New Orleans, beyond Bourbon Street

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By Adair Odom

Beads dangled from telephone poles and the sun shone through the canopy created by hundred-year-old oak trees. A streetcar whizzed by and jazz permeated the air from somewhere faintly in the distance. While the Big Easy is known for its lax (read: nonexistent) rules and laidback atmosphere, there’s more to New Orleans than waking up in desperate need of coffee and Advil after a night on Bourbon Street

The number of visitors to New Orleans has risen each year, with 9.78 million visitors to the city in 2015, According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Founded in 1718, the city of New Orleans is rich in both culture and history. The pride of its people can be heard in shouts of “Who Dat” and in a cup of Café au Lait and a beignet on the corner of Tchoupitoulas Street. The city is known for its vibrancy, on display well beyond Bourbon Street. The true gems of the Crescent City can be found while gazing up at the mansions on St. Charles Avenue or having an iced coffee at CC’s with friends.

Photo by Adair Odom.

An early walk through City Park on Saturday morning is a far cry from stumbling back from Pat O’Brien’s and is arguably much more rewarding. City Park is home to the world’s largest collection of live oak trees, some of which date back nearly 600 years. While the trees are certainly something to marvel at, City Park also consists of the New Orleans Botanical Garden, New Orleans Museum of Art and a small amusement park, Carousel Gardens.

It’s easy to get lost in the greenery of the botanical garden underneath stone archways. A few moments by the lily pond transport you into the scene at one of Monet’s paintings. The sculpture gardens at the Museum of Art feature 64 sculptures across over five acres of land.

At Carousel Gardens, the carousel itself, or “Flying Horses” as the New Orleans natives call it, was built in 1906 and restored after Hurricane Katrina. Like something from a fairytale, the animals on the carousel were hand carved and hand painted, some dating back to the 1800’s.

If the carousel looks familiar, it probably is. According to City Park’s website, the Park is home to several Hollywood movies, including “Now You See Me” and “22 Jump Street.”

For the more local experience, there’s Audubon Park in the Uptown region of New Orleans. Once a plantation and then used by both the Confederate and Union armies during the American Civil War, Audubon Park is no stranger to history.

On any given day, one of New Orlean’s famous second lines – a traditional brass band parade –  is taking place on one of the wide gravel walkways, filling the air with jazz music.. Grassy knolls alongside the paths are spots for couples practicing acro-yoga, families picnicking and several people enjoying the warm morning sunshine.

A few blocks from Audubon Park is Tartine, a small, casual French breakfast spot for any tourist who wants to feel like a local. The smell of fresh-baked bread fills the air and the menu offers quiches, scones and of course, tartines – open sandwiches filled with different combinations of ingredients.  The dining room is nothing fancy – simple tables with very little art adorning the walls. Yet it is remarkably cozy, as though a friend has made and served breakfast in their kitchen.

The converted houses and historic buildings on Magazine Street are filled with art galleries, unique boutiques and award-winning restaurants According to the New Orleans Official Guide, Magazine Street is named for a “magazin,” a warehouse built for housing products waiting to be exported.. Each and every shop on Magazine Street seemed to feature purple and gold dresses, rompers and tops– ready for the LSU faithful to wear on game day.

The James Beard Best New Restaurant of 2016, Shaya, sits on Magazine Street. Modern Israeli food might sound strange when eating in the gluttonous, Cajun city of New Orleans, but the pita bread itself is enough to make a stop.

The restaurant is rather small and simple, with the walls decorated with plants and mirrors. The air is filled with the smell of baking bread. The pita arrives in warm stacks, almost resembling pancakes, but with more body to each round loaf. Because the bread is not cut into slices, it encourages family-style sharing.

The pita is made in a wood burning stove that’s in the corner of the restaurant, once pulled out, it is placed on a plate and brought straight to the table, still doughy at the center. A myriad of spread and tapenades are offered alongside the pita – my favorite being the lamb ragú hummus, which offered the perfect amount of flavor to complement the pita.

The menu was comprised of items to be shared and featured inventive cocktails such as the Suzy B’Good, a combination of gin, mastiha, ginger and blonde ale. The menu offered items such as wood-roasted Brussels sprouts, crispy halloumi, falafel and a matzo ball soup that included slow cooked duck.

