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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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Going for three

SSP-8.jpg
SSP-8.jpg

The two-time defending Southeastern Conference champion Texas A&M women’s swimming and diving team will host the SEC Championships on Feb. 14-18. The Aggies also hosted the meet during their first season in the conference in 2013.

“It’s pretty sweet, really,” head coach Steve Bultman said on the team’s two conference championships. “If you would have told me that was going to happen 19 years ago when I first got here, I’m not sure I would have believed it. It’s pretty neat to see how the team has progressed.”

The Aggies are 6-1 and already have two SEC wins under their belt this season, with a 171-122 win over Auburn and a 169-118 victory over Missouri. The team is also ranked No. 1 on the NCAA Swimming and Diving Coaches Poll.

“We’ve proved a lot throughout the season and I’m expecting to just continue that success,” senior Bethany Galat said. “I feel like [the SEC wins are] just the icing on the cake. Coming in every day at practice, and each of us are focusing on our technical details and trying to fix our mistakes in so many different ways. Having the reward to win something makes it all worth it.”

With Bultman at the helm of the program, the Aggies have won the 2016 and 2017 SEC Championships, and the 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012 Big 12 Championships. Last year, the women accumulated 1,034 points to win the SEC championship ahead of runner-up Georgia (1,113). 

“Being at home, it would be an honor to try and get it for a third time,” junior Sydney Pickrem said. “That’s definitely the goal and hopefully we can do all that we can to achieve it.”

Pickrem individually won the 400 IM and the 200 breaststroke. She also had a leg in the victorious 800 freestyle relay team at last year’s SEC Championships. Galat, who was the 200 breaststroke champion in 2016, earned third place in the 200 breast in 2017. Senior Jorie Caneta also added a first-place victory in the 100 backstroke.

“Being the SEC champions the previous two years puts good pressure [on us],” Galat said. “We know our potential and I think that’s very healthy for us to know what we can do and we’re striving to do even more each season. Our whole staff believes in us, our whole team believes in each other and it’s a healthy environment to be a part of.”

Pickrem said the pressure for the team to achieve the same kind of success as they have in years past is key to their performance this year. 

“I’ve learned a lot from anxiety,” Pickrem said. “It’s something that you need to learn to like because you never really swim well without the nerves or without anxiety. Being at home, we’re definitely going to have a bigger crowd than we normally do. We just want to do everything we can for A&M and for the people that support us.”

Galat said before a meet she focuses on staying in the present and enjoying the moment rather than focusing on the outcome of her swims. 

“Having a goal to win or to place is hard because you can’t control your competitors,” Galat said. “I think it’s best to control what you can control and do the best that you can do. That’s all you can ask for.”

Pickrem also said she has a similar mindset going into the SEC Championship, focusing on her personal times rather than placing in her races.

“Trying to get best times is always my goal,” Pickrem said. “Whatever happens on the podium and your placing is what it is, but if I can go best times, then I’m happy.”

The SEC championships will start on Wednesday, Feb. 14 at the Student Recreation Center Natatorium.

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