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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Aggie men heading to NCAA’s in Austin

Last week the Texas A&M women sent nine swimmers to the NCAA Championships in Alabama, but things didn’t go quite as planned. The women came back empty-handed, but perhaps they learned a bit about why men’s swimming and diving Head Coach Mel Nash holds the meet in such high esteem.
“It definitely is the most stressful meet of any you’ll find,” Nash said. “Everyone I’ve talked to who’s been in the Olympics and the NCAA meet says that the NCAAs have more electricity. With eight teams and 32 guys all back in the lanes, it is really an electric atmosphere.”
This weekend, the No. 14 men’s team will get its crack at the nation’s best as it heads to Austin for the third time this month to compete in the 2003 NCAA Championships, hosted by the University of Texas. The men will go into the meet carrying seven swimmers and two divers, equaling the size of the women’s contingent exactly, but Nash and the men are hoping to draw from their recent success at the meet in cracking the goose egg off the scoreboard.
“The difference for us is that we have Matt Rose, Scott Mueller, Dan Blanchard and Alfredo Jacabo, who have all been there and scored at the meet and know what it’s like. Plus we have a real track record of going to the meet and scoring,” Nash said.
The men set off this year with hopes of making a march toward the nation’s Top 25, despite the fact that this year had already been dubbed a rebuilding year by Nash. The definition came early in the season as the men set out bottom-heavy, having only four seniors on the roster, compared to 13 freshmen.
“Seeing as we are so incredibly young, we needed some of our freshmen to become sophomores, and they did the job and did very well,” Nash said.
The Aggies are heading back into Austin devoid of any of those four seniors on their NCAA roster, but that doesn’t mean the Aggies are lacking any experience.
The squad will be led by junior Matt Rose, who will be swimming in the 50 and 100-yard freestyles as well as the 100-yard backstroke. Rose will also be swimming on the Aggie relay teams, one of the most crucial aspects of the meet. The relay races count as double toward the team points, which are tallied at the end to place the teams.
The placement of the teams at the meet is the team’s final ranking, regardless of what it
may have been ranked during the dual meet season.
Rose, Mueller, Blanchard and Jacobo will be joined by freshman Andrew Sullivant, sophomore Calvin Zielsdorf and junior Chris Nelan. The team is also sending two divers: freshman Christian Picard and junior Adam Morgan.
The Aggies are eligible to compete in all five relays, but it will be a game-time decision
about whether they will actually compete in all of them.
“I think we are going to surprise some people,” Nelan said. “We are young, but we have a lot of experience, and have balance with our inexperience … plenty of guys are ready for a breakthrough swim.”
The meet begins today at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, and will continue through Sunday.

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