NCAA Div. I: Texas Longhorns Kick Off New Season, Look to Repeat as NCAA Champion

AUSTIN, TEXAS. October 24. THE University of Texas Longhorns, defending men's NCAA swimming and diving champions, head to Lawrence, Kan. for the Big 12 Conference Relays on Friday, Oct. 27 beginning at 9 a.m. at the Robinson Natatorium.

< Last Year's Big 12 Relay/>
Last year, the Longhorns captured the 1999 Big 12 Relay title after posting wins in 13 of 15 events and collecting 100 points. Senior Nate Dusing led the Longhorns, competing on seven winning relays, while junior Tommy Hannan also contributed on six winning relays.

Last year the Longhorns capped off a stellar season by winning their seventh national title in school history at the 2000 NCAA Championships in March. Texas claimed a total of three relay titles and three individual titles en route to scoring the highest point margin in UT history and outdistancing second-place Auburn for the national title. This completed the No.1 ranked Longhorns' perfect 10-0 dual meet season, in which they also claimed their 21st-consecutive conference title at the 2000 Big 12 Championships.

This past summer, a total of six current Longhorns claimed spots on the USA Olympic Team. Seniors Scott Goldblatt, Dusing and Jamie Rauch, along with juniors Troy Dumais and Hannan, and newcomer Ian Crocker all qualified for the U.S. squad and made up one-fourth of the USA Swimming and Diving Teams. The Longhorns' success continued at the 2000 Sydney Olympics as Goldblatt, Dusing and Rauch captured silver medalsalong with former Longhorn captain, Josh Davis) as members of the 800-meter freestyle relay, while Hannan and Crocker helped the U.S. to a first-place finish in the 400 medley relay.

Dumais, meanwhile, placed sixth in the three-meter springboard and narrowly missed capturing a bronze medal in the three-meter synchronized event. In total, the Longhorns earned five Olympic medals for the United States.

The Longhorns have a strong case for repeating their successful 1999-00 season with the return of 11 All-Americans from last season's squad. Top returnees include Olympians Dusing, Goldblatt, Rauch, Dumais and Hannan, as well as senior Matt Ulrickson, juniors Ryan Ciccarelli, Leffie Crawford, Harold Hyde, and Joe Montague and sophomores Ross Binkley and Chris Kemp.

Ian Crocker headlines the freshmen class after winning gold in the 400-meter medley relay and placing fourth in the butterfly, breaking the American record held by former Longhorn, Neil Walker, at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Joining Crocker is Brendan Hansen, an 11-time high school All-American, who placed third in the breaststroke at the U.S. Olympic Trials, as well as two-time Israeli Junior Champion Tomer Feingold , four-time high school All-American Austin McAnally, and three-time high school All-Americans Greg Norman and Cooper Phillips.

"With the loss of five letterwinners from last season, these freshmen have to fill the voids that our senior class left," Reese said. "They are extremely talented on the national level, but at the college level it is a whole other game. Here we ask them to do what is best for the team. They will have to adjust and make the transition, though they can easily make an immediate impact."

Head coach Eddie Reese returns for his 23rd season at the helm of the men's swimming program. During his tenure, the Longhorns have won six of the last 12 NCAA Championships and an incredible 21 consecutive conference titles. Last year, he led his squad to the program's seventh NCAA Championship, where he was honored as the 1999-00 NCAA Coach of the Year. Reese has also coached 28 NCAA individual champions, 25 national champion relays, 114 All-Americans, and 18 Olympians, who have claimed 18 gold medals in five Olympiads.

Matt Scoggin begins his seventh year as the head coach of the men's and women's diving programs, where he has has garnered numerous accolades, including being named NCAA National Diving Coach of the Year for the 1996-97, 1997-98 and 1998-99 campaigns. Additionally, Scoggin is a four-time Big 12 Conference Women's Diving Coach of the Year and was the 1994-95 Southwest Conference (SWC) Women's Diving Coach of the Year. Under Scoggin's direction, Troy Dumais captured his second national title on the three-meter springboard and his first title in the one-meter event in 1999-00 to become only the third man in Texas history to win back-to-back NCAA titles in diving competition and only the second Longhorn ever to win two diving titles at one NCAA Championship meet.

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