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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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Men’s, Women’s swim and dive both in first place after day one at SEC Championships


The Aggies men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both will look to improve in multiple areas this season.

After a full day of competition at the SEC Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee, both the Texas A&M men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams are in first place. The women lead the field of teams thanks to a record breaking win in the 800m free relay.

The Aggie women are looking to defend their SEC crown from 2016. The title defense began when  they captured a win in the 800m free relay in record breaking time. The relay, consisting of senior Sarah Gibson, sophomores Sydney Pickrem and Claire Rasmus and freshman Katie Portz posted a time of 6:57:90 — surpassing the previous record of 6:58:80 set at the 2014 SEC Championships by Aggies Liliana Ibanez, Meredith Oliver, Kelli Benjamin and Sarah Henry by almost a full second.

By taking the relay, A&M ended a winning streak the Bulldogs have held since 2010 and captured its first win in the 800m free relay since the 2010 Big 12 Championships.

Following the win, Gibson said the victory is just proof of what the team has accomplished and will only help them down the stretch the remainder of the competition.

Georgia has been a powerhouse for so long in that race so to get the victory is a testament to where we’ve come from as a team and where we’re going,” Gibson said to “We’ve talked before that we wanted to get the school record and to get it here and know that we’re capable of going faster at NCAAs is really exciting.”

As it stands now for the women, Georgia is in second place at 155 points with Mizzou in third at 146 points.

On the diving board, seniors Madison Hudkins and Zoe Alaniz combined to score 38 points in the three-meter dive. Hudkins took third place at 365.05 and Alaniz finished in 16th at 286.35.

The 800m relay wasn’t the only record breaking performance — in the 200 medley relay, juniors Beryl Gastaldello and Jorie Caneta, Gibson, and sophomore Lexie Gibson took second place in 1:35.33 but broke the previous record of 1:35.39 set at the 2014 NCAA Championships.

On the men’s side, the Aggie men finished the day in first place at 188 points with a solid lead ahead of the LSU Tigers at 154 points and Auburn at 128 points.

A&M jumped out to a big lead thanks to performances on the one-meter dive from junior Tyler Henschel, sophomore Sam Thornton and senior Colton Haffey. The three Aggies finished third, fourth and sixth in the final respectively — earning a combined total of 94 points — the most ever in a single event at a conference meet.

“It’s extremely hard to get three divers in the top eight in a field like we face in the SEC,” A&M head diving coach Jay Lerew said to “It’s quite an accomplishment. To get into the top eight, you basically couldn’t miss a dive and we had three guys do it. I didn’t know about the 94 points being a record but it all adds up and it’s a great way to start the meet.”

Another solid finish came in the 200m medley relay with the team of juniors Brock Benetti and Mauro Castillo Luna, and seniors Turker Ayar and Corey Bolleter taking third place in 1:23:91. By finishing in 1:23:91, the relay team broke a school record the four had set in 1:25:13 at the Art Adamson Invitational last fall.

The SEC Championships will continue tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. with the men’s and women’s 500m free preliminaries.

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