a good thing.

Reese is out of fingers to wear them on.

“I never had the goal of being an Olympic coach, never had a goal to win an NCAA title,” Reese said. “I just want a group of people who will trust me, and we’ll see how fast we can go.”

That’s been the philosophy for the entire 37-year tenure of Reese at Texas, who has won NCAA titles in four different decades, and it’s a philosophy that works.

Freshman Joseph Schooling, who won both the 100 and 200 butterflies for the Longhorns, said Reese simply told him good job and that he wanted the young swimming to go faster.

In that event, Schooling beat his teammate Jack Conger, who was the favorite in both the butterflies, by 0.04 seconds.

“Jack ran me down in [the 100] at Big 12s,” Schooling said. “I wasn’t going to let that happen again.”

Texas had six swimmers in the 100 fly and scored one through four, sixth, and eighth place finishes to total 92 points and a dagger in California’s hope for a fourth championship in five seasons.

The 100 fly was a mirror of the rest of the meet. The Longhorns’ butterfly group, and in truth the rest of the team, dominated the field to beat California 528-399, the largest margin since Auburn beat Stanford 566-367 in 2009.

Also dominant for the Longhorns was sophomore Will Licon. He won the 400 individual medley, topping Georgia’s Chase Kalisz, the defending champion and American record holder on March 27 to give Texas its second win of the evening.

On Saturday, Licon won the 200 breaststroke over defending champion and American record holder Kevin Cordes of Arizona.

Cordes went four for four on his college career in NCAA championships in the 100 breaststroke, but he was out-touched by Licon in the 200 to finish his 200 career with three championships.

“I still don’t think either of them have set in yet,” Licon said. “My strategy was to just keep it long and strong in the first 50 and try to build into it from there. Then I quickly noticed it hurt a lot sooner than it did in the morning [swim].”

Licon and the rest of the Longhorns are poised to make another run and capture their 12th title in 2016. The Longhorns will only graduate three of their 18 swimmers from this season.

Reese and the Longhorns say this championship means just as much as the previous ten. Reese said he cares more about his swimmers dropping time and improving than winning titles.

“I know what every kid did and how much they improved,” Reese said. “Those are things that really matter. It’s always about people; the number of championships just means I’m old.”

Follow @IanFromIowa for news, analysis, and updates about the Iowa men’s swimming team.


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