COLUMBIA, Missouri, February 23. THE Aggies posted a pair of first-place finishes with senior Janie Potvin winning in the one-meter dive and junior Maureen McLaine grabbing gold in the 500-yard freestyle as A&M opened up a 46-point lead over the second-place Texas Longhorns 342-296. Looking up at the Aggies and Longhorns were Missouri (225), Kansas (128) and Iowa State (121).
Potvin was the top qualifier coming out of the morning prelims, but a slow start had her playing comeback from the start. Potvin never led until she grabbed the lead on the final dive of the competition when she scored 53.30 points for the winning total of 303.50. It was Potvin's second career Big 12 title, but her first on the springboard.
'It's definitely weird for me to win a springboard event, and even more so on the one-meter,' Potvin said. 'It's really who's 'on' that day, and I'm really happy that I was the one. I bombed my second dive so I had to work very hard to get back into the mix. I hit every single dive after that one and worked my way back from eighth to first.'
Potvin's final dive pushed her ahead of teammate Rebecca St. Germain, who finished second with 297.80 points. Also contributing to the Aggies 60-point assault in the event were seniors Jaele Patrick (7th, 271.55) and Jo Thibodaux (8th, 268.90).
McLaine out-dueled teammate and school record holder Cammile Adams for the victory in the 500 with a time of 4:41.19, which matched her lifetime best from the prelims. McLaine and Adams went stroke-for-stroke for the first 450 yards before McLaine threw down a 26.81 final 50 for the win. It was also McLaine's second Big 12 title of her career after winning the mile in 2011.
'Cammile is a great competitor and we push each other in practice every day,' McLaine said. 'I knew I would be able to keep up with her, but I didn't know if I would be able to beat her. The last 50 I basically just closed my eyes and sprinted to the wall. Neither one of us is fully rested or shaved, so, for now, we're really happy with that.'
The Aggies scored 65 total points in the 500 free as sophomore Ashley Adams finished fourth in 4:45.76 and senior Alyssa Conner placed sixth in 4:49.54 in the 'A' final.
Led by sophomore Kim Pavlin's runner-up finish in the 200 IM, the Aggies also scored big with 62 points in the race. Pavlin took second in a lifetime best of 1:56.63, and she was trailed by teammates Paige Miller (4th, 1:58.69), Erica Dittmer (5th, 1:58.71) and Rita Medrano (8th, 2:01.22) in the Championship final. Senior Anna Heller was fourth in the consolation final with a time of 2:00.96.
The Aggies scored 42 points in the 50 free with sophomore Caroline McElhany taking fifth in 22.86 and freshman Sammie Bosma placing sixth in 22.88 in the A final. A&M went 1-2 in the consolation final with sophomore Breeja Larson touching first in 23.01 just ahead of freshman Kelli Benjamin in 23.14.
A&M opened the meet with a third-place finish in the 200 free relay with the foursome of McElhany, Bosma, Benjamin and Dittmer touching in a season-best 1:29.81.
Highlighted by Jackson Wilcox becoming a four-time champion in the 500 freestyle, the Texas Men's Swimming & Diving team took over first place during the second day of the Big 12 Championships in Columbia, Mo.
Through two days the Longhorns have claimed first place in all seven events to lead the meet with 371.5 points, over 100 more than second place Texas A&M.
'This morning we were sluggish but we got better tonight,' said head coach Eddie Reese. 'We are moving in the right direction but we need to be even better tomorrow. We have a lot of people who still need to make NCAA cuts and I feel like that will happen in the next couple of days.'
Senior Jackson Wilcox became just the sixth Texas athlete to be crowned a four-time champion in an event as he clocked a 4:19.46 to win the 500 freestyle. Wilcox joined Scott Goldblatt (500 free), Ian Crocker (100 fly), Nate Dusing (200 IM) and Eric Sehn (1-meter and 3-meter diving) as Texas' four-time Big 12 champions in an event.
'I was just trying to race the field and finish strong,' said Wilcox. 'I wasn't real happy with the time but I am getting prepared for the NCAA's. I have been able to be consistent in the event over the last four years and have wanted to swim well at this meet.
'It is hard to win anything four years in a row whether in a home dual meet or especially in the conference meet,' said Reese. 'You look at the guys we have on our team and that is a great accomplishment.'
Also in the 500 free, Michael McBroom was second (4:20.79), Jake Ritter was third (4:21.89), Kyle McNeilis was fifth (4:22.48) and Clay Youngquist was seventh (4:23.75).
'Being in the finals heat with my teammates elevates the competition and makes me swim well,' said Wilcox. 'Those guys all train really hard and are great swimmers.'
Senior Jimmy Feigen was victorious in the 50 freestyle for the third consecutive season as he touchded the wall in 19.26. Dax Hill tied for fourth with a 20.05 and Charlie Moore was sixth with a 20.20.
Texas swept the first four positions in the 200 IM. Nick D'Innocenzo picked up his third career Big 12 championship and first in the event after his time of 1:45.40. He was followed by the two-time defending champ Austin Surhoff in second (1:45.58), Neil Caskey in third (1:46.79) and Conor Swanson in fourth (1:46.98).
The Texas 200-yard freestyle relay cruised to a first place finish in 1:18.23. Jimmy Feigen anchored the relay with an 18:98 split to finish what Charlie Moore, Austin Surhoff and Dax Hill had started.
Friday will feature seven events with prelims at 10 a.m. and the finals at 5 p.m. The events scheduled to take place include the 400 medley relay, 400 IM, 100 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 100 backstroke and 3-meter diving.
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