The Texas A&M men swimming and diving team had to overcome multiple double-digit deficits to garner its first Southeastern Conference victory with a hard-fought 158-140 win over LSU on Saturday at the Student Recreation Natatorium.
“There’s a great history between Texas A&M and LSU – even when I swam here decades ago, it was great rivalry,” said Aggie head coach Jay Holmes, who lettered for A&M in the early-1980s. “Now that we’re in the same conference it adds even more to it. I know both teams really want to win this meet, and I’m incredibly proud of the way we battled today.”
The Aggies trailed 133-129 heading into the penultimate race of the day, the 400 IM, but A&M responded with a 1-2-3 finish from junior Simon Frank (3:59.33), junior Omar Enriquez (3:59.54) and sophomore Hayden Duplechain (4:00.74) to grab a 145-136 lead.
“There were huge point swings, and it seems like we were behind the entire day, which we probably were,” Holmes said. “We were doing just enough to stay in it. For us to get 1-2-3 in the 400 IM was a great thing for the team, and a testament to our guys for them to be able to do that. I was hoping that we could win it, but I surely didn’t think we would 1-2-3 them.”
With the outcome still in doubt for the final race of the day, the Aggies took control early in the 200 free relay and beat LSU by over a second to assure the team victory. The foursome of junior Kyle Troskot, senior John Dalton, junior Henrik Lindau and true freshman Cory Bolleter won the 200 free relay with a time of 1:19.98.
“That’s the fastest unshaved 200 free relay in a very long time, maybe the fastest ever,” Holmes said. “It was a great swim for this time of the year for them.”
Also playing a huge role in the Aggies’ win was a pair of victories by true freshman Alexandros Theocharidis in the 100 and 200 back. Theocharidis won the 100 back in 49.64 early in the meet, and then took the 200 back down the stretch in a time of 1:48.71.
“Alexandros’ two wins in the backstroke were huge for us,” Holmes said. “I thought we would win one of the two backs, but I didn’t think there was any way we would win both. He stepped up for us in a big way and we really needed him to do that.”
Holmes also pointed to the 200 free, the third race of the day, as a turning point in the dual meet. LSU had won the 200 medley relay and the 1,000 free to open an early 25-11 lead. But senior John Dalton gave A&M its first win of the day with a time of 1:39.23, and he was trailed by teammates John Wagner, Paul-Marc Schweitzer and Mateo Muzek as A&M grabbed the top four spots in the race.
“It was a big momentum swing and it calmed us down,” Holmes said. “LSU is a good enough team to get away from you. I challenged our guys before that race to get to the wall first and they were able to get it done.”
Dalton also contributed a win in the 100 free in 44.34, and was touched out by .01 in the 50 free (20.39). Other Aggies posting individual wins were sophomore Ford McLiney in the one-meter dive (359.55), Enriquez in 500 free (4:29.07) and Lindau in the 100 butterfly (48.36).
The Texas A&M women’s swimming and diving team added another win to their record with a dual meet against LSU at the Student Recreation Center on Saturday.
The No. 5 Aggie women’s team (7-1) handily defeated the LSU Tigers with a 179-107 win. The women’s squad won all 16 events in the pool. Leading the effort with multiple individual victories were junior Olympians Cammile Adams and Breeja Larson, and senior diver Rebecca St. Germain.
Adams won the 200 butterfly (1:56.42) and the 400 individual medley (4:12.57), Larson took both the 100 and 200 breaststroke races in (59.77) and (2:08.72), and St. Germain swept the dives with 319.20 on the three-meter and 295.73 on the one-meter.
“The meet went well and I was very pleased,” Aggie head coach Steve Bultman said. ”We had a solid lineup and some very good swims. We are still training for the SEC Championship and the girls won’t rest.“
More individual wins were sophomore Sarah Henry in the 1000 free (9:45.23), sophomore Liliana Ibanez in the 200 free (1:48.60), junior Paige Miller in the 100 back (54.39), junior Erica Dittmer in the 50 free (23.06), sophomore Sammie Bosma in the 100 free (50.41), senior Tess Simpson in the 200 back (1:59.18), senior Maureen McLaine in the 500 free (4:49.16), and junior Caroline McElhany in the 100 butterfly (54.57). The Aggies also swept both relays with the team of Simpson Larson, Miller, and Bosma taking the 200 medley relay in 1:40.54 and the foursome of McElhany, Dittmer, Bosma, and Ibanez taking the 200 free relay in 1:31.65.
