2020 Men’s Big 12 Championships Fan Guide: Texas Eyeing 41st-Consecutive Title

2020 MEN’S BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIPS FAN GUIDE

  • When: Wednesday, February 26th to Saturday, February 29th | Prelims 10:00 am | Finals 6:00 pm
  • Where: Aquatic Center at Mylan Park, University of West Virginia, Morgantown, WV (Eastern Time Zone)
  • Defending Champion: University of Texas (Texas) (40x — yes, 40-consecutive) (results)
  • Live Results
  • Streaming: ESPN+ (Paid Web Service)
  • Championship Central: Here
  • Detailed Timeline: Here
  • Psych Sheets: Here

The Texas Longhorns haven’t lost the Big 12 Championships in 40 years and 2020 looks to be no different. Though Texas was knocked off the top of the podium at NCAAs by California in 2019, the team is as strong as ever and will benefit from new additions such as Maxime Rooney and Jake Foster.

Though top freestylers Townley Haas and Jack Conger are no longer with the program, Drew Kibler had a breakthrough summer in 2019 and has carried that momentum into the NCAA season.

While Texas placed 2nd at NCAAs in 2019 and won the National Championship the four years prior, neither West Virginia nor Texas Christian placed at the 2019 championships. Texas’ top-end strength and depth, combined with its 40-year win streak, all but guarantees a 41st Longhorn victory at the Big 12 Championships.

Though the Longhorn monopoly on the Big 12 did not secure Texas a win in every event at the Big 12 Championships in 2019, it’s entirely possible that Texas could top the podium in every single men’s event this year. In 2019, West Virginia’s David Dixon won the 100 and 200 butterfly races. In 2020, Dixon will have to contend with either Rooney or Alvin Jiang (or both) in the fly races, neither of which was with Texas in 2019. it’s entirely possible that Texas could top the podium in every single men’s event this year.

Texas Christian University will put its large freshman class to the test against some of the best swimmers in the nation and vie with West Virginia for the second-place finish.

SCHEDULE

Wednesday

  • 200 Medley Relay
  • Men’s 1-meter diving
  • 800 Freestyle Relay

Thursday

  • 500 Freestyle
  • 200 IM
  • 50 Freestyle
  • Women’s 1-meter diving
  • 200 Freestyle Relay

Friday

  • 100 Butterfly
  • 400 IM
  • 200 Freestyle
  • 100 Breaststroke
  • 100 Backstroke
  • Men’s 3-meter diving
  • 200 Freestyle Relay

Saturday

  • 200 Backstroke
  • 100 Freestyle
  • 1650 Freestyle
  • 200 Breaststroke
  • 200 Butterfly
  • Women’s Platform Diving
  • 400 Freestyle Relay

STARS

Texas

Maxime Rooney (senior, free/fly), Caspar Corbeau (freshman, breaststroke), Jake Foster (freshman, IM/breast), Ryan Harty (senior, backstroke), Jacob Huerta (senior, fly), Alvin Jiang (junior, fly/back), Austin Katz (junior, back), Drew Kibler (sophomore, free), Sam Pomajevich (junior, fly/free), Chris Staka (junior, fly/back), Matthew Willenbring (sophomore, free/IM), Chris Yeager (junior, free), Alex Zettle (sophomore, freestyle).

There is really no debate as to whether Texas will win its 41st Big 12 Championship. Maxime Rooney, Austin Katz, Sam Pomajevich, and Drew Kibler are all in the conversation for individual NCAA titles. Furthermore, Texas is the odds-on favorite to win the NCAA team title this year, wresting the championship away from Cal, who prevented Texas from hitting a 5-year win streak in 2019.

West Virginia

David Dixon (junior, fly), Sam Neaveill (senior, sprint free/fly), Philip Kay (junior, IM/back), Fausto Huerta (sophomore, breast), Hunter Armstrong (freshman, free/back).

West Virginia lost several key-players in 2019, though the Mountaineers remain the solid choice for the runner-up in the team standings in 2020. David Dixon is the defending champion in the 100 and 200 fly and stands a chance at making noise in the 200 IM. WVU lost its top breaststroker last year, though sophomore Fausto Huerta has the potential to make the ‘A’ final and potentially medal.

Texas Christian

Joao Andrade (junior, freestyle), Jackson Boersma (junior, sprint free/breast), Hugh McPherson (sophomore, breast), Piotr Sadlowski (freshman, fly), Janis Silins (freshman, breaststroke).

Though the Horned Frogs graduated some of their fastest swimmers in 2019, a freshman class of 10 makes for a promising cohort to take on the Big 12 over the coming three years. While Texas Christian was thoroughly out-done by its two competitors in 2019, the winds could be changing for the Horned Frogs–especially if their recruiting game remains strong.

