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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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Women’s swimming finishes 6th in SEC Championships

Senior+diver+Aimee+Wilson+in+a+midair+tuck.
Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

Senior diver Aimee Wilson in a midair tuck.

Multiple members of the Texas A&M women’s swimming and diving team set personal bests and program records en route to securing a sixth place finish for the Aggies at the Southeastern Conference Championships from Tuesday, Feb. 15 to Saturday, Feb. 19 at the Jones Aquatic Center in Knoxville, Tenn.
Among a field of 12 schools, including eventual champion and event host Tennessee, the Aggies amassed 625 total points, while sending several relay teams to the NCAA Championship. A&M recently won the conference title in four consecutive years, from 2016-19.
The Aggies got off to a hot start on the first day of the meet, as sophomore Chloe Stepanek recorded the second-fastest time in the nation for this season and fastest time in team history with her time of 1:42.40, while leading off the 800-meter freestyle relay. The team went on to finish sixth in the event with a time of 7:04.12.
In the diving portion of the day, senior Aimee Wilson, a two-time SEC Diver of the Week and recipient of a pair of silver medals in 2021, came in fourth in the 1-meter final with a score of 307.70, while junior Alyssa Clairmont just missed the cut for the finals with a preliminary score of 273.45, good for ninth place out of 35 divers.
On Day 2, the 200-meter free relay, consisting of sophomore Bobbi Kennett, freshman Kaitlyn Owens, sophomore Olivia Theall and Stepanek, led the way for the Aggies. The team finished in eighth with a time of 1:28.98, while Kennett set a personal best with her 50-meter free time of 22.61 seconds.
On the day, six Aggies set season- or career-best times across seven events in both preliminaries and finals.
Day three saw the first and only podium appearance of the Championships for A&M, as Stepanek earned a bronze medal for her time of 1:44.14 in the 200-meter free. This marks her second career medal in the race, having earned a silver medal for her efforts last year. Additionally, Stepanek owns the school record for the race.
Later that day, freshman Joelle Reddin finished sixth in the C-final of the 400-meter individual medley with a career-best time of 4:17.44. Freshman Sarah Holt also clocked a personal best time of 52.92 for a 19th-place finish in the 100-meter butterfly, while Theall finished the event in eighth.
Three Aggies placed in the top 10 of the 3-meter dive, with Clairmont amassing a score of 297.75 for a spot in the finals and eighth place finish. Senior Chloe Ceyanes and Wilson were shortly behind, finishing in ninth and 10th, respectively.
On the penultimate day of the meet, Theall and Holt got things going for the maroon and white by setting personal bests and entering the A&M record books in the 200-meter fly. Theall’s time of 1:56.66 was good for 12th place in the event and eighth-best in A&M history, while Holt was just three hundredths of a second behind at 1:56.69.
Later on, freshman Aviv Barzelay’s career-best time of 53.06 earned her the top spot in the C-final of the 100-meter backstroke. After setting the fourth-fastest time in team history in the preliminaries at 59.23, Kennett finished eighth in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 59.36. Sophomore Charlotte Longbottom, junior Andrea Perttula and sophomore Desirae Mangaoang finished in the top 20, with Perttula and Mangaoang setting personal bests.
To end the day, the tandem of Barzelay, Kennett, Theall and Stepanek achieved a fifth-place finish in the 400-meter medley relay, securing an NCAA Championship appearance with a time of 3:31.66.
To begin the final day of the meet, the team of Kennett, sophomore Jordan Buechler, Owens and Stepanek finished with a time of 3:14.24, good for fourth place in the event and a spot in the NCAA Championship. Kennett’s leadoff split of 48.47 marks a personal best and is 10th all time at A&M.
To conclude her successful showing at the meet, Stepanek recorded a time of 47.78 in the 100-meter free, good for a personal best, the fourth-best time in program history and 13th-fastest time in the nation. Barzelay, Reddin, sophomore Abby Grottle and senior Mollie Wright each set personal bests in their respective events.
A&M swimming will return to the pool on Friday, Feb. 25 for a three-day last-chance meet held at the Rec Center Natatorium. Meanwhile, the divers will prepare for the NCAA Zone D Championship, starting Monday, March 7.

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