Longhorn swimmers set for senior day

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The Longhorn men and women celebrate their senior classes this Saturday at a home meet against Arizona. Both teams come loaded with seniors who have lifted Texas to numerous achievements. 

Senior Clark Smith helped Texas to national titles in 2015 and 2016. He said he’s prepared for a chance at another.

 “It’s gone by pretty fast,” Smith said. “The first three years have kind of flown by. But I’m kind of ready for the NCAAs.”

 The emotional nature of senior day affects more than just the competitors. Women’s head coach Carol Capitani said she knows how hard it is to lose a senior class.

“It means I’m going to be really sad when they leave,” Capitani said. “They’re amazing women and it’s an amazing group of all of them together have all come together and done something special.”

Capitani understands the value the seniors have provided in pushing the women’s team to No. 1 in the nation, including senior standout Madisyn Cox.

 “Seniors are unbelievable,” Capitani said. “The captains oversee everything, but the senior class, they do the majority of the heavy lifting and then everybody else kind of fills in where they need to do it and that’s pretty fun.”

 Men’s head coach Eddie Reese has coached at Texas for 39 years. He’s lost many senior classes, but parting ways with a swimmer as talented as Smith isn’t a burden that occurs every year. 

 “Well when you look at somebody like Clark, there’s nobody that can beat him during the dual-meet season and probably not at NCAAs and you just cannot replace him,” Reese said. “You can say the same thing about Jack Conger and Will Licon. They’re just really hard to beat.”

 Reese has a very simple message for the graduating seniors, a lesson he has tried to preach to them for years.

 “They have to go out of their way to help each other and our motto is take care of yourselves, take care of each other, and that takes care of everything else,” Reese said. “That’s all I want from them.”

Texas continues dual-meet competition on Friday when it hosts Arizona in a two-day meet at Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center. Senior day festivities take place on Saturday.