AUSTIN, Texas, March 1. TEXAS men's squad claimed its 12th straight Big 12 Conference championship, while the Texas A&M women earned its second consecutive league title on Saturday at the Jamail Texas Swimming Center.
The Longhorn men have not relinquished their crown since head coach Eddie Reese's second year in 1980 when UT was part of the Southwest Conference. Texas became the first squad in men's conference history to capture every event over the four-day championship as they went on to compile a conference record 1,129 points. Texas A&M won the final event of the championship to give them a second place finish with 778 followed closely by Missouri with 775.
The Aggie women earned 967 points for their second straight conference title followed by Texas (748), Missouri (519.5), Kansas (505.5), Iowa State (347) and Nebraska (349).
The Big 12 Conference honored the top performers of the championships based on a vote of the league's head coaches at the conclusion of the meet. The men's honorees include Swimmer of the Meet: Michael Klueh, Texas; Newcomer of the Meet: Jonathan Jackson, Texas; Diver of the Meet: Matt Cooper, Texas; Swim Coach of the Meet: Eddie Reese (1997, 1999-2002, 04, 06-07); Dive Coach of the Meet: Matt Scoggin, Texas (2000-02, 04, 08)
In the women's field, the following received recognition, Swimmer of the Meet:Julia Wilkinson, Texas A&M; Co-Newcomers of the Meet: Melanie Dodd, Texas A&M and Natalie Sacco, Texas; Diver of the Meet: Mary Yarrison, Texas (2006-08); Swim Coach of the Meet: Steve Bultman, Texas A&M (2002, 04-08); Dive Coach of the Meet: Eric Elliot, Kansas
The Aggie women carried their strong swimming into the final day as junior Kristen Heiss won the 200-yard backstroke for the second straight year with an NCAA automatic time of 1:56.28. Julia Wilkinson earned her third individual title of the championship finishing in a meet record time of 47.80 in the 100-yard freestyle. Alia Atkinson claimed her second straight 200-breaststroke title in an NCAA automatic qualifying time of 2:11.77 while Christine Marshall took top honors in the 200-yard butterfly finishing in 1:57.56.
UT's Susana Escobar captured the long race of the night, winning the 1650-freestyle in 16:18.86 while teammate Jim Robertson claimed the title on the men's side with a NCAA consideration time of 15:25.32.
In the men's events, Texas won all six races and set two meet records along the way. Sean Patton started off the night for the Longhorns with a victory in the 200-yard backstroke (1:42.72) while teammate Dave Walters won the 100-yard freestyle in 42.57, claiming his second individual title of the meet and setting a Big 12 record. Agustin Magruder earned the 200-yard breaststroke title finishing in 1:55.67 well under the automatic qualifying time. Rick Berens grabbed another meet title and automatic qualifying mark with his 1:43.64 finish in the 200-yard butterfly.
The A&M women capped off their championship night taking the 400-yard freestyle relay in a NCAA automatic qualifying time of 3:15.55 while the Texas men won the event in a meet record time of 2:52.08.
Longhorn Matt Cooper earned his second diving title in his debut season with his first place finish on the platform event (374.35) while Missouri's Kendra Melnychuk took top honors on the women's side with 284 points.
Special thanks to Big 12 for contributing this report.