Take a walk down St. Charles Avenue, home to many a mansion as well as the main buildings of both Loyola University and Tulane University. If you’re visiting around Halloween time, be sure not to miss the “skeleton house” at the corner of St. Charles and State Street, known for the skeletons adorning the yard, each with their own pun. People surrounded the fence to see the skeletons, from the classics (Mr. Lazy Bones) to the politicians (Secre-TERROR-y of State Clinton).

Not far from the skeleton house is CC’s Coffee House, known for Louisiana’s famous Community Coffee. Started in Baton Rouge, Community Coffee is now the largest family-owned coffee brand in the United States. Due to its nearness to Tulane and Loyola, CC’s was was filled with students studying and professors grading papers. William Huye, a second year law student at Loyola, sat with his girlfriend while sipping an iced coffee.

Photo by Adair Odom

“Being from Baton Rouge, I felt like I knew New Orleans pretty well growing up,” Huye said. “But it’s different now that I live here. I think that the culture here is unlike anywhere else and the people here are friendlier than anywhere else. Everybody wants you to love it here and it really rubs off on you.”

Sunday Jazz Brunch at Commander’s Palace is an experience that is classically New Orleans in the Garden District. Brightly colored balloons fill the dining room, reminiscent of a birthday party or celebration, while a jazz trio stops at each table to serenade with classic tunes.

Jazz Brunch felt quintessentially New Orleans, as it celebrated the vibrancy, the food and the music of the city all in one setting, yet it didn’t feel trite. Instead, it was authentic in all the good ways and it was evident from the tables around us that Commander’s Palace was not just for out-of-town visitors, but a place where locals gather to catch up with friends and loved ones on Sunday.

“Commander’s Palace is a place that is so integral to New Orleans because it’s more than just the food, it’s the atmosphere and the people. I think the same is true of New Orleans itself. It’s the atmosphere here, the “laissez les bon temps rouler” attitude that people are so drawn to in New Orleans,” said Jack Koch, a New Orleans native.

The culture of New Orleans is not found while sipping a Hurricanes or tossing back a Hand Grenade on Bourbon Street. The true spirit of the Crescent City is found in conversation over fresh-baked pita bread and hummus, in gazing at art in galleries along Magazine Street and most of all, in the locals you meet, who remind you that life is meant to be celebrated and lived vibrantly.

Photo by Adair Odom

Earning my apron with meal kit delivery service

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By Adair Odom

The age-old question, “what’s for dinner?” is often followed with takeout, ramen noodles or Lean Cuisine for those that don’t know their way around the kitchen. Learning how to cook is often intimidating, with so many opportunities to make a mistake.

The US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (USDA) found that food consumed in restaurants was higher in nutrients that Americans eat too much, such as fat and saturated fats, and lower in nutrients that Americans don’t eat enough of , including calcium, fiber and iron. While eating at home is better nutritionally, it proves a problem for people who were never taught how to cook.

Enter meal kit delivery: Insulated boxes filled with fresh ingredients delivered straight to the doorstep, promising fresh meals without the hassle of the grocery store. But is it possible for someone who doesn’t know how to cook to use these services?

There are several options on the market when it comes to meal kit delivery, each promising different amounts of flexibility and varied benefits and perks. The bottom line of each service is pre-portioned ingredients packaged in an insulated box and delivered straight to subscribers.

Plated promises “dinner that perfectly fits in your life.” Each week, subscribers choose from 11 recipes, creating their menu and their box. Plated promises responsibly sourced meat and sustainable seafood, as well as farm-sourced seasonal ingredients. The flexibility of Plated is that subscribers can choose how many servings of each recipe to include. The ingredients arrive in pre-portioned amounts in insulated boxes, allowing for some variability if the recipient is not home when the box arrives.

“We love using Plated,” said Mary Ann Detmering, Houston-based mother of three. “If my daughter is in rehearsals and won’t be home for dinner, I can adjust our delivery to reflect that and we don’t waste food. The only downside is that we don’t all love the same meals, so often my son doesn’t want to eat the meals provided for the week.”

Blue Apron promises much of the same perks: Organic sources of meat and seafood, farm fresh produce and vegetables and delivery in an insulated box. However, Blue Apron differs from Plated in that there are only two different plans offered, the two person plan or the family plan, which includes anywhere from two to four servings. While setting up a Blue Apron account, it’s possible to choose what diet you intend to follow (omnivore, herbivore, vegan, etc.) and recipes offered will reflect this choice. Blue Apron subscribers choose a combination of three recipes from six options to create their box.

