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Moving up the podium

2015 Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships

Last year, the University of Texas at Austin fell 51 points shy of a national championship, trailing only the University of California, Berkeley. So the Longhorns spent a year thinking about those 51 points and how to close that gap. They did more than just that: Texas dominated the rest of the field, finishing 129 points better than second-place California and capturing the Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships on March 28 in Iowa City, Iowa.

“I am still waiting for someone to wake me up right now,” Texas senior Kip Darmody said after the meet. “I don’t think the meet could have gone any better for us.”

The improvement didn’t happen by accident. Darmody, who was part of the team that set an NCAA record in the 400-meter medley relay, referenced the strict training regimen he stuck to through the year and the many weekend nights that he forced himself to spend at home. Sophomore Clark Smith didn’t qualify for the national championships in 2014. This year, he not only made it to Iowa, but he also captured the national title in the 500-meter freestyle event.

“I can't make that happen,” said Longhorns coach Eddie Reese. “He made that happen."

Though he is quick to downplay his own influence, Reese has long been the backbone of Texas’s elite swimming program. The win marked his 11th national championship, which tied him with former Ohio State coach Mike Peppe for the most all-time among Division I swimming coaches.