In the midst of the first Texas Longhorns football practices, it’s easy to forget the biggest sporting event in the world is occurring 5,000 miles south of the Forty Acres — twenty athletes and five coaches from the University of Texas are currently participating in the Rio Summer Olympics, and Longhorns swimming has already left their mark in Brazil.
Jimmy Feigen, who swam for Texas from 2009 to 2012, unexpectedly helped take gold in the 4x100 meter freestyle relay Sunday night. The U.S. team posted a 3:09.92 time in the final, with France and Australia finishing behind at 3:10.53 and 3:11.37, respectively. The United States’ final round was led by Michael Phelps, but Feigen for his part posted a 48.55 leadoff leg in the preliminary round.
The 26-year old specializes in freestyle events, as he also won silver in the same event in the 2012 London Olympics. Feigen was the NCAA champion in the 50, 100, and 100x4 meter freestyle in 2012.
But the now gold medal winner almost didn’t make the Olympics at all. Feigen did not automatically qualify for Rio, but was added to the 26-man men’s swim team when their roster wasn’t entirely filled out.
Rising Texas sophomore Townley Haas also has had a successful Rio thus far. Haas finished with a 1:45.92 time, a mark that was good for fourth in the men’s 200 meter freestyle to qualify for the finals, which will take place tonight at 8:21 CST.
Haas will be the first Texas swimmer in the 200 meter since Josh Davis in 2000. The only other American in the finals race will be gold medalist Conor Dwyer, whom Haas beat in the Olympic qualifier. Still, the 19-year old Haas will have a challenging time defeating Dwyer and China’s Sun Yang, whose 1:44.63 time was the fastest in the field in the semifinals.
If you haven’t already, check out this Pat Forde article about how Haas was personally effected by the Virginia Tech shootings.
The Longhorns still have plenty of swimmers who have yet to take their marks, as this post includes the swimming schedule for Texas swimmers. Keep an eye out for butterfly phenom Joseph Schooling, who will race in the 100 meter butterfly August 11th at 11:00 a.m. CT.
The 21-year-old Texas junior was going to race in the 200 meter butterfly, but dropped it to focus on his main event. The Singaporean is coached by Texas head swim coach Eddie Reese. Schooling is widely considered to be the best Singaporean swimmer of all-time and won first in the 100 and 200 meter butterfly in the NCAA championships in 2016.
In other Texas Olympics news, Texas sophomore Joanna Evans finished 13th for the Bahamas in the 400 meter swimming freestyle with a 4:07.60. It was a personal best for the 2016 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, who will also race in the 800 meter freestyle on Thursday.
And as for Kevin Durant and the USA basketball team, they are doing just fine. KD scored a team high 25 points in a 119-62 route against China, and the U.S. will now face off against Venezuela today at 5 p.m. CT.