2021 Men’s Big 12 Championships Fan Guide: Texas Poised for 25th-Straight Title

2021 Men’s Big 12 Swimming & Diving Championships

  • Swimming: Wednesday, February 24 – Saturday, February 27, 2021
  • Diving: Monday, March 1 – Wednesday, March 3, 2021
  • Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center – Austin, TX (Central Time Zone)
  • Defending Champion: Texas men (24x) & Texas women (8x) (results)
  • Live results
  • Live Video
  • Championship Central

The 2020 Big 12 Championships are right around the corner, and the Texas Longhorn men are poised to earn their 25th-straight conference title. The Big 12 is by far the smallest major conference for men’s swimming & diving, featuring only 3 teams, however, they always provide exciting races for swimming fans.

Last year, Texas won its 24th-consecutive title, scoring approximately 50 points more than they did in 2019. The Longhorns did lose a few of their top point-scorers from last year, including divers Grayson Campbell and Jacob Cornish, who were both top Big 12 divers as well as finalists at NCAAs in 2019. Maxime Rooney also scored big for Texas last year, and has since graduated. That being said, between Texas’ depth and a great freshman class, the Longhorns are in no danger of losing this year’s title.

West Virginia finished 2nd last year, also improving upon their 2019 team score. The Mountaineers did lose a few big contributors from last year. Diver Austin Smith, as well as breaststroker Jack Portmann, sprinter Sam Neaveill, and fly/backstroker Trayton Saladin have since graduated.

TCU appears to be on the rise, and has a good shot at finishing 2nd this year. With a solid and deep freestyle group, including sprinters all the way up through the mile, TCU has a shot at putting together very competitive relays.

Last year’s team scores:

  1. Texas – 1127
  2. WVU – 873
  3. TCU – 654

SCHEDULE

Swimming:

Wednesday – 2/24

  • 200 Medley Relay
  • 800 Free Relay

Thursday – 2/25

  • 500 Free
  • 200 IM
  • 50 Free
  • 400 Medley Relay

Friday – 2/26

  • 400 IM
  • 100 Fly
  • 200 Free
  • 100 Breast
  • 100 Back
  • 200 Free Relay

Saturday – 2/27

  • 200 Back
  • 100 Free
  • 1650 Free
  • 200 Breast
  • 200 Fly
  • 400 Free Relay

 

Diving:

Monday – 3/1

  • Men’s 1-meter
  • Women’s 3-meter

Tuesday – 3/2

  • Men’s 3-meter
  • Women’s 1-meter

Wednesday – 3/3

  • Men’s platform
  • Women’s platform

STARS

Texas – Drew Kibler (junior freestyler), Caspar Corbeau (sophomore breaststroker), Jordan Windle (senior diver), Carson Foster (freshman IMer/backstroker), Daniel Krueger (junior sprinter), Austin Katz (senior backstroker), Sam Pomajevich (senior butterflier/freestyler), David Johnston (freshman freestyler) – This is a team of stars from top to bottom, and they should win every event. They don’t have a hole, and if fact, they’re not only likely to win every event at these championships, they also have NCAA title contenders in nearly every event.

TCU – Vitauts Silins (sophomore breaststroker), Kevin Chao (senior freestyler), Piotr Sadlowski (sophomore butterflier/sprinter), Charles Millette (sophmore butterflier/backstoker/IMer) – TCU has a deep freestyle core that should provide a great points haul. Silins is a highly competitive breaststroker, and has a shot at the 100 breast title this year, after finishing 2nd last year.

West Virginia – Josh Harlan (junior IMer/backstroker), David Dixon (senior flyer/IM’er), Max Gustafson (senior freestyler), Ryen Van Wyk (senior free/flyer) – David Dixon has been a competitive 200 flyer in the NCAA throughout his collegiate career. He’ll be a big points-score for the Mountaineers, as he should be in 3 A finals, and finishing anywhere from the middle to the top of those finals races.

SHOWDOWNS

200 FREE:

Now, this race isn’t really a showdown, it’s more of a must-watch. Drew Kibler is leading the NCAA so far this season with the 1:30.57 he swam this fall, which is also his lifetime best. That swim is the 11th fastest 200 free in history. There’s a good chance Kibler won’t be on full rest, but if he pops off a big swim and improves his time, he’ll likely break into the top 10 performances of all time. Also, if he were to break the 1:30 mark, he would become only the 4th swimmer to ever do so.

200 BACK:

The Longhorns keep turning out backstrokers at an alarming rate. This year, there appears to be an exciting race brewing between Austin Katz, Carson Foster, and Ethan Harder. Katz has swum the 3rd-fastest 200 back of all-time (1:36.45), while Foster leads this season with a 1:40.39. Harder is right behind in 1:41.68. However this shakes out, it should be a fun race to watch.

