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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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One step away
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Rivalry rematch at the natatorium

Photo by FILE

The women’s team is currently undefeated (3-0) and the men’s team is 2-1. Both teams will look to add a number in the win column against Texas, on Friday. 

The Texas A&M swimming and diving teams will host the Texas Longhorns on Friday in their first home meet of the season. The No. 11 Aggie men face the defending three-time national champions No. 5 Texas, while the No. 5 women take on the No. 2-ranked Longhorns.
“We’re number five, so everybody’s pretty excited,” Steve Bultman, women’s swimming head coach, said. “It’s just one of those meets. Whoever steps up that day has a shot to win. It’s going to be close. It’s going to be fun.”
The women are currently undefeated at 3-0, including two wins over the ranked teams Notre Dame and Auburn. The men sit at 2-1 after a narrow 168-132 loss to Auburn on Oct. 21.
The last time the men faced Texas in the pool was for their 2014 season opener, which they lost 153-115. The women fell to the burnt orange-and-white on Nov. 3, 2016 by a margin of 166.5-128.5.
“Even the ones who aren’t from Texas understand what this really means,” Jay Holmes, men’s swimming head coach, said. “We’re just looking for a great meet. There’ll be a lot of excitement there.”
Five Aggie women hold spots on the NCAA Top 10 Best Times list. Beryl Gastaldello leads with three spots — sixth in the 50 free (22.40), sixth in the 100 free (48.68) and 10th in the 100 fly (53.43).
“I’m pretty pumped,” Gastaldello said. “The whole team is pumped. We’re doing really well in practice, the team atmosphere is incredible and there’s just a lot of hype for this Friday. I’m excited regardless of the outcome. I think everyone has a positive attitude and is ready to go.”
Lisa Bratton, Jorie Caneta and Bethany Galat each earned two spots on the list, and Anna Belousova added one spot.
Mauro Castillo leads the men on the NCAA Top 25 Best Times list, coming in at eighth in the 200 breast (1:58.56), 12th in the 100 breast (54.55) and 22nd in the 200 IM (1:48.99).
“It’s the first dual meet versus Texas since my freshman year, so I’m really excited and looking forward to it,” Castillo said. “Swimming at home is just the best feeling because people show up and cheer for the Aggies and it’s a really good experience.”
Brock Bonetti follows Castillo with fourth in the 200 back (1:44.18) and eighth in the 100 back (47.39). Adam Koster, Anthony Kim and Ben Walker also earned two spots each on the list.
The Texas women’s roster boasts a lineup of 11 juniors and redshirt juniors who have been on a pool deck for an NCAA Championship meet.
“They are a good team,” Bultman said. “There are no holes in their lineup, and so we’re going to have to be ready to compete with them.”
The Texas men’s squad includes USA National Team member Townley Haas, who has earned three gold medals for Team USA.
The Aggie men’s team boasts a USA National Team member of its own, with senior Jonathan Tybur, who battles ulcerative colitis, recently earning his spot.
“That’s pretty exciting especially with his story,” Holmes said. “He’s got some obstacles, but he has overcome, and so for him to get up and make the National Team, we were very excited about that.”
The two teams will kick off the rivalry meet at 6 p.m. in the Rec Center Natatorium.
“It’s Texas versus A&M,” Holmes said. “It’s just going to be a great meet.”

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