AMES, Iowa, October 19. THE University of Texas men dominated the Big 12 Relays, winning 14 of 16 events, while the Aggies of Texas A&M did the same to take the victory for the women.
On the men's side, UT took first with 103 points, while Texas A&M took second with 70 points and Missouri placed third with 66 points.
Seniors Daniel Rohleder (Austin, Texas) and Caleb McDermott (Canyon Lake, Texas) and sophomores Ricky Berens (Charlotte, N.C.) and Hill Taylor (Birmingham, Ala.) led the Longhorns by swimming on six victorious relays apiece. Freshman Brian Wilson (Short Hills, N.J.) swam on five winning relays for Texas.
Competing as a diving relay duo, freshman Matt Cooper (Bethesda, Md.) and sophomore Mike Wong (Cerritos, Calif.) claimed the one- and three-meter diving relays.
On the women's side, the Aggies set a new team record for points at the meet by outscoring the University of Texas 117-88. The old record of 115 came in last year's first place finish in Lincoln, Neb.
"After sweeping all the races last year, I felt like we had chance to do it again," A&M head coach Steve Bultman said. "There were a handful of races where we had to come from behind to win but the girls came through each time and did a great job."
A&M hit the pedal from the start and didn't let up all day, winning 14 of the 16 relays by more than a full second. Despite the overwhelming number of victories, Texas did give A&M several tests during the day.
The 200 freestyle relay group of Alia Atkinson (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), Codie Hansen (Arlington), Sarah Woods (Birmingham, Ala.), and Triin Aljand (Tallinn, Estonia) raced past the Longhorns on Aljand's impressive early season 22.74 anchor leg to earn the win in 1:34.71.
Ten-time All-American Christine Marshall (Newport News, Va.) went by Texas' Alison Soelter on the final leg of the 150-yard fly relay to earn A&M the win in the 12th race of the day.
The 3 x 500 freestyle relay was also a tight battle. Big 12 Swimmer of the Year Kristen Heiss (Casper, Wyo.) clocked a 4:54.11 on the third and final leg to catch Texas senior Delia Huang. A&M topped Texas in the longest race of the day, 14:53.14 to 14:58.43.
World championship 200 IM finalist Julia Wilkinson (Stratford, Ont.) erased a 1.5 second deficit in the 4 x 100-yard IM relay with a blazing anchor leg of 57.02 to give A&M the win in 3:56.04. Wilkinson also came to the rescue in the 200-400-200 IM relay, getting the Aggies the lead on the breaststroke portion of her anchor leg and hitting the wall approximately a second-and-a-half ahead of Texas' Alison Soelter.
A&M's 400 freestyle relay group of Hansen, Melissa Hain (Kingwood), Wilkinson, and Marshall earned an NCAA consideration time of 3:23.92. Among those earning individual ‘B' cut qualifying standards were Aljand, 100 fly, 55.08; Atkinson, 100 breast, 1:02.87, and Wilkinson, 100 back, 55.91.
"Overall, I was pleased," Bultman said. "We had some great swims for the first meet of the year. There are things we need to get better on but that's why we swim these meets — to see where we're at and what we need to work on."
Special thanks to The University of Texas and Texas A&M for contributing to this report