200 FLY:

Sam Pomajevich has already been 1:39.19 this year, which is well under the NCAA ‘A’ cut, therefore earning him an automatic invitation to NCAAs. That being said, it’s very possible Pomajevich isn’t on 100% taper for this meet, which would open up the field a little bit. Pomajevich could certainly still win the 200 fly well not fully rested, but sophomore Ethan Harder and freshman Zach Van Zandt could get down into the low-1:40s to make it a race. West Virginia senior David Dixon has also led the NCAA in the 200 fly at various points in his collegiate career, and could sneak in to pick up a win for the Mountaineers.

SELECTIONS:

Swimulator:

DATA LAST UPDATED: 2021-02-18

Texas 1042
TCU 721
West Virginia 542

The Swimulator shows a big Texas victory, which is to be expected, however, it also shows TCU over West Virginia in a significant margin. It must be noted that the Swimulator doesn’t include diving events, where West Virginia has a massive advantage over TCU. According to the Swimulator, TCU is expected to out-score West Virginia in the relays, and has 5 swimmers projected to score over 40 points, while WVU has such swimmer.

PREDICTIONS:

  1. Texas
  2. TCU
  3. West Virginia

We’re rolling with the Longhorns to win their 25th-straight, and sticking with the Swimulator on having TCU 2nd and West Virginia 3rd. Despite the Swimulator showing a 179-point margin between TCU and West Virginia, we expect the battle to be much, much tighter. The Mountaineers have 5 divers on the roster this year, while TCU has 2 freshmen divers. Every diver will score due to there only being 3 teams at this meet, so even if TCU outscores WVU significantly in swimming, the Mountaineers could still make the battle for 2nd a tight one. This year will be unique, in that diving is being held after the swimming meet is over. Because of that, we should know how the meet is going to shake out before diving even takes place. If West Virginia is ahead of TCU after the swimming events, or are only slightly behind TCU at that point, the Mountaineers will take 2nd.

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Swim dog
13 days ago

Yeah right. Year of the horned frog baby

PVSFree
Reply to  Swim dog
12 days ago

James Winchester did great things at GW before he was at TCU, took them from bottom of the A10 to back to back conference champions

swimfin5
13 days ago

What about Texas joining a real conference at some point

PsychoDad
Reply to  swimfin5
13 days ago

>What about Texas joining a real conference at some point

Why? This meet is for some to make NCAAs cuts, and for some as a warm up for NCAAs. The real meet is next month.

Tswim
Reply to  PsychoDad
12 days ago

Could make it a little more fun for spectators and even the swimmers. The AAC is super thin so that could be a nice conference to merge with for swimming and diving. None of the programs will challenge Texas but in a post-COVID world, it might be nice to have more swimmers on deck and a bigger crowd in the stands. It’ll feel a little bit more like a real conference meet.

Horninco
Reply to  swimfin5
12 days ago

Why? It wouldn’t change their ability to win NCAA‘s.

Eddie Rowe
Reply to  Horninco
11 days ago

Having a conference meet where you might actually have to taper someone makes a big difference relative to your NCAA success. Texas gets to swim through their conference tri meet. Other teams don’t have that luxury.

Horninco
Reply to  Eddie Rowe
10 days ago

Texas wouldn’t taper for a conference meet if it would impact their ability to win NCAA’s. That would be a fire-able offense.

Imagine the conversation with the AD

Chris Del Conte: “Eddie, why didn’t we win NCAA’s?”

Eddie “I thought we’d rather taper and win Conference. Kids couldn’t retaper in time. But look at that nice conference title trophy? That’s cool right?”

CDC: *blank stare

2Fat4Speed
13 days ago

Who was the last team to win before Texas?

Admin
Reply to  2Fat4Speed
13 days ago

Nobody. The Big 12 has only been around since the 1996-1997 season. It was a merger of the Big 8 and the Southwest Conference.

Texas was in the Southwest Conference, where they won all of the titles starting in 1979-80. Prior to that, SMU was dominant, winning 25 out of 26 from 1953 through 1979 (Texas in 1955 was the only interruption there).

Bruh
Reply to  Braden Keith
13 days ago

I was gonna correct you for mistyping “Big 12” as “Big 1” but Big 1 is a pretty good representation of the conference

2Fat4Speed
Reply to  Braden Keith
12 days ago

An example of why you are called the machine! Thanks Braden!!

PhillyMark
Reply to  2Fat4Speed
13 days ago

Maybe Nebraska…pure guess though