Very similar to Blue Apron, Hello Fresh offers subscribers the choice between classic of vegetarian, with three meals of two-to-four servings arriving in the insulated box. The service promises quick-and-easy recipes, but does not mention organic or farm-fresh produce, like Blue Apron and Plated do.

Perhaps the most unique is Peach Dish, which focuses on Southern-inspired dishes. Subscribers receive two meals per week with the option of either two or four servings per dish.

Blue Apron because was offering $30 off for the first week, which made it the most price efficient choice for me. After subscribing, I choosing my first three meals, Seared Salmon with Glazed Carrots and Saffron-Yogurt Sauce, South Indian Squash Curry with Jasmine Rice and Seared Chicken with Roasted Honeynut Squash and Garlic Rice.

The box   

The insulated box arrived on Tuesday, as promised, just in time for dinner. Unpacking the box was effortless, with the recipe cards on top, followed by the farm-fresh produce and various ingredients individually packaged and pre-portioned. The ingredients are labeled for ease, including

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whether it must be refrigerated, helpful to those who aren’t often found in the kitchen. The meat, or in this case, salmon and chicken, was placed under a cardboard divider, directly on the bags of Nordic Ice to separate it from the produce and ensure that it was kept cold.

The ingredients

2 skin-on salmon filets

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

2 carrots

2 cloves garlic

1 lemon

1 navel orange

1 Yukon gold potato

1 bunch cilantro

1 pinch saffron

1 tablespoon honey

½ teaspoon crushed Aleppo pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin

For the complete recipe, visit blueapron.com/recipes/1012. 

The execution

           The first step of each recipe is to prepare the ingredients. Being new to the kitchen, this also meant discovering where the cutlery and cutting board were and finding the pots and pans. For any new chef, the instruction came as overwhelming, with so many new commands, such as to quarter, deseed and zest a lemon.

This is where Blue Apron came in handy, with a link to cooking tips at the top of the recipe card, including videos that walk the new chef through each individual step carefully. This is also where I realized that subscribers are expected to have a fully stocked kitchen, including vegetable peelers, a colander and a large number of bowls, something that would’ve been nice to know before beginning this process. It is also expected that subscribers have salt, pepper and olive oil for cooking, which should be included in an email, making sure that subscribers are ready to cook when their box arrives.

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“I was frustrated that it never mentioned the need for olive oil,” said Mary Margaret Gilbert, a recent subscriber to Blue Apron. “After preparing my ingredients I had to send my roommate to the store to get some since it was necessary to cook the squash.”

Besides this lack of communication from Blue Apron to subscribers, the directions are straightforward and include pictures to facilitate ease. Between the directions, pictures and cooking videos, the recipe left little room for confusion. About an hour after beginning the process, the sweet scent of honey glazed carrots filled the air of the kitchen and it was time to plate the dish.

The final product

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The final product was better than I expected for a first attempt. Each bite presented different flavors and the times suggested for cooking the salmon left the fish cooked to the perfect toughness – not too chewy, but not raw either. Looking at the prep time, which said 15 minutes, and cook time, which said 20-30 minutes, I was definitely moving slow. Peeling and chopping two carrots alone took me 15 minutes and I would guess that the more accurate prep time for a new chef is closer to about 30 minutes, since that includes learning how to do each step and watching the videos on the website.

The amount of time put in for small garnishes and sauces is considerable: Zesting and deseeding a lemon for a garnish seems ridiculous. After the dish was complete, the cleanup was also considerable, with dirty bowls, pots and pans filling the kitchen.

Try, try again

The other two dishes in the box proved more challenging than the first, particularly the South Indian Squash Curry. Not something I would usually pick for myself, the coconut milk in the recipe overwhelmed the dish and it was entirely too spicy for my taste.

The seared chicken was the largest undertaking of the three, which was surprising considering how simple it seemed based on the recipeMost of the ingredients went into creating a sauce that was good, but not necessarily worth the time and commitment to detail.

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Overview

Blue Apron delivered what it promised: Fresh produce and sustainably sourced meats and seafood. The biggest downside is that it took entirely more time to learn how to do things than I expected. The combination of the price, approximately $60 per week for two servings, and the ease of not going to the grocery store make this investment worth it for me, and after a week of fresh, at-home meals, I felt better about the way I was eating.

