“I still can not believe that I will be a Texas Longhorn,” exclaimed Mount Desert’s Ian Carbone, who last week accepted an offer from the University of Texas at Austin to swim next year for the Longhorns, 2010 NCAA Division 1 National Champions in men’s swimming.
In late January, after earlier signing a national letter of intent to accept a scholarship at Dusquense University, Carbone received notice that Dusquense had elected to terminate men’s swimming. Following notification of Duquense’s decision, Carbone explored other collegiate options, which would allow him to continue his swimming.
The 2010 New England champion in the 100 breaststroke was narrowing the search process and then his performance at the YMCA Nationals in Fort Lauderdale in April attracted some attention.
“I did really well. My swims in the 100 and the 200 breaststroke events got the attention of the Texas coach,” Carbone said.
In the 100 breaststroke, Carbone lowered his time by two seconds, finishing in 57.3 and then lowered his 200 breaststroke by four seconds to 2:05.1.
“I was completely happy with my swims,” the 6-foot-5 Carbone remarked.
Carbone’s impressive 100 breaststroke swim came with his goggles filled with water.
“I think I may have been faster if my goggles had not filled,” he said.
It was following his races at the nationals that Carbone received contact from Eddie Reese of Texas, who has coached the Longhorns to 10 national titles in his 31 years in Austin.
“I could not believe it was happening. I was on the phone with Eddie Reese,” Carbone said.
Reese, in addition to coaching the Longhorn to championships, is a three-time United States Olympic men’s swim coach. Twenty-six of his Longhorns have raced in the Olympics, winning 29 gold medals.
“I think he liked my potential. We mostly talked about my breaststroke.”
In high school, swimming for Tony DeMuro, and in the Y competitions, swimming for Jim Willis, Carbone raced individual medley and freestyle as well as breaststroke.
“It will definitely be a different training experience. Swimming will be full time all the time.”
Interestingly, the only other New England swimmer on the Texas roster also is breaststroker.
Explaining his philosophy and his approach to he elite level of competition, Reese is quoted as saying, “I’ve always worried about the individual first. We do not talk about winning championships. We talk about what it takes for each individual to get faster.”
The Longhorns lost only one dual meet in 2010, losing to the University of Arizona.
“It is incredible. To think I will be with Olympians. It blows my mind,” Carbone said.
Carbone will become the second Maine swimmer to race for the University of Texas. Portland’s Ian Crocker was a Longhorn from 2001 to 2004. The butterflyer was the 2004 NCAA Division 1 Swimmer of the Year.
Academically, Carbone is undecided on his area of study. However, Carbone, who plays tennis for MDI as well as swimming for the Trojans, will have choices. The University of Texas offers 100 majors in 170 fields of study on a 350-acre campus of 50,000 students.