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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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Stepping up in crunch time

A&M swimming and diving turns it up a notch as final day of SEC Championships approaches
Photo by Chris Swann/The Battalion
Senior swimmer Charlotte Longbottom takes a breath during the Women’s 200 LC Meter IM at the 2023 Art Adamson Invitational at the Texas A&M Natatorium on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

In the second-to-last day of the SEC Championships in Auburn, Alabama, the Texas A&M men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams opened up Feb. 23 on fire in prelims.

Senior Alex Sanchez joined fellow Aggies in breaking program records as he lowered his own school record in the 100-yard breaststroke in prelims with a time of 51.19 seconds.

Freshman Miranda Grana continued her campaign, leading the way in the 100-yard backstroke prelims, going for 50.99. More Aggies joined her in finals as junior Kaitlyn Owens and senior Jordan Buechler went season-bests of 52.37 and 52.98, respectively, while senior Abigail Ahren scored a personal-best of 53.71.

Senior Thomas Shomper and sophomore Tyler Hulet earned a second swim in the 100y backstroke finals, finishing 16th and 17th with times of 46.33 and 46.57, respectively.

Senior Bobbi Kennett scored a vital trip to A finals in the 100y breaststroke, recording both a personal-best time of 59.13 and a sixth-place finish. Senior Charlotte Longbottom secured a top-10 place with a career-best 59.91.

With each placement and point counting, sophomore Lane White and freshman Logan Brown earned a trip to finals in the 100y breaststroke, with White going a personal-best 52.56 and Brown close behind with 52.92.

In the final men’s diving event, sophomore Rhett Hensley and junior Matthew Aigner scored a second dive for finals, scoring 335.10 and 270.95, respectively.

With the day dwindling down, the No. 11 women’s team got to work immediately in the finals.

The trio of freshman Katie Walker, sophomore Sarah Holt and senior Olivia Theall scored crucial points in the 200-yard butterfly. With Theall leading the way with a sixth-place finish after a season-best of one minute and 56.01 seconds, Walker secured a 10th-place finish with 1:56.46 and Holt finished 12th with a season-best of 1:56.85.

The No. 8 men’s team got things going with top-15 finishes in the 200y butterfly, led by junior Clayton Conklin, finishing seventh at 1:42.57. Junior Trey Dickey scored a 12th-place finish with 1:43.90.

Hulet’s second swim of the day in the 100y backstroke was the fourth-fastest in program history, clocking in at 45.87 while Shomper finished 14th with 46.59.

Grana’s time of 50.65 in the 100y backstroke was good for both securing bronze as well as setting a new school record. Owens, Buechler and Ahrens stepped up in crunch time, scoring season-best times of 52.21, 52.77 and 52.98, respectively, to score more points for the Maroon and White.

The breaststroke duo of Kennett and Longbottom continued the momentum, securing seventh and 11th-place finishes with 59.49 and 1:00.00, respectively.

Sanchez made another appearance at the podium, finishing second in the 100y breaststroke with a time of 51.26. White and Brown notched top-20 finishes, with 52.55 and 53.05, respectively.

Hensley closed out diving with a fourth-place finish, scoring at 367.20 to earn points for the men’s team.

Closing out the night with the 400-yard medley relay, the women’s team made its way to third. Grana, Kennett, Theall and senior Chloe Stepanek clocked in at 3:28.61 to secure an A-cut.

Sophomores Connor Foote and Baylor Nelson with seniors Fuchs and Sanchez rounded out a fourth-place finish in the 400y medley relay with 3:04.72.

Heading into the final day of SECs, the women’s team sits at third while the men’s team has slipped to fifth place. The last day will feature 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 1650-yard freestyle, 400-yard freestyle relay and women’s platform diving.

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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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