ATLANTA – No. 1 Texas swept the two relays and won four of the six events contested Thursday night on an explosive second of four days for the Longhorns at the 2016 NCAA Championships.
Texas opened the evening with three straight wins, and when coupled with their win Wednesday evening in the 800 freestyle relay, the Horns won the first four events at an NCAA Championship for the first time in school history.
UT kicked off the night by winning its second consecutive NCAA title in the 200-yard freestyle relay and sixth overall NCAA title in the event. The quartet of sophomores Brett Ringgold and Joseph Schooling, junior Jack Conger and senior John Murray took the win in 1 minute, 14.88 seconds, good for school and Big 12 conference records.
Ringgold led off the relay in 19.07 and gave way to Schooling, who split a staggering 18.53 on the second leg. Conger picked up the relay's third leg in 18.74 before Murray anchored in 18.54 and held off N.C. State's Ryan Held at the final wall. The swim broke the school and Big 12 record of 1:15.53 from UT's runner-up finish at the 2014 NCAA Championships.
Talented freshman Townley Haas collected Texas' second straight NCAA title in the 500 freestyle and the first individual NCAA title of his career. The Richmond, Virginia, native led from wire-to-wire and took the win at 4:09.00, good for the second-fastest swim in school history. Haas joined UT junior Clark Smith to give Texas back-to-back NCAA titles in the event.
Florida's Mitch D'Arrigo swam within a body length of Haas for the duration of the race, but Haas thwarted each of D'Arrigo's challenges for the lead. Haas' finish of 4:09.00 makes him the fifth-fastest swimmer of all-time in the 500-yard freestyle.
Not to be outdone, Licon won his third individual NCAA title and at the time his fourth overall national title of his career, as the El Paso native edged California's Josh Prenot in a thrilling finish of the 200 individual medley.
Licon sat in third after the event's butterfly leg, and he held fifth place at the 100-yard mark after the backstroke. But Licon, an excellent breaststroke swimmer, made up plenty of ground on the event's breaststroke leg, and nearly pulled even with Cal's Prenot at 150 yards.
Licon out-split Prenot by 51 one-hundredths of a second on the freestyle leg and won by a tenth of a second in 1:40.04. Freshman Ryan Harty added a second-place finish in the 200 IM consolation final at 1:42.87.
Murray added a second All-America finish for the night in the 50 freestyle, where he placed sixth in the championship final at 19.08. Sophomore Brett Ringgold took second in the consolation final at 19.10.
Junior diver Mark Anderson earned his first All-America award on one-meter, as the Californian totaled 416.10 points in the event's championship final. All-America senior Cory Bowersox won the consolation final with 408.85 points.
Texas capped the night by setting an NCAA record in the 400 medley relay for the second time in as many NCAA Championship meets. Cal's Ryan Murphy put the Golden Bears in the lead with an American record of 43.51 on backstroke, but UT freshman John Shebat kept the Horns well within striking distance with a strong leadoff of 45.36, good for a personal best for Shebat in the 100 backstroke.
Licon and Prenot went head-to-head on the breaststroke leg, and Prenot kept Cal ahead by nearly two seconds at the 200-yard mark. As was the case last year, Schooling cut a huge chunk out of the Cal lead with a lightning-fast butterfly split, as the Olympian from Singapore split 43.34 compared to the 45.03 by Cal's Justin Lynch.
Conger, for the second time in as many years, put the finishing touches on UT's NCAA record-setting 400 medley relay with an outstanding anchor leg. Conger made up the remaining ground and put the Horns in the lead for good at the 350-yard mark. He anchored the relay in 41.29 seconds to put away Texas' third consecutive relay win in 3:00.68, good for UT's NCAA-leading 13th national title and NCAA, U.S. Open, NCAA Championship, school and Big 12 records.
Texas leads the championship through two of four days with 209 points. Florida sits in second with 163 points while California holds third place with 141 points. N.C. State is in fourth place at 137 while Michigan rounds out the top-five with 90 points.