HOUSTON --- Led by another record-setting day by junior Olympian Breeja Larson, the No. 4-ranked Texas A&M women's team tallied NCAA "A" cuts in four events on the final day of the University of Houston's Phill Hansel Invitational.
Larson, from Mesa, Ariz., broke her second American and NCAA record in two days with a sizzling time of 2:04.48 in the 200-yard breaststroke during the morning prelims. She was victorious in the finals but couldn't lower her record as she touched the wall in 2:04.93. Her morning race shaved nearly two-tenths of a second off the old record of 2:04.75 set by USC's Rebecca Soni in Federal Way, Wash., in 2009. On Friday, Larson had lowered her own American and NCAA record in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 57.53.
"She just had a tremendous race in the prelims," Aggie head coach Steve Bultman said. "She had just finished the 100 free about 30 minutes before and she was so relaxed. She was very solid with her stroke and hit it just right. The crowd got excited down the stretch and got her home. It was an amazing swim. In the finals she went out a little hard, and was feeling it at the end. She does a great job in her training and her times follow."
Redshirt sophomore Sarah Henry culminated her own record-setting weekend with a school record effort in the 1,650-yard freestyle. Henry became the second Aggie to break 16 minutes in the mile with a NCAA "A" cut time of 15:51.28, while breaking Maureen McLaine's school record of 15:56.15. McLaine finished second with a "B" cut time of 16:04.52.
"She broke school records in the 500 free and the mile, so it was obviously a big weekend for Sarah," Bultman said. "She looked really strong in her mile. She's also done a great job with her training, and it shows with the results."
Junior Olympian Cammile Adams notched her "A" cut in the 200 butterfly with a time of 1:53.97, while junior Caroline McElhany was second with a "B" cut time of 1:55.60.
Also punching its ticket to the NCAA Championships was the 400 freestyle relay. The foursome of sophomore Lili Ibanez, sophomore Kelli Benjamin, freshman Meredith Oliver and sophomore Sammie Bosmas took second with an "A" cut time of 3:17.06.
Senior Tess Simpson won the 200 backstroke with a "B" cut time of 1:54.25. Also grabbing "B" cuts in the 200 back for the Aggies were freshman Claire Brandt (1:55.96) and Paige Miller (1:58.96).
In addition to Larson's winning effort in the 200 breast, the Aggies had three other swimmers tally NCAA "B" cuts. Freshman Ashley McGregor was just off an "A" cut with a runner-up finish time of 2:08.79, and freshman Romy Landeck (2:14.82) and junior Erica Dittmer (2:15.49) notched "B" cuts.
Ibanez grabbed the win in the 100 free with a time of 49.00, but had a faster "B" cut time of 48.85 in the prelims. Also grabbing "B" cuts in the race were Bosma (49.76) and Benjamin (49.92).