Accounting Junior Berens Wins Gold in Beijing
McCombs accounting junior Ricky Berens won a gold medal in the 4x200m freestyle at the Olympic games Aug. 12 in Beijing.
Berens, one of 27 Longhorns to compete in these Olympic Games, was named Big 12 Swimmer of the Year and is a five-time Big 12 champion in the 100m butterfly, 400m and 800m freestyle relays and the 200m individual medley. He is a three-time All-American and was a member of Team USA for the 2007 Pan American Games, where he took home one gold and two silver medals.
Berens earned a spot on the 4x200m freestyle relay by finishing third in the 200m freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials July 1 in Omaha, Neb. Swimming against heavyweights like Michael Phelps and Peter Vanderkaay, who finished first and second respectively, Berens turned in a personal-best time of 1:46.14.
“For any swimmer, going to the Olympics is the ultimate goal,” said Berens’ roommate Hill Taylor. “But for Ricky, that was actually a realistic thing.”
Taylor, also an accounting junior and Longhorn swimmer, and Berens met when they were 12-year-olds making a splash on the national competitive swimming circuit. “He knew he needed to have the swim of his life in order to make the team, and he did,” Taylor said.
Accounting lecturer Gretchen Charrier taught Berens in her financial accounting course, and she was impressed with his ability to balance school with swim training, which can occupy 20 hours or more in a week.
“Ricky was dedicated to learning the class material while keeping up with his swim team practices and being part of the 800-yard freestyle relay team that broke an American record during the Big 12 championship this year,” Carrier said. “I'll be watching him swim in Beijing, along with rooting for another former student, Sanya Richards, to go for gold in track and field.”
Written by Tracy Mueller
Photo: UT Sports Photography