The biggest takeaway for me is that I really felt like I learned how to cook. After one week, I can now say that I know how to sear salmon and chicken, roast squash and mince garlic.

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Useful Link

US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service

Amy Schumer glimmers, but fails to sparkle in memoir

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By Adair Odom

Rating: ★★ of ★★★★★

It seems as though America can’t get enough of memoirs written by female comedians– Mindy Kaling’s Why not Me?, Amy Poehler’s Yes Please and Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl have all topped the New York Times bestseller list in recent years. These women are different from the stereotypical models and actresses that People Magazine and Us Weekly have taught us to look up to for years. They’re more relatable, they’re well educated, they know how to poke fun at themselves and none of them are the perfect size by Hollywood’s standards.

Like the women mentioned above, Amy Schumer attempts to translate her on-screen humor into literary triumph in her memoir, The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo. In recent years, Schumer has become a household name as the creator, co-producer, co-writer and star of Inside Amy Schumer, a series on Comedy Central. In some chapters, Schumer’s humor carries over to her writing effortlessly, while in others, it simply falls flat.

At the start of her book, Schumer makes it clear that it’s not a self-help book or advice column: “I’m a flawed fuckup and I haven’t figured anything out, so I have no wisdom to offer you,” Schumer writes.

Schumer is known to be funny in a self-deprecating manner: discussing her bathroom habits before shows and talking about sex in a manner that almost seems pornographic. Yet for someone who is unabashedly funny, Schumer doesn’t shy away from writing about the hard things, like her father’s battle with MS leading to a loss of control of his bowel movements in an airport, and losing her virginity in a non-consensual manner. She tells of her mother’s affair and an abusive ex-boyfriend. She doesn’t sugarcoat the hard parts of her story, but she also doesn’t dwell on them.

The disconnect in her novel lies in the lack of organization: one chapter discusses the trials of trying to become a stand-up comedian while the next is a short list of times it is okay for a man to not make a woman come during sex.

Schumer’s novel also lacks a real purpose and can often be confusing about the message she is trying to relate. In one chapter, she says, “I would argue I look exactly like Beetlejuice – the Michael Keaton character, not the Howard Stern one” while another says, “I embrace my power. I say if I’m beautiful.” Sometimes she brags about the number of men she has slept with, other times she seems embarrassed by it.

Schumer discusses the “slut-shaming” that occurred on her press tour for her 2015 movie, Trainwreck, but claims to be fighting for equal opportunity for both genders. If a man can be called a playboy, then there must be a female equivalent, something that Schumer doesn’t seem to notice.

The message is left cloudy and unclear on how she sees herself, as though it changes with each chapter, making it appear as though Schumer is desperately trying to be funny, even though it is often at the cost of her own confidence.

While Schumer’s complete lack of discretion and subtlety regarding sex often overshadow the natural humor that comes so easily to her, it would be wrong to say that Schumer’s novel is humorless. For a novel of 336 pages, the glimpses of humor and moments of authenticity are not enough. While chapters about her relationship with her sister and her father’s life with MS bring you into Amy’s stratosphere, her raunchy exploits and self-deprecating banter feel trite and forced.

If the purpose of Schumer’s novel was to prove her relatability by showing her deep insecurity, then Schumer’s goal was accomplished. But if her goal was to woo me with her humor, I’d say she didn’t quite get there.

Scottie Scheffler following path similar to Jordan Spieth

Date: February 2016

Published: The Daily Texan

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Photo courtesy of Texas Athletics.

Head coach John Fields asked his players who the next “really good golfers out of Dallas” were going to be?

One response: Jordan Spieth. The other — Scottie Scheffler.

So began the recruiting process for Scheffler, who was just eight years old at the time. By the time he finally arrived on campus, Scheffler touted three-straight UIL state championships, a feat only one other player has pulled off — Spieth.

“They’ve got similar careers,” Fields said, comparing Spieth and Scheffler. “That [winning three state championships] sets them apart, as you can imagine, in a state that has produced great players like Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite and Justin Leonard and Mark Brooks, who are all major champions.”

The comparisons between Spieth and Scheffler go beyond state championships.

Scheffler won the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur, as Spieth did in 2009 and 2011. Scheffler earned the American Junior Golf Association’s Rolex Junior Player Award in 2013, as Spieth did in 2009. They both finished their junior careers ranked No. 1 in the Polo Rankings, and both were selected to the Byron Nelson International Junior Watch List.

