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The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Swimming, diving teams travel to Austin

Time is running short in the 2002-2003 season for the Texas A&M men’s swim team. The schedule that began in October will come to its culmination in three weeks at the NCAA Championships held at the Jamail Swim Center on the University of Texas at Austin campus.
Starting today on the same grounds in which the NCAA Championships will take place, the Aggies will be afforded one last chance to get their feet wet in preparation for the season-ending meet at the American Short Course Championships.
The Aggies, who this week received a season high national ranking of No. 14, are coming off the strongest performance for the squad ever at a Big 12 meet. The showing at the Big 12 Championships, when the team placed second behind three-time defending national champion Texas, put the Aggies in a position to send a strong contingent of swimmers to the NCAA meet. Junior Matt Rose was the only Aggie to grab a guaranteed slot at the upcoming event, swimming a 43.45 in the 100-yard freestyle and setting a new A&M record while propelling himself to Swimmer of the Meet honors.
Despite Rose being the only Aggie so far to qualify automatically for the NCAA Championships, the team looks to have at least seven swimmers hit the pool at the end of this month. This number is equal to what the Aggies put in the pool last year when the club finished in 22nd place at the meet.
“Right now we’re looking at seven swimmers,” said Head Coach Mel Nash. “(Taking into account) past history, that’s what should get invited. We have the one automatic, but some of the others are forgone conclusions.”
This weekend’s meet gives the Aggie men one final opportunity to solidify their chances for getting the invite to the NCAA meet. The more Aggies who receive individual invites, the better chance the men have to finish the season with a high team ranking. The Aggies’ No.14 ranking will get thrown out the window as they prepare to head to Austin again.
“It’s nice to get the recognition,” Nash said. “We have a very well-balanced dual-meet team but as far as coming into the NCAAs, it doesn’t matter at all. We are a little better dual meet team than we are championship team.”
The men’s 400-yard freestyle relay team has an NCAA consideration time, as do sophomore Dan Blanchard and junior Scott Mueller in the 100 freestyle, sophomore Alfredo Jacobo, who set a school record at the Big 12 meet, and freshman Alex Dawson in the 200-yard breaststroke.
Despite the fact that few swimmers around the nation have been putting up record-setting times this season, Nash says qualifying NCAA times might improve because of the increasing number of talented swimmers in recent years.
“We’ll find out a lot more this weekend,” Nash said. “No one is out there that has been shocking the world, but the depth is improving every year, and the fastest time may not improve, but the time to get into the Championship does.”
This weekend’s meet will last until Sunday. The NCAA Championships will take place on March 27-29.

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