2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS When: Wave I Dates: June 4-7, 2021 Wave II Dates: June 13-20, 2021 Prelims: 10am CDT | Finals: 7pm CDT Where: CHI Health Center / Omaha, Nebraska LCM (50m) Eddie Reese arrived at Texas in 1978. From there, it only took three seasons for […]
2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS
- Wave I Dates: June 4-7, 2021
- Wave II Dates: June 13-20, 2021
- Prelims: 10am CDT | Finals: 7pm CDT
- Where: CHI Health Center / Omaha, Nebraska
- LCM (50m)
Eddie Reese arrived at Texas in 1978. From there, it only took three seasons for the Longhorns to win a NCAA championship, the first of a legendary 15 titles stretching across 40 years. Building on that success in college competition, a Longhorn represented the United States at the first Olympics at which the USA competed after Reese arrived, as Rick Carey won gold in the 100 back, 200 back, and 4×100 medley relay in 1984. But it’d be another four years before Longhorns started doing what they’ve been known for ever since then — being a fixture on the US free relays.
At every Olympics from 1988-2016, there was at least one current or former Texas swimmer on the USA 4×100 free and 4×200 free relays.
The 4×200 streak continued last night, when alum Townley Haas and current Longhorn Drew Kibler finished 2nd and 3rd in the men’s 200 free. Haas’ 2nd-place earned him an individual swim for the second-straight Olympics, and Kibler locked in a spot on the USA 4×200 free relay team. Haas swam on the finals squad in 2016, scorching a 1:44.14 split, while teammates Clark Smith and Jack Conger earned gold medals with prelims tonights.
And while Texas usually is known as being a mid-distance factory, the streak of a Longhorn representing the USA on the 4×100 free had, until now, lasted as long as the 4×200 streak.
Barring some sort of very strange circumstance, that streak will end this summer, as no Texas men advanced into the final of the 100 free tonight. Maxime Rooney, who transferred from Florida to Texas the summer of 2019 for his senior year and who has a lifetime best of 47.63 from that summer, finished 11th overall in the semis with a 48.86. Kibler finished 14th with a 49.02 after going 48.72 in prelims. Haas, who swam on the 4×100 free relay at 2017 Worlds, and Daniel Krueger, who tied Kibler for 2nd in the 100 yard freestyle at NCAAs this year, didn’t make it beyond prelims this morning.
We put “likely” in the headline, as relay lineups are at the coaching staff’s discretion, leaving open a very small possibility that Haas or Kibler, or perhaps Rooney if he makes the team in the 100 fly, could still end up on the 4×100 free relay next month, but that is a highly improbable scenario at this point.
The (likely) end of Texas’ 4×100 free streak coincides with the official end of Reese’s tenure as head coach. He announced in March that he would be stepping down as head coach after these Olympic Games, but that he intends to stay on deck at Texas in a “coach emeritus” role. But, despite the Longhorns lack of 100 free success tonight, Reese’s — and the Longhorns’ — freestyle legacy is likely to endure. Haas and Kibler should still be swimming three years from now, and 19 year-old Carson Foster finished 8th in the 200 free final in a very close race, so he also figures to be in the 4×200 conversation on the road to Paris 2024.
Here’s a table showing all of the Texas swimmers who have swum on USA Olympic free relays during Reese’s tenure.
|4×100 Free Swimmer(s)||Medal||4×200 Free Swimmer(s)||Medal|
|2000||Neil Walker, Gary Hall Jr., Josh Davis||Silver||Scott Goldblatt, Josh Davis, Jamie Rausch, Nate Dusing||Silver|
Note: Gary Hall Jr. only swam at Texas for one season, and didn’t compete for any other NCAA team.