After wins over Incarnate Word and LSU this weekend, the women’s squad will take a week off from competition before diving back into consecutive dual meets with North Texas on Feb. 01, and Houston on Feb. 02.
The LSU Swimming and Diving program fell to both Texas A&M squads in College Station, Texas, in the Tigers final Southeastern Conference dual meet.
LSU will return to Texas A&M’s Rec Center on Feb. 19 for the SEC Championships.
“We are going to come back to Texas A&M for our conference championships hungry,” Diving Coach Doug Shaffer said. “I think it will happen from the swimming and diving side. We are going to have that type of mindset, which is good.”
The Aggies men’s team (1-4, 1-3 SEC) defeated the No. 17 LSU men’s team (4-2, 2-2 SEC) by a margin of 158-140 in a dual that was not decided until the last event. The loss ended the Tigers three-meet win streak.
“On the front half of the meet we put ourselves in a great position, but the second half of the meet they were getting their hands on the wall first,” Swimming Coach Dave Geyer said. “To win meets you have to get their first in the second half of the meet as well. We came up short. I thought that there were some great performances on the team.”
The No. 5 Aggies women’s team (6-1, 3-1 SEC) defeated the Lady Tigers (6-2, 3-2 SEC) by a score of 179-107. LSU will host Houston, Rice and Tulane next Friday in the LSU Natatorium.
“When I talked to the women, I told them that this is what SEC’s are going to be like,” Geyer said. “There are going to be multiple top-10 teams at the conference championships. Just because we had some second and third place finishes does not mean that they were bad swims by any means. I think we raced well.”
The Tigers opened up the meet with a victory in the 200 medley relay behind the efforts of sophomore Michael Young, senior Andrei Tuomola, senior Raymond De Padua and junior Michael Saco with a time of 1:29.89.
Senior Craig Hamilton added a victory in the 1000 free in the second event with a season best mark of 9:20.89.
The Aggies proceeded to swim 1-2-3 in the 200 freestyle and earn nine first place points in 100 backstroke. Young, senior Nick Kunkel and De Padua finished second, third and fourth, respectively, in the 100 back.
The Tigers threw down a 1-2-3 finish of their own in the 100 breast. Junior Ricardo Alvarado Jimenez touched the wall first with a time of 56.07, and was followed by junior Walter Loop (56.48) and freshman Collin Finnegan. Loop’s 100 breast swim was a career low.
Sophomore Frank Greeff and Tuomola tagged on a pair of victories in the 200 butterfly (1:48.81) and the 50 free (20.38), respectively. At the first diving break LSU led 74-57.
The Aggies regained a slight edge by winning the one-meter springboard event, and continued the momentum with victories in the 100 free and 200 back.
However, LSU retook the lead with a 1-2-3 finish in the 200 breast. Loop posted his second career best of the meet with a time of 2:01.24 in a first place swim. Freshman Gabe Rooker and Finnegan followed behind.
The Aggies responded with wins in the 500 free and 100 fly. LSU again retook the 133-129 lead after junior Sean McKinney won the three-meter dive with his second highest career total of 371.63.
Texas A&M went on to win the 400 individual medley and the 200 free relay to clinch victory.
On the women’s side, junior Torrey Bussey posted an impressive 100 breast time of 1:02.89 in a second place finish behind Olympian Breeja Larson.
Seniors Audrey Lawson (2:00.34) and Sara Haley (2:00.79) notched impressive marks in the 200 fly. Lawson’s swim was a season low.
Freshman Cassie Weil finished second on the three-meter with a score of 312.61. Senior Elle Schmidt scored a season high 288.60 in a second place finish on the one-meter.