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Texas swimmer Townley Haas’ record 200-meter freestyle time helps USA grab relay gold

The 19-year-old rising Texas sophomore was the unsung hero in a star-filled American victory.

Olympics: Swimming-Afternoon Session Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

What’s better than your heart swelling with both national and Longhorn pride simultaneously? Texas sophomore swimmer Townley Haas played a crucial role in helping the U.S. take gold in the 200-meter freestyle relay Tuesday night, posting the 5th fastest 200 meter split of all-time with his crucial second leg.

The Richmond native finished with a a 1:44.14 time, the fastest of anyone in the race by a stunning .71 seconds.

Two other Longhorns will receive medals as a result of the relay win, as Jack Conger and Clark Smith both participated in the prelims. Conger swam the fastest leg in the prelims, while Smith is a second-generation Texas swimmer and Olympian.

As one might guess, Texas swimming has a long and distinguished history at the games:

The 19-year-old Haas had already placed fifth in the 200-meter individual freestyle finals with a 1:45.49 time on Monday night, but his relay is where he truly left his mark. He is the second Longhorn gold medal winner, as Texas Ex Jimmy Feigen also helped the U.S. to a first-place finish in the 400-meter relay for his preliminary round performance.

The sudden emergence of Haas in the 200 meters has made him a national star, but he will tell you he’s not even be the biggest hero in his family. Haas’ sister, Emily, was wounded in the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 after two bullets grazed her head. Amidst her anxiety, she calmly placed a 9-1-1 call that potentially saved lives.