Even after Shaine Casas won the NCAA Championship on Thursday in the 200 IM at the at he NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships held at Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, North Carolina, he was already focused on “what’s next.”

But that’s how Casas, a McAllen High graduate, and possibly the hottest trending athlete in collegiate swimming, has always been – determined and focused.

Mature beyond his age, now 21, Casas has an innate ability to see a goal in his mind and regularly do what it takes to reach that.

Thursday was no different and he finished the race in a personal best time of 1 minute, 39.53 seconds to beat out powerful University of California swimmers Hugo Gonzalez (1:39.99) and Destin Lasco (1:40.01) to win the title. Casas still had a relay race later on Thursday.

It was the first NCAA Championship title for Casas and the first men’s individual title in Texas A&M swimming history.

“It’s incredible to be the first and I hope I will never be the last its incredible and definitely an honor to be the first,” Casas said in a video Tweet posted by Texas A&M Swimming and Diving. “The real thing is getting the job done and taking home the gold.

“It’s double the reward. I felt like I was ready last year and they said no (because of COVID) so it was even better getting it this time around.”

In an article earlier this month for Swimming World Magazine, previewing the NCAA Championships, David Rieder wrote that “the 21-year-old McAllen, Texas, native and Texas A&M junior enters the college championship season with the top time in the country in four events while threatening American records. He has never competed internationally, but he has become a contender, if not a favorite, to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

“And the person least surprised by all that success?

“Shaine Casas.”

Casas was also part of the Texas A&M 200-yard freestyle race later during the final event of the night and still has two individual events qualifiers today and Saturday. He’s the top seed in both events. In the 100 back preliminary, Casas holds almost a one-second lead over his closest competitor’s time and in the 200 back preliminary, which takes place Saturday, his time is more than 1.5 seconds over the No. 2 seeded swimmer.