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Record-setting Larson wins another gold at SEC

February 22, 2014
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
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(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

Athens, Ga. --- Texas A&M’s record-setting Breeja Larson took down another meet record and grabbed a gold medal to help propel the Aggies to a runner-up team finish in the Southeastern Conference Championships on Saturday at the University of Georgia.

Texas A&M scored 1,204 points while earning runner-up honors to Georgia for the second straight year. The Bulldogs won the team race with 1,589 points, trailed by A&M, Florida (1,130), Auburn (804), Tennessee (780), Arkansas (572), LSU (548), Alabama (526), Missouri (475.5), Kentucky (426), South Carolina (260) and Vanderbilt (186.5).

Larson, from Mesa, Ariz., was at her best on Saturday as she shattered her own SEC meet record in the morning prelims and then cruised to a dominating victory in the 200-yard breaststroke. Larson set the meet record with a time of 2:04.92 in the morning and then pulled away from the field to win in the final by over a second in 2:05.19. Sophomore Ashley McGregor placed fifth in the race with a lifetime best time and NCAA A cut time of 2:07.38, while freshman Franko Jonker was sixth in the B final in a time of 2:11.50.

After the meet, Larson was named SEC Women’s Swimmer of the Meet for the second straight year. For the meet, Larson posted victories in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, both in record-setting fashion, and swam the breaststroke leg on the Aggies’ winning 400 medley relay. She also placed 11th in the 50 free, and swam legs on the Aggies’ third-place 200 free relay and fourth-place 200 medley relay.

Junior Sarah Henry shined in the 1,650 freestyle as she cruised to a third-place finish in a season-best time of 15:52.74. Also scoring big points in the mile was sophomore Colleen Konetzke, who placed ninth with a lifetime best and NCAA B time of 16:16.55. Junior Ellen Quirke chipped in two points with a 23rd place finish in 16:41.28.

Five Aggies earned evening swims in the 100 freestyle. Junior Lili Ibanez led the way with a fifth place finish in the Championship final in a lifetime best time of 48.18. In the B final, junior Sammie Bosma placed second in 48.74 and senior Erica Dittmer was fifth in 48.96. In the C final, sophomore Meredith Oliver placed third in 49.25 and junior Kelli Benjamin was fourth in 49.31.

Senior Melanie McClure made a strong bid to make her second straight trip to the NCAA Championships with a lifetime best time of 1:54.01 while placing fifth in the Championship final of the 200 backstroke. Her 1:54.01 put her No. 3 in school history in the race. In the B final, sophomore Claire Brandt was fourth in 1:55.24 and freshman Maddie Edwards was seventh in 1:57.01.

The Aggies closed out the meet with a fourth-place finish in the 400 free relay with the foursome of Bosma, Dittmer, Oliver and Ibanez touching the wall in a time of 3:14.77.

Aggies in the Top 24

1,650 Freestyle

3.      Sarah Henry                         15:52.74 A

9.      Colleen Konetzke              16:16.55 B

23.    