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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Photo by Timothy Tai
2016 SEC Champions

Texas A&M men’s and women’s swimming and diving traveled to Columbia, Missouri to compete at the 2016 SEC Championships.

The women’s swim team earned their first SEC Championship since A&M joined the conference. The A&M victory snaps Georgia’s six year streak of being the reigning SEC Champion.  A&M head coach Steve Bultman said he admired the fight his team showed throughout the week in route to their victory.

“It was a battle all week,” Bultman told “It was close. Every night the lead see-sawed back and forth because different team had different strengths. It was a lot of fun and that’s what you want to bring out the best in the competitors with different people stepping up from all the teams.”

Sophomore Lisa Bratton earned two individual victories for the maroon and white. Bratton’s first victory came in the 200-yard IM with a time of 1:54.97, which set a Mizzou pool record and guaranteed her a spot at NCAA Championships in Atlanta, Georgia. Come March 16-19. Her second victory came in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 1:50.64 in which she lowered her own record by two seconds.

Also earning individual awards were freshman Sydney Pickrem, Bratton and sophomore Bethany Galat swept the podium in the 400-yard IM. Galat earned an individual gold medal in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Despite an eighth place finish the men’s portion of the competition, underclassmen stood out the most for the Aggies with record performances across the board.

Freshman diver Sam Thornton became the third diver since Texas A&M joined the SEC to earn an individual title in diving after scoring a 411.15 in the three-meter springboard.

“It’s really hard to believe,” Thornton told “There are so many great divers in the SEC and to being able to get the victory at my first conference meet is a huge honor and to be able to add to the great diving tradition that guys like Ford McLiney and Grant Nel have built at Texas A&M.”

Sophomore Mauro Castillo broke the A&M swimming record for the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 52.65 earning him a third place victory. Texas A&M head coach Jay Holmes said that he visualized Castillo breaking the record since the beginning of the season but was not expecting the end result.
“My only surprise was how he did it. We’ve been planning all year for him to go 52, that’s been in the works the whole way.” Holmes told “But the way he did it…I think he was last at the 50 but his second 50 was pretty incredible. It was really a great race for Mauro.”

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