But even with the comparisons to Speith, Scheffler remains humble.

“He’s a good person to be compared to,” Scheffler said. “I feel like a lot of guys on this team are really great and can get that comparison as we move up the ranks.”

Scheffler’s golf career has not been without its challenges. Unlike Spieth, Scheffler has had to deal with growth in his physical stature during his time in college.

“He’s gone from 5-foot-2, 100 pounds in eighth grade to almost 6-foot-4, 200 pounds just six years later,” Fields said. “That’s 14 inches and 100 pounds in six years.”

Despite his drastic growth, Scheffler has been able to maintain the quality of his golf game, something Fields described as remarkable.

In his freshman campaign, Scheffler won the Big 12 Individual Men’s Championship and was named 2015 Phil Mickelson Freshman of the Year, Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, PING All-America Second Team, All Freshman Team and All-Big 12 First Team.

Now midway through his sophomore season, Scheffler is not only working hard on the course but also in the classroom, working to get into the finance program. Unlike Spieth, he doesn’t plan on leaving before completing his degree.

“That’s one of the reasons I came to Texas — to get a degree because Texas is an incredible school,” Scheffler said.

Scheffler has played in all four events so far this season, shooting five of his 12 rounds at or under par. He helped Texas earn its first win of the season at the Arizona Intercollegiate,
tying for 17th.

Scheffler has two-and-a-half years remaining at Texas. He will have plenty of opportunities to leave his mark on the program, just as Spieth did. Fields said he’s looking forward to what Scheffler can do with his time left.

“Each guy on my team is a winner,” Fields said. “Scottie Scheffler exemplifies that he’s won at every level he’s played at so far. He’s competitive with everything he does and he is always, always, always trying to win.”

Cox, Longhorns look to dominate Big 12 Championships

Date: February 2016

Published: The Daily Texan

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Photo Credit: Zoe Fu | Daily Texan Staff

Big 12 pennants hang over the pool at the Lee and Joe Jamail Swimming Center. The podium is spruced up for the victors.

The stage is set for the Big 12 championships that start tonight, and Madisyn Cox is ready to defend her Big 12 Swimmer of the Year title.

“I just want to do what I can do right now with where I am in my training,” Cox said. “I just want to perform how I think I should perform.”

The meet is nothing new for the junior from Lubbock. Cox enters this week as a five-time Big 12 champion and a member of the U.S. Swimming National Team. But she’s quick to give advice to the freshmen taking part in the biggest meet of their lives thus far.

“It’s not as big of a deal as it seems,” Cox said. “It kind of seems crazy — walking in, all this stuff everywhere — the Big 12 logos — and it kind of seems a little intimidating. But when you’re in your race, it’s the same pool, the same water, the same turns as it’s been all year, so just kind of take a step back from the whole glam of it and swim your race.”

The No. 4 Longhorn women’s team comes into the conference championships looking for its fourth-straight Big 12 title, something that Cox has been very much a part of. She holds three career Big 12 individual titles, as well as two career Big 12 relay titles.

But Cox isn’t looking at the big picture. Instead, she’s focusing on the little moments.

“You can’t think of doing great things, you can’t go into it with the mindset of ‘Texas is going to win this,’” Cox said. “You just break it down into all the little things and just take it step by step.”

Women’s head coach Carol Capitani said Cox’s chances of holding onto her Big 12 Swimmer of the Year title are high.

“She’ll perform really well, but she may have some competition with some of our other kids winning their events,” Capitani said.

But Cox and the women’s team won’t be the only ones in the pool looking to continue a streak.

The No. 1 ranked men’s swimming and diving team is also preparing to compete in the Championships, with head coach Eddie Reese at the helm. In his 38 years coaching the men’s team at UT, Reese has won 36-straight conference titles.

The men will be led by junior Jack Conger, who holds the NCAA, American, U.S. Open, Big 12 and school records in the 200-yard butterfly and junior Will Licon, a three-time NCAA champion.

“If you work them as hard as we work them all year, and you finally come to a meet where you let up a little bit, they don’t have any problem wanting to go fast,” Reese said.

While the Big 12 Championship is important for both teams, Cox’s eyes are on a much bigger prize.

“The Big 12 Championship is a tune up meet for NCAAs,” Cox said. “NCAAs is the big goal of the year, but Big 12s is important. It’s where you see what you’ve done all year, you see where you are, what you need to work on and what things you need to think about in practice to progress to the [National Championships].”

