COLLEGE STATION, Texas, January 23. NO. 3 Texas (6-1) claimed 10 of 16 events en route to a 169-131 victory at No. 8 Texas A&M (5-1) Friday evening in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown at Texas A&M's Student Rec Center Natatorium. The victory is the Longhorns' first over the Aggies since 2006 and the first win at the Aggies' home pool since 2005. The victory earns one point for Texas in the State Farm Lone Star Showdown standings. UT holds a 4.5-1.5 lead over Texas A&M in the season-long series between the two schools.
Texas opened the meet by defeating an Aggie 200-yard medley relay that featured Olympians Alia Atkinson, Triin Aljand and Christine Marshall. Freshman Katie Riefenstahl split 25.71 on the backstroke leg before handing off to sophomore Carlye Ellis on the breaststroke, who split 29.06. Freshman Kathleen Hersey split 23.65 on the butterfly leg before giving way to senior Hee-Jin Chang, who rallied the relay from behind in 22.16 to edge the Aggies by one one-hundredth of a second in 1:40.58.
The Longhorns claimed the next three individual events to run out to a 52-22 lead. Freshman Leah Gingrich got things started by claiming the 1000 freestyle in 9:54.85. Junior Susana Escobar took second in 9:56.84, and sophomore Natalie Sacco completed the one-two-three Texas finish in 10:00.14. Freshman Karlee Bispo and Hersey led a one-two Longhorns showing in the 200 freestyle, as Bispo took first in a NCAA "B" cut of 1:45.84 and Hersey followed in 1:46.64. Sophomore Ashleigh McCleery added a fifth-place showing in 1:49.71.
Riefenstahl added a win in the 100 backstroke in a NCAA provisional-qualifying mark of 54.34. Senior Rebecca Orr chipped in a fourth-place finish in 54.34. Texas picked up second- and third-place finishes from Ellis and junior Alexi Spann in the 100 breaststroke. Ellis took second in 1:03.34, and Spann touched in third in 1:04.25. Only minutes after claiming the 1000 freestyle, Gingrich returned to hold off Texas A&M's Rita Medrano in the 200 butterfly. Gingrich finished in a NCAA "B" cut of 1:58.18, and senior Jacqueline Martin-Lacey placed fourth in 2:01.80. Texas A&M's Triin Aljand took the 50 freestyle, where UT's Chang took second in 22.84.
Texas added eight points in the one-meter diving event behind second, third and fifth-place finishes. Senior Jessica Livingston took second with 295.88 points, and senior Kathryn Kelly placed third with 278.62 points. Freshman Shelby Cullinan took fifth with 259.28 points. Bispo and Chang teamed up for another one-two UT finish in the 100 freestyle. Bispo touched first in 49.52, and Chang followed in 50.29.
Riefenstahl added a second-place finish in the 200 backstroke in 1:59.59, and Orr took third in 1:59.60. Spann took second in the 200 breaststroke at 2:16.45 before UT garnered first, third and fifth-place finishes in the 500 freestyle. Escobar claimed the event in 4:50.65, and McCleery followed in third at 4:53.73. Sacco placed fifth in 4:55.83. The 100 butterfly featured a showdown of Olympians between Texas' Hersey and Texas A&M's Triin Aljand. Hersey, UT's school-record holder in the event, prevailed in 52.76, and Aljand took second in 53.31. Gingrich took third for Texas in 55.12.
Livingston returned to claim a narrow victory in the three-meter diving event. Livingston took first with 343.35 points, and Cullinan placed third with 302.33 points. Texas put the meet out of reach with a one-two finish from Hersey and Bispo in the 200 IM. Hersey was victorious in 1:59.13, and Bispo took second at 2:00.95. The Longhorns finished off the meet by completing a sweep of the relay events. The UT quartet of Riefenstahl, Chang, Gingrich and Bispo finished the 400 freestyle relay in 3:19.76, just ahead of the Aggie relay that finished in 3:19.91.
Texas resumes competition on Friday, Jan. 30 when it hosts No. 7 Arizona in a two-day meet at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center.
Special thanks to Texas for contributing this report.