2017 Big 12 Men’s Champs Fan Guide: Anticipated Races from Texas Stars

2017 Men’s Big 12 Championships

While not one of the larger conferences, the Big 12 features one of the most exciting teams in the NCAA– the Texas Longhorns. Led by legendary coach Eddie Reese, the Texas men will take to the pool in their last big competition before the NCAA Championships.

We’ll get a chance to see Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling compete after he won the 100 fly last year at this meet with a 44.62. His only other individual event was the 100 free, where he won the B final, while he swam on all five relays. Perhaps his most impressive split was a 19.94 on the 200 medley, swimming the butterfly leg.

In addition to Schooling, 2016 Olympians Townley HaasJack Conger, and Clark Smith will all be racing this week, along with defending NCAA 200 breast champion Will Licon.

SCHEDULE

Wednesday

  • 200 Medley Relay
  • 1 Meter Diving- Men
  • 800 Free Relay

Thursday

  • 500 Free
  • 200 IM
  • 50 Free
  • 1 Meter Diving- Women
  • 400 Medley Relay

Friday

  • 3 Meter Diving- Women
  • 400 IM
  • 100 Fly
  • 200 Free
  • 100 Breast
  • 100 Back
  • 3 Meter Diving- Men
  • 200 Free Relay

Saturday

  • Platform Diving- Men
  • 200 Back
  • 100 Free
  • 1650 Free
  • 200 Breast
  • 200 Fly
  • Platform Diving- Women
  • 400 Free Relay

STARS

Texas – Jack Conger (senior butterflier/freestyler), Joseph Schooling (junior butterflier/freestyler), Clark Smith (senior freestyler), Will Licon (senior breaststroker/IMer), Brett Ringgold (junior sprint freestyler), Tate Jackson (sophomore sprinter), Townley Haas (sophomore freestyler), John Shebat (sophomore backstroker) – Depth and top end speed everywhere, and while the breaststrokes aren’t incredibly stacked behind Licon, well… they have Licon. He will likely switch from the 400 IM to 100 breast and contend for two breaststroke titles at NCAAs rather than 1. Haas v. Smith, Conger v. Schooling are two of the most anticipated intra-squad battles set for next week.

TCU – Connor Dobbs (junior freestyler), Garrett Hills (senior freestyler/butterflier), Jakub Swierczynski (junior breaststroker) – Breaststroker Swierczynski is a transfer from Wheeling Jesuit, and he could make a run at one of several Texas breaststrokers sitting behind Licon.

West Virginia – Merwane El Merini (sophomore sprinter), Chris McMahon (junior distance freestyler), Traydon Saladin (freshman freestyler/backstroker)  Frenchman El Merini is a bright spot on their roster– the only man to have cracked 20 seconds in a 50 free thus far in the season. It doesn’t look like IM stud Nate Carr has swum at any meets with the WVU team this year, although he has raced unattached. But, if he’s on the roster, and will have a large impact if he’s swimming at Big 12s.

SHOWDOWNS

200 BUTTERFLY – Jack Conger and Joseph Schooling have history, and assuming Schooling does this event this year (he swam this at NCAA’s, but not Big 12’s, in 2016), we could be in for an electric race. Conger seems to always fall just short of his teammate, but Schooling dropped the 200 fly at the Olympics to focus on the 100 free instead, which might suggest that he hasn’t been training for the longer fly race as much as in years prior. Conger was out-touched by just .09 by Schooling at NCAA’s in this event last year, and this could be a chance for him to hit back.

500 FREESTYLE – Another intra-squad showdown, this race will also feature two men who will be vying for the national title in March. Townley Haas won this race easily with a 4:12.63, while Clark Smith couldn’t improve upon his 4:16.35 from prelims and wound up in fourth. Smith has had trouble delivering at big meets, but he is a man of incredible talent (lest we forget that he went a 4:08.82 at the 2015 Texas Invite) who could certainly make this a fantastic race.

50 FREESTYLE – Brett Ringgold and Tate Jackson will go head-to-head in this race after Jackson edged out his teammate by a couple tenths with a 19.25 last year. Potentially in the mix is WVU sophomore Merwane El Merini, who was fifth last year (19.85) and is the fastest returning non-Longhorn.

SELECTIONS

This conference is all Texas, and they will win by an insurmountable margin. The race will be between WVU and TCU, both teams that are pretty evenly matched. West Virginia scored 88 points more than TCU last season, but Nate Carr’s status on the team is in question and TCU looks to have more depth this year (along with faster relays). It should be close between the two teams, though.

  1. Texas
  2. TCU
  3. West Virginia

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Uberfan

Didn’t Texas win by nearly 400 points last year? Texas will easily dominate the competition this year, Schooling, Conger, Smith and Haas all set personal bests this summer be if at Olympics or Olympic trials. The 100 fly will be amazing I’m hoping Will Glass will go sub 45, but don’t let it distract you from the fact that in 1998 The Undertaker threw Mankind 16 feet off the ground in a Hell in the Cell match

Not Jim Harbaugh

AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, HE IS BROKEN IN HALF

Caltaineersfan

Nate Carr is red shirting this season for the Mountaineers. With a 1:45 low at Nationals in the 200 IM this year, he is set to gear up for a conference title in the event next year.

NYC Unicorn

Good Luck with that. Ryan Harty is redshirting as well

50free

Look out for TCU pulling the upset over Texas.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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