Women’s swimming and diving places 15th at nationals

Date: March 2016

Published: The Daily Texan

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Photo credit: Mike McGraw | Daily Texan Staff

Nine Longhorns were named All-Americans at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, where the women’s team finished in 15th place after four days of competition.

The meet began Wednesday with a tenth place finish for the 800-yard freestyle relay team of juniors Madisyn Cox and Tasija Karosas and freshmen Quinn Carrozza and Nora McCullagh. The freestyle relay was the sole event of the first evening — very different from the former format in which the race took place at the end of a long day of competition.

“Usually it’s a slugfest, but now everybody gets to swim it fresh,” Texas head coach Carol Capitani said. “We were six seconds faster tonight than at this meet last year.”

Night two was highlighted by Cox’s second straight top-four national finish in the 200 individual medley, with a time of 1:54.80 seconds — enough for the eighth-fastest swim in school history.

The second night also held the 200-yard freestyle relay and the 400-yard medley relay. The 200-yard freestyle relay team of sophomores Mimi Schneider and Rebecca Millard and freshmen Brooke Hansen and Remedy Rule took sixth place in the event’s consolation final. The 400-yard medley team of Karosas, Cox, Schneider and Millard took seventh in their event’s consolation final.

“This wasn’t our best day but we have a lot of fight left,” Capitani said at the end of the second day. “At NCAAs against the best swimmers in the country, we know there is no room for error.”

On the third day, Texas earned honorable mention All-America awards from juniors Jordan Surhoff and Cox as well as the 200-yard medley team of Karosas, Surhoff, Schneider
and Millard.

Cox finished first in the consolation final of the 400-yard individual medley, with a time fast enough for the eighth-fastest swim in school history. She now holds seven of the ten fastest swims in the event at Texas.

Surhoff earned her first individual honorable mention All-American award with an eighth place finish in the consolation final of the 100-yard breaststroke while the 200-yard medley team placed seventh in the consolation final.

Texas went into the fourth and final day in 16th place with 53 points. Solid individual finishes by Karosas in the 200-yard backstroke and Millard in the 100-yard freestyle added needed points to catapult the Longhorns to finish in 15th.

Karosas won the 200-yard backstroke consolation final with a time of 1:50.89 seconds, the second fastest time in school history and Millard won the 100-yard freestyle consolation final with a time of 48.03.

The 400-yard freestyle relay team of Millard, Hansen, Schneider and Karosas finished the meet for the Longhorns with a fifth place finish in the consolation final.

The men’s swimming and diving team will compete in the NCAA Championship beginning March 23 in Atlanta.

Men’s swimming and diving looks to defend NCAA title

Date: March 2016

Published: The Daily Texan

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Photo Credit: Rachel Zein | Daily Texan Staff

Last year, the Longhorn men’s swimming and diving team showed up to the NCAA championship meet and dominated, taking home the title by 129 points over second-place California.

Now, 17 swimmers and three divers, along with all five relay teams, are in Atlanta for this year’s championships, looking to put up a repeat performance.

Last season, sophomore All-American Joseph Schooling became the first Longhorn to win NCAA titles in both the 100 and 200 butterfly events, both of which he will return to as the top seed this year.

All-American junior Jack Conger will return to the NCAAs after finishing as the runner-up behind Schooling in both the 100 and 200 butterfly events in last year’s competition. Conger currently holds the American record in the 200 butterfly, where he will enter as the No. 2 seed.

Will Licon, an All-American junior, will make his third straight NCAA Championship appearance after winning the 400 individual medley and 200 breaststroke in last year’s competition. Licon will compete in the 200 individual medley, 400 individual medley and 200 breaststroke.

All-American junior Clark Smith was the first Longhorn to win the 500 freestyle at the NCAAs last year. Smith will return to the NCAAs as the top seed in the event as well as the 1,650 freestyle swim, and the 10th seed in the 200 freestyle.

On the diving side of the competition, senior Cory Bowersox will return to the national championships, where he is a three-time All-American in the one-meter dive. Joining Bowersox will be junior teammates Mark Anderson, who earned All-American honors on the one-meter, three-meter and platform in last year’s championships, and Sean O’Brien, who will compete in the meet for the first time.

Wednesday marks the start of the championships with the 800 freestyle relay.