COLLEGE STATION, Texas, December 5. THE No. 8 Texas A&M women's swimming and diving team powered to a 151-103 victory over Rice on Saturday at the Student Recreation Natatorium.
The Aggies, who improved to 2-1 in dual meets, won 13 of 14 races in the swimming-only competition. The Aggies swept both relays and had eight individuals combine to win 11 races.
"We didn't want to go seven to eight weeks without racing at all, so it was good to step up and race against someone besides ourselves," Aggie head coach Steve Bultman said. "I was really pleased with the way they competed. I thought they raced well, both in their good events and their off events."
The Aggies were led by a trio of seniors that each logged two individual victories against the Owls – Melissa Hain, Julia Wilkinson and Kristen Heiss. For Wilkinson and Heiss, it was their first action in front of the home crowd since helping the Aggies to a dual victory over Houston in February, 2008. The fifth-year seniors both missed the 2008-09 due to shoulder injuries.
"They're definitely our leaders in and out of the pool," Bultman said. "It's great to have them back. They worked really hard last year even though they weren't competing with us during the college season. I think that hard work has paid off because they are both swimming very well."
Wilkinson posted victories in the 50 freestyle (22.90) and the 100 butterfly (55.49), while Heiss took wins in the 100 free (50.70) and 200 free (1:50.11). Hain, a two-time team captain, cruised to strong wins in the 200 fly (2:01.78) and the 200 breast (2:20.66).
Logging single victories were freshman Maureen McLain in the 1,000 free (9:57.64), senior Ella Doerge in the 100 back (57.03), freshman Tess Simpson in the 200 back (2:00.94), senior Alia Atkinson in the 500 free (4:57.22) and senior Emily Neal in the 200 IM (2:05.12).
The foursome of Heiss, Atkinson, Doerge and Maria Sommer led a 1-2-3 Aggies finish in the 200 medley relay in a time of 1:43.08, while the quartet of Wilkinson, freshman Kristina Kontrimas, Simpson and freshman Liz Nelson held off the Aggie B team for the win in the 400 free relay in a time of 3:29.44.
Showing their impressive depth, the Aggies went 1-2-3-4 in the 100 free, 500 free and 1,000 free, 1-2-3 in the 200 IM and 1-2 in the 200 fly, 50 free, 200 breast and 100 fly.
Saturday's win over Rice was A&M's final action until Jan. 9, 2010 when the Aggies host an 11:30 a.m. double dual against No. 7 Auburn and No. 19 SMU.
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