COLLEGE STATION, Texas, December 2. THE fifth-ranked Texas A&M women's swimming & diving team finished its fall schedule undefeated for only the second time in school history following a 151-101 win over Rice on Saturday afternoon at the Student Rec Center Natatorium.
The Aggies won 13 of the 14 races contested with 10 different swimmers capturing at least one individual victory each. A&M finished first and second in 12 of the 14 races as well.
"We were able to swim some people in some different events today," A&M head coach Steve Bultman said. "That is good for us in two ways because it helps us learn different things about some of the girls and it also allows them to swim some different races instead of the same ones all the time. We had several people step up and do well in different events than they are used to."
The lone Aggie to win more than one individual race was sophomore Triin Aljand (Tallinn, Estonia). The five-time All-American swam an NCAA consideration time of 2:00.88 in the first 200-yard backstroke race of her career. Aljand was just over a second off an NCAA consideration time in another event she competed in for the first time for the Aggies, the 100-yard breaststroke. Aljand grabbed top honors in 1:04.74. The Big 12 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly champion also led off the winning 200-yard medley relay.
"Both of her (individual) swims were good, especially that 200 backstroke," Bultman said. "She's getting more and more confidence in her ability to swim things beyond 50 yards/meters. Doing that well in a 200-yard race will help her a lot in her 100-yard races which she is continually getting better at."
A pair of seniors and juniors took home individual wins against the Owls. Senior Kara Morelli (Scottsdale, Ariz.) took home first-place in the 100-yard backstroke in 57.66 while fellow senior Rebecca Sturdy (Anacortes, Wash.) did likewise in the 200-yard individual medley (2:07.57). Juniors Brittany Lentz (Humble) and Megan Rains (Puyallup, Wash.) took the top spot in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:21.17) and 100-yard butterfly (57.64) respectively.
The stellar sophomore class managed to total four more wins in addition to Aljand¹s pair of first-time victories. Kristen Heiss (Casper, Wyo.), swimming the 1,000 freestyle for the first time ever, cruised to a win in 10:06.59, the second-fastest time on the A&M team this season. Codie Hansen (Arlington) handily won the 100-yard freestyle in 50.85 while Christine Marshall (Newport News, Va.) won a rare appearance in the 500-yard freestyle (4:57.84). Reigning Big 12 Swimmer of the Week Julia Wilkinson (Stratford, Ont.) grabbed the win in the 200-yard freestyle (1:50.71).
Freshman Alia Atkinson (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) grabbed an impressive win in the 50-yard freestyle (23.61) as well.
A&M closed the meet, and its fall season, by going 1-2-3 in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The group of Wilkinson, freshman Sarah Woods (Birmingham, Ala.), Erin Mahoney (Wichita, Kan.), and Rains hit the wall first in a time of 1:35.55.