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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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Showing out on the biggest stage

No. 12 A&M women’s swimming & diving nails a top-15 placement at NCAA Championships
Photo by Katelynn Ivy

Aggie swimmer gives thumbs up to fans before beginning her race during Texas A&M’s meet against Tennessee on Friday, Oct. 27, 2023 at Rec Center Natatorium (Katelynn Ivy/The Battalion)

It’s been a remarkable year for No. 12 Texas A&M women’s swimming & diving. The team ended the regular season with just one loss to its name and rode the hot wave intoSEC Championships, where the Maroon and White placed third.

Then, on the biggest stage for college swimming in NCAA Championships, the Aggies finished top-15 in team rankings, jumping up nine spots from last year. The Maroon and White opened up Day 1 with a 15th place finish in the 800-yard freestyle relay. Freshman Katie Walker with seniors Jordan Buechler, Chloe Stepanek and Abby Grottle finished at 7:00.02, earning Honorable Mention All-American honors.

Finishing off Day 1, the 200-yard medley relay team of freshman Miranda Grana with seniors Bobbi Kennett, Olivia Theall and Stepanek clocked in at 1:36.31 to grab a top-20 spot.

A&M continued to break through on Day 2, starting in the 500-yard freestyle. After a personal best in prelims, sophomore Hayden Miller earned All-American honors for a 10th place, 4:36.60 performance in finals to also secure the third-fastest time in program history.

Coming off a win in SECs in 1-meter, sophomore Joslyn Oakley made her podium debut, scoring 311.60 to place fourth and grabbing her third All-American accolade of her career.

“I was really happy with what [Oakley] did considering how stacked the field is,” diving coach Jay Lerew said. “There are a lot of fifth-year seniors in this event and she held her own. They don’t know who she is yet, she’s just competing in her first final, but they do now and I’m really proud of her.”

Oakley continued to make splashes in the diving world on Day 3, grabbing a top-10 score in 3-meter with 317.30 to add on another All-American award.

Sophomore Giulia Goerigk picked up where Oakley left off, going a season-best 4:06.12 in the 400-yard individual medley to finish 12th and earned her first All-American award of the meet.

Boasting accolades like no other, Stepanek took home a top-5 finish in the 200-yard freestyle final, going 1:42.92 to add her seventh individual All-American award of her career.

Freshman Miranda Grana continued her strong first-year campaign with her first All-American honor in the 100-yard backstroke, finishing at 51.65 to grab eighth place.

Wrapping up an award-filled day, the 400-yard medley relay team of Grana, Kennett, Theall and Stepanek stamped another All-American award, clocking in at 3:29.34 to finish 10th.

Closing out both NCAA Championships and the season, the Aggies finished Day 4 with a strong statement and, once again, it started with Miller. The sophomore went another personal best, this time in the 1650-yard freestyle, to finish 10th and collect her second All-American accolade.

There were not one, not two but three All-American honors for Grana as she clocked in at 1:51.96 in the 200-yard backstroke to finish sixth.

With All-American awards for the taking, Stepanek and Theall collected one each in the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard butterfly, respectively. The former picked up a top-15 finish with 47.98 while the latter went a personal best at 1:54.27.

Overall, the team collected 18 All-American awards throughout the meet and placed 14th in a pool of 40 teams.

“We had a lot of good things happen this week,” coach Steve Bultman said. “We had a lot of best-times, a lot of people place. At a meet like this the percentage of best-times are very low and I’m certain we exceeded it by a good bit. To come here and get 14th, we are definitely moving in the right direction. I’m just super pleased with the team’s performance this week.”

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About the Contributor
Justin Chen
Justin Chen, Sports Writer
Justin Chen is a journalism senior minoring in sport management and communication. Justin has covered football, men's basketball, volleyball, baseball and swim & dive. Justin also writes feature NBA pieces and covered the Miami Heat for Sir Charles In Charge. When not writing, he likes to frequent the gym, support Arsenal and watch anime.
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