AUSTIN, Texas, January 10. NO. 1 Texas picked up two wins apiece from junior Michael Klueh and sophomore Ricky Berens, and Berens added a key anchor leg in the meet's final relay, as the Longhorns dealt five-time defending NCAA Champion Auburn a 129.5-113.5 defeat Thursday at UT's Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center.
"This was a team victory, and everybody played a part," said UT coach Eddie Reese, now in his 30th season with the Longhorns. "Auburn did a great job today. It's tough to travel and swim fast, but they did a super job. Both teams would like to have swum faster, but both teams kept working hard throughout the meet."
Klueh (Evansville, Ind.) scored UT's initial victory in the 1000 freestyle, where he was victorious in 9:14.36. Sophomore Dave Walters (Yorktown, Va.) led a dominant first-through-fourth Longhorns showing in the 200 freestyle, winning in 1:35.84 to edge senior teammate Matt McGinnis (Raleigh, N.C.), who touched the wall in 1:35.89. Junior Ryan Verlatti (Tacoma, Wash.) took third in 1:39.43, and sophomore Peter Jameson (Indianapolis, Ind.) took fourth in 1:39.84.
Berens (Charlotte, N.C.) scored his first victory of the afternoon in the 200 IM, taking first in 1:49.29, while junior Caleb McDermott (Canyon Lake, Texas) took third in 1:51.03. Freshman diver Matt Cooper (Bethesda, Md.) landed another impressive showing in the one-meter event, taking first in 350.10 to top 2007 NCAA Championship competitors Dan Mazzaferro and Kelly Marx of Auburn.
"Matt Cooper did a great job in the one-meter," Texas diving coach Matt Scoggin said. "Matt Cardell had a nice inward two-and-a-half pike, and Mike Wong had a nice inward three-and-a-half tuck. Overall, it was a solid night with a lot of promise."
Berens notched his second victory in the 200 butterfly, winning in 1:46.42, while Klueh, better known for his proficiency in the distance freestyle and individual medley events, took second in a NCAA "B" cut mark of 1:47.07. Senior Daniel Rohleder (Austin, Texas) led a one-two Texas finish in the 200 backstroke, as he took first in 1:46.26. Sean Patton (Charlotte, N.C.) continued his solid junior campaign with a second-place showing in 1:46.34.
Klueh scored his second victory in the 500 freestyle in 4:23.91, as Walters took second in 4:29.02. Auburn stood within striking distance of the Longhorns heading into the meet's final event, the 400 freestyle relay, but Texas, bolstered by a crowd-pleasing 43.39 anchor leg from Berens, erased Auburn's lead in the relay to deny the Tigers in the end. UT captured the relay in a NCAA "B" cut time of 2:56.56.
Special thanks to Texas for contributing this report.