SHOWDOWNS

100 and 200 Backstroke: Texas senior Ryan Harty and junior Austin Katz are not only Big 12 title contenders in the 200 backstroke, but also in the conversation for the NCAA title, with the edge going to 2018 National Champion and 2019 NCAA runner-up Katz. Harty has been slightly faster than Katz this season in the 100, with Alvin Jiang also having been 45.2 in December. Jiang is also a contender for a top finish in the 100 fly, which gives Texas options–taking on the 100 fly/100 back double might not be ideal and Jiang might be better utilized in the 50 free/100 fly/200 fly in order to space out his events.

500 Freestyle: Drew Kibler is once again a stout contender for the 500 freestyle title at Big 12s, though 200 fly specialist Sam Pomajevich posted a 4:12 in NCAA prelims in 2018. Though Pomajevich has not improved his PR in the 500 since 2018, he experienced a fantastic time drop in the 200 fly at the Minnesota Invite in December. If Pomajevich experiences a similar improvement in freestyle he could upset Kibler for the title in Morgantown. Texas sophomore Alex Zettle and junior backstroke specialist Austin Katz could also make for an interesting race and potentially take the 2020 Big 12 title in this event.

100 Butterfly: A freestyle specialist until the 2019 SEC Championships when he took up the 100 and 200 fly, Texas senior Maxime Rooney is a favorite for not only the Big 12 title in the 100 fly but also a confident pick for the NCAA title in March. Alvin Jiang, another transfer, is one of only two men in the Big 12 (alongside Rooney) to have been sub-46 in the 100 fly this season with a 44.93. West Virginia’s David Dixon won this event in 2019 though the 46.73 Dixon posted last year is unlikely to get it done this year. Dixon has had success in the 100 LCM butterfly that Jiang has not, and if he’s able to translate his 51.4 from 2018 into a 45-mid or 44-high performance in yards then he will be in serious title contention.

SWIMULATOR

The Longhorns’ reign in the Big 12 is unlikely to come to an end anytime soon. While Texas is always a fun team to watch in competition, the more interesting team battle will be for 2nd and 3rd between West Virginia and Texas Christian University. Though TCU has a strong freshman class, they will have a tough battle to secure the title of Big 12 runner-up with the Mountaineers.

Based on current conference rankings, West Virginia boasts more likely individual scorers in the 50 and 100 freestyles with deep rosters in the butterfly, backstroke, and Individual Medley races. The freestyles especially indicate an edge over TCU in every relay, save the 800 freestyle. This has also been shown in current season-bests for each team.

In regards to diving, Texas is favorited to bring home the lion’s share of points on the boards, though West Virginia has more divers than TCU which will benefit them in picking up the leftover points.

  1. Texas – 1013
  2. West Virginia – 677
  3. TCU – 646

SWIMSWAM PICKS

  1. Texas
  2. West Virginia
  3. TCU

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Dbswims
1 year ago

Im sorry to UWV and TCU but from what I think, Texas wont be losing in the next 10 years.

IU Swammer
Reply to  Dbswims
1 year ago

I don’t think you need to apologize for that. Texas is so good, an all star team from WV and TCU would still get crushed. That’s not a slight to either WV or TCU. Texas is just that good.

exswimcoach
Reply to  Dbswims
1 year ago

DBSWIMS it’s WVU not UWV

Dbswims
Reply to  exswimcoach
1 year ago

Sorry Mr. Harvard😂

Dbswims
Reply to  Dbswims
1 year ago

Seems like not many people got my joke…

Swimmer
Reply to  Dbswims
1 year ago

When Texas recruits the top class in the country year after year it’s not that difficult to put together a championship caliber team.

gator
1 year ago

Great chance for all the swimmers to get up and race for goal times!!

PFG
1 year ago

Big 12 was only established in 1994. So probably something like 26 straight Big 12 championships, and however many SWC championships before that?

SwammerTX
Reply to  PFG
1 year ago

Yes but it didn’t have swimming in it. Swimming didn’t move over to the big 12 till the 97 season. So Texas won SWC from 81-96 and then from 97-19 they’ve won

Little man
1 year ago

I believe Corbeau is a Freshman, and no mention of Charlie Scheinfeld???

Superfan
Reply to  Little man
1 year ago

Charlie hasn’t been stellar this year so far! He will need a lot of rest and a sharp razor

Tomek
Reply to  Little man
1 year ago

Scheinfeld’s times were surprisingly off this season, perhaps he will have a solid conference meet?

(G)olden Bear
Reply to  Tomek
1 year ago

52.1 in the 100 breast at the Minnesota Invite. He will certainly get an invite to the NCAA meet. Nothing to worry about…

Svird
1 year ago

Cant wait for this years edition of the Texas Pre NCAAs Intrasquad Time Trials

PsychoDad
Reply to  Svird
1 year ago

There is also Short Course American Championship in Austin in 2 weekends. Not sure what Eddie’s plans are for that meet.

DLSwim
1 year ago

With the new facility at WVU, the meet will be a lot more interesting in a couple of years.

