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Texas Longhorns in Rio: Swimming

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Jack Conger, Joseph Schooling, Joanna Evans, Jimmy Feigen, Clark Smith, and Townley Haas will all represent their countries, and Texas, in the Rio Summer Olympics.

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The Summer Olympics offers a rare chance for Aggies, Sooners, and Longhorns to come together to cheer for a common team -- a group of the country's top athletes representing the nation we are free to be bitter rivals under. However, Texas Longhorn alums can experience extra pride in cheering on the numerous Olympians who also attended the University of Texas.

The school is always well represented in these competitions, and not all Longhorns are competing for the United States. In the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, UT had 21 athletes representing eight countries. Still in the qualifying stages for August's Rio Olympics, Texas already has 18 representatives for four countries.

The qualifiers started with the June 26-July 3 swimming trials. Texas had a successful showing, particularly in the men's division, which was to be expected. The Longhorn men's swimming and diving team notched their 12th NCAA championship on March 26th this year, blowing out second-place Cal by a score of 541.5 to 351.

Now, four of the 26 United States men's national team swimmers will be from the University of Texas, and Joseph Schooling and Joanna Evans will be competing for Singapore and the Bahamas, respectively. Here's a rundown of the six Longhorn swimmers who will be in Rio.

Townley Haas

Events: 200m freestyle, August 7th at 11:00 a.m. CT, 800m freestyle relay, August 9th at 11:00 a.m. CT.

In the 200m freestyle Olympic qualifier (where four of eight participants were Longhorns), Haas was able to defeat the likes of Ryan Lochte as well as three of his teammates in what he has described as "the best race" of his life. Haas' 1:45:66 winning time edged out Olympic gold medalist Conor Dwyer by less than a tenth of a second.

The 19-year-old Haas will be a sophomore at Texas next year, where he has already built an impressive legacy. In his first season, Haas took the NCAA championship in 200m and 500m freestyle, and also won the 800m freestyle relay with his team.

Haas will now make his hometown of Richmond, Virginia proud with a great shot at taking the 200m freestyle in this summer's Olympics.


Jack Conger

Event: 800m freestyle relay, August 9th at 11:00 a.m. CT.

Though Conger missed out on a second-place 200m finish in the qualifier by a tenth of a second, which would've allowed him to compete in an individual event, the Texas senior still clinched his place in Rio with the 800m freestyle relay. Conger had attempted to make the U.S. Olympic team as a 17-year old in 2012, but wasn't quite polished enough yet to make the cut. Now the Maryland native will get his chance to compete on the biggest stage for his country.

Conger is coming off of a junior season in which he won three relay NCAA championships. He holds the seventh best 200-yard freestyle of all-time, and was the 2013 National High School Swimmer of the Year.

Clark Smith

Event: 800m rreestyle relay, August 9th at 11:00 a.m. CT.

Smith, like Conger, also missed out on the 200m freestyle, finishing in sixth place. However, also like Conger, Smith will compete in the 800m freestyle relay in Rio. Smith wasn't always one of Texas' best swimmers, but he broke out as a junior in 2016.

The towering 6'9 UT athlete was the 500mfreestyle NCAA champion in 2016 and broke the Big 12 record for the 1,650 meter freestyle. Distance is Smith's specialty, as he is also currently the American record holder for the 1000m freestyle.

This will be Smith's first Olympics. He didn't automatically qualify to swim in Rio, but was selected since the U.S. team had not reached its cap of 26 swimmers. Now, he gets to compete in the 4x200m freestyle relay with two of his Texas teammates.

Joseph Schooling

Event: 100m butterfly, August 11th at 11:00 AM. 200m butterfly, August 8th at 11:00 a.m. CT.

At only 21 years old, Joseph Schooling is already widely considered to be the best Singaporean swimmer of all-time. He will have the daunting challenge of competing against the United States' most decorated Olympian, Michael Phelps, in the 100m and 200m butterfly. However, Schooling is up for the task. In 2016, he was the NCAA champion in both the 100m and 200m butterfly, and he will be aided by his legendary college coach, Eddie Reese, in the Olympics.

Schooling already has one Olympics under his belt -- he qualified for London with his stellar 200m butterfly. However, he finished poorly, which he claimed is in part because officials didn't let him race with his cap and goggles.

"Unfortunately, Joseph Schooling has been robbed of a place in the semi-finals tonight!", the Singapore Chef-de-mission Jessie Phua said the night of the event.

Now no longer a teenager, Schooling will have the weight of his country on his shoulders, as he's one of only three Singaporean Olympians in the 2016 games.

Jimmy Feigen

Event: 400m freestyle relay, August 7th at 11:00 a.m. CT.

Feigen is the only Texas swimmer who isn't a current Longhorn. Oddly enough, he's also the only Texas native, as the 26 year old grew up in San Antonio. Feigen was a member of the silver medal 2012 400m freestyle relay, and now he will go for gold in 2016 for the same event.

At Texas, Feigen was a three-time NCAA champion, winning the 50m freestyle, the 100m freestyle, and the 400m freestyle relay. He holds many Texas school records, and was also a prodigious high school swimmer, claiming the High School Swimmer of the Year award in 2008.

Like Clark Smith, Feigen didn't automatically qualify for the Olympics, but was selected when the 26-man roster wasn't completely filled out. Here's to hoping this Texas Ex and freestyle specialist can continue his winning ways in August.

Joanna Evans

Event: 800m freestyle relay, August 10th at 11:00 a.m. CT.

Joanna Evans may be the only female Longhorn swimmer competing in Rio, but the rising sophomore will have the opportunity of a lifetime in representing the Bahamas in Rio. Evans is the first UT swimmer to compete for the Bahamas, and the 42nd Longhorn female swimmer to go to the Olympics. She was recently named the "Big 12 Newcomer of the Year".

Evans was an 800m freestyle bronze medalist in the Youth Olympics Games in 2014. Now, she will perform in the same event at her sports' biggest stage. Needless to say, her Longhorn teammates are proud.