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NCAA Div. I Women: Aggies Nip LSU in Final Event -- January 19, 2002

BATON ROUGE, La., Jan. 19. THE Texas A&M women's swimming and diving team earned its best win of the year, a 154-145 defeat of 24th-ranked Louisiana State University, in dramatic fashion at the LSU Natatorium on Friday afternoon.

Both teams were tied entering the final event of the day, the 400-yard freestyle relay. The Aggie foursome of Danielle Townsend, Sarah Yates, Michelle Bird and Laura DeCook needed a seasonal best effort to win the race, and the meet, and delivered in a big way. A&M outtouched LSU 3:28.40 to 3:28.79 to earn 11 points and the meet win. A&M's previous seasonal best time of 3:29.79 would have cost them the meet.

The Aggies opened the meet with a win in the 400-yard medley relay. A&M just missed their seasonal best time of 3:50.27, swum last week against Kansas, by clocking a time of 3:50.85.

A trio of freshmen backstrokers flexed their muscles for the second meet in a row by sweeping the top three spots in both the 100 and 200-yard races. Courtney Patterson, Ashley Roark and Christina Thompson, the same trio that gave Kansas fits on Sunday, finished 1-2-3 in the 100 and 3-1-2 in the 200-yard event, respectively. Roark pounded her seasonal best of 2:05.03 in the 200 by swimming 2:03.67 in claiming the win. She was even more inspiring in the 200-yard individual medley, chopping more than two seconds off her seasonal best by finishing first in a time of 2:05.68.

All-American Clara Ho cooled off, relatively speaking, by winning the 200 butterfly in a more mortal time of 2:02.04. Ho automatically qualified for the NCAA championships on Sunday against Kansas after swimming an A&M school record of 1:59.17. Ho claimed second in the 100 butterfly in a provisional time of 55.94.

Freshman Danielle Townsend continued her strong seasonal showing in the 50-yard freestyle by winning in a time of 24.15. Townsend was second in the 100 free in a time of 52.29.

All-American diver Meghan Zack suffered a pair of rare defeats on the springboards on Friday. Zack finished second on the one-meter after being defeated 296.63-260.93 by LSU's Jamie Watkins. Zack tumbled to fourth place on the three-meter with a score of 278.03.

Freshmen Kelsey Savage and Tiffany Moore claimed a pair of runner-up finishes in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke and the 500 and 1,000-yard freestyle, respectively.

The Aggies, now 4-3, are on a three meet win streak after claiming their first win over a top 25 opponent this season.

On Saturday, the Aggies will drive to Monroe, La. to take on the University of Louisiana-Monroe at Lake C. Oxford Natatorium at 11 a.m.