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

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

The Battalion

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Aggies finish SEC Championships with 11 new school records

Following the long five-day event of the SEC Championships in Auburn, Alabama, the Texas A&M men’s swimming and diving team finished in second, while the women’s team came in sixth.
A&M brought home 15 total medals with six gold, six silver and three bronze, in addition to setting 11 new school records.
The men’s team accumulated a total of 975.5 points, falling just short to winners the Florida Gators, who scored 1,194 points. This is the Gators’ eighth consecutive year to win the SECs. Last year, the men came in fourth; this year, they notched their best finish in school history.
On Saturday, the Aggies added three individual medals, while also medaling in the relay event. Sophomore Shaine Casas scored the team’s first medal of the day, his third of the championships as an individual, after he surpassed U.S. Olympian Ryan Lochte’s SEC 200 back record with a time of 1:37.20.
Casas was awarded the Men’s Swimming & Diving Commissioner’s Trophy, which is awarded to the top point scorer of the meet. Casas is the first Aggie to receive this honor.
Casas also led A&M to its first win of the meet, as his 200 medley relay team, also including Benjamin Walker, Adam Koster and Mike Thibert earned the program’s first ever SEC title in the event with a pool record time of 1:23.49. Tennessee came in second at 1:24.85, while Florida took third place with a time of 1:24.51.
Casas and the 400 free relay team (Casas, junior Mark Theall, sophomore Kaloyan Bratanov and senior Adam Koster) placed second in 2:49.27.
Junior diver Kurtis Mathews was named the Men’s Diver of the Meet after he made history for A&M in the 1-meter springboard dive with 436.50 points and was named the SEC Championships Men’s Diver of the Meet, voted by the diving coaches. Kurtis Mathews of Texas A&M won the men’s three-meter springboard with a final score of 438.55. Danny Zhang of Kentucky claimed second place with a score of 422.10, and Matthew Wade of Tennessee placed third with a score of 420.20.
The Texas A&M men’s team also notched a 1-2 finish as Walker defended his 200 breast SEC title and freshman Andres Puente came in second, making his first trip to the podium. Walker’s time of 1:51.92 secured the first place medal and set a new A&M record. Puente clocked in a time of 1:52.39.
The women’s team has won the SECs the last four years but came short this year. The Aggies ranked in 851 points, and the winner of the women’s SECs was Tennessee who scored 1,108 points.
“Obviously we would have liked to finish higher,” women’s head coach Steve Bultman told “But we knew going in that it was going to be tough with the sickness and injuries we’ve had this year and just graduating some good swimmers. Regardless, I was proud. The girls stepped up and raced really well. We were sixth at one point and battled back to second for a while. Today, we would have liked to be better, but now we have to be ready and finish the year strong and start gearing up for next year.”
To get the meet started, junior Joy Field finished in 11th place in the 1,650 free with a time of 16:22.09. Senior Karling Hemstreet added points for the team with her best time of 16:34.24, earning herself the 22nd spot.
The Aggies closed out the individual swimming events with three top-20 finishes in the 200 breast. Sophomore Caroline Theil led the way as she placed 14th with a time of 2:11.75. Senior Victoria Roubique came in 17th and set a new personal best with a time of 2:10.99, while sophomore Kylie Powers rounded out the group in the 19th spot with a time of 2:12.09.
In diving, freshman Alyssa Clairmont advanced in the platform dive event to the final, and earned herself a fourth place finish with a score of 256.20.
The women’s swim team will now head to the pool for the Speedo Sectionals Feb. 27-March 1 in College Station, before heading to Athens, Georgia, where they will meet the men’s team for the NCAA Championships from March 18-21.
The diving team will prepare for the NCAA Zone D Championships in Dallas, March 9-11.

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