Admin
Reply to  DLSwim
1 year ago

West Virginia’s problem is figuring out how to convince kids to come there, because the in-state swimming population would barely fill the rosters. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but…

In 2018, there were only 622 registered year-round swimmers in West Virginia, which was like a 12% decrease from the year prior.

I think the pitch is to sell it as an ‘adventure’ akin to a University of Colorado – the kind of place where you can cross-train by hiking through the hills of West Virginia, kayak down the river, etc. etc. I think there’s a growing demographic of young people for whom that appeals.

CoachD
1 year ago

Texas is one of the best teams all time hands down. Great coaches, great facilities, great resources, great school, and great swimmers. However, some of the dynasty has to be attributed to no real competition until NCAA’s. No disrespect to the Big 12, but put Texas in the SEC, PAC 12 etc, and it would have greatly changed the outcome of the past decades. Insert a team like Florida, Stanford, Cal, etc into the Big 12 (while taking Texas out) and we would talking about another great team. There are only 3 men’s teams in the Big 12 and Texas I believe is the only top 15 team in the field.
When you don’t have to fully peak for… Read more »

Thomas
Reply to  CoachD
1 year ago

From a department’s standpoint, do conference championships truly matter? I’m not sure if it brings in any kind of revenue or anything. I wonder if, say Florida, could tell the athletic director they are going to ‘sandbag’ SEC’s for a real shot at the national title.
I remember Cal took Murphy, Prenot, and possibly others, to a LCM meet during the PAC meet in 2016. I believe they still won the meet without the stars, but I wonder if the department would’ve been unhappy with the coaching staff had they ended up losing by a very small margin.
Also, what’s especially great about Texas is the amount of swimmers they can place into the finals. They’ve got an… Read more »

Admin
Reply to  Thomas
1 year ago

I think they do. I think anything they can do to build the brand is something they’re interested in. Certainly pales in comparison to football or to a national championship in an Olympic sport, but they definitely care about conference titles. It all contributes to this overall sense of excellence that the AD can use to sell wealthy alumni. “The University of Texas is excellent in all phases.” At some point, the number doesn’t matter much. At some point, you just start listing accomplishments, and the length of the list wins hearts.

I went to college at Texas A&M, and I can tell you that, while definitely everything paled as compared to football, there was a lot of passion for… Read more »

wethorn
Reply to  Braden Keith
1 year ago

Cool to learn about A&M encouraging attendance at Olympic sports…wish Texas wold do similar.

Speaking as a former Texas men’s swimmer, I feel conference titles in men’s swimming don’t mean anything to us, though that’s absolutely not the case for all of our other sports. I’d chalk up our conference indifference to (a) the culture that is 100% focused on winning the NCAA title, and (b) the abysmal state of the conference, especially for the men. Maybe if we still had mid-80s caliber SMU in the conference or a more competitive conference league like SEC-PAC-BIG, then we’d care more. But we don’t. It is what it is and I don’t see that changing until the next major round of… Read more »

Admin
Reply to  wethorn
1 year ago

I guess my perspective was more athletics department as a whole. I assumed the question meant “does the athletics department/school at large care about conference titles,” not “does the team care about conference titles.”

More donations to the department ultimately will mean more resources for swimming, even if it’s indirectly (I don’t think swimming alumni paid for those big fancy nutrition centers, for example). A lot of the same things that are funded to benefit football also has a trickle-down impact to sports like swimming.

Horninco
Reply to  wethorn
1 year ago

Swimming donations. BMD’s out in full force when we win the NCAA’s (crying emoji)

If winning titles impacted donations then Eddie wouldn’t have had to wait 25 years for an outdoor pool. I remember the renderings that had a full size 50 meter outdoor pool in the parking lot in front of the TSC back in the early 90’s. 25+ years later, 9 national titles and 9 runner-ups and Eddie is just now getting an outdoor facility.

Not sure that logic works out

Horninco
Reply to  CoachD
1 year ago

This argument crops up every year, and it’s lazy logic. The logic essentially makes one of two assumptions

Assumption 1: Being in a conference like the PAC12/SEC means Texas would be forced to choose to peak at only one of the meets, and would therefore be forced to choose to peak at conference rather than NCAA’s, since winning conference is obviously a bigger priority than NCAA’s???? Really? That’s the logic? Assume for a minute that the logic is true. Teams MUST focus on winning just one of the two meets. OK, you’re the head coach of this team that has legit NCAA hopes and you must choose: Full taper for conference and then be off at NCAA and hope… Read more »

Tomek
1 year ago

Will Jake Sannem compete in conference meet? Is he injured?

Austinpoolboy
Reply to  Tomek
1 year ago

Great question. He is listed on roster but hasn’t swum yet. My guess would no. He can make this a red shirt year

Taa
Reply to  Tomek
1 year ago

Not a single swim anywhere. Maybe just chillin out this season

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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