Texas, with several dominating performances, wrapped up its 12th NCAA national swimming and diving championship Saturday at the McAuley Aquatic Center at Georgia Tech.
Here are seven things we learned on the event’s final night:
1. Longhorns power: Texas won its second consecutive NCAA championship and 12th in school history, accumulating 541.5 points. California finished in second place for the second consecutive season, with 351 points. The title is also the 12th for Texas coach Eddie Reese, who now moves ahead of former Ohio State coach Mike Peppe for most all-time.
2. Record-setting trio closes the deal for the Longhorns: Junior Will Licon captured the 200-yard breaststroke championship and set an American and NCAA record with a time of 1:48.12. His teammates Joseph Schooling, a sophomore, and Jack Conger, a junior, finished first and second, respectively, in the 200-yard butterfly. Schooling, a native of Singapore, won the title in NCAA record-time, 1:37.97. Conger followed right behind with an American record of 1:38.06.
3. Murphy’s second three-peat: After the junior earned his third consecutive NCAA championship in the 100-yard backstroke Friday night, California’s Ryan Murphy took his dominance to another level Saturday, winning the 200 backstroke for the third year in a row. He won the event in 1:35.73 seconds, shattering his own American and NCAA records by more than a full second.
4. Dressel sets another record: Florida sophomore Caeleb Dressel bested his own American record and set the NCAA record in the 100-yard freestyle. Dressel led the race from start to finish and posted a final time of 40.46 seconds to take the title.
5. Long races are fun, too: The 1,650-yard freestyle, the night’s longest race, provided the most entertaining finish. Behind by almost three seconds, Pennsylvania senior Chris Swanson swam the final 50 yards in 24.38 seconds to come back and barely edge South Carolina’s Akaram Mahmoud at the wall by 12 hundredths of a second. Swanson’s total time of 14:31.54 earned the Ivy League its first individual swimming and diving title since 1990.
6. Perfect 10 on the platform: Zhipeng Zeng, a sophomore from Ohio State, flirted with scoring all 10’s for most of his first few dives in the platform diving final. But on his last dive of the night, Zeng put it all together to earn a 10 across the board to clinch his NCAA championship.
7. Olympic hopefuls: Keep an eye on four swimmers from Saturday night to make a push to represent the United States at the Olympics this year. Cal’s Murphy has taken total control in the backstroke for three years and holds the American records in the 100 and 200 back. No record is safe in the short 50 and 100 free races when Dressel is in the pool, as he seemingly sets a new American record in each one every time he gets on the starting block. And after their championship performances, Licon and Conger are favorites in the 200 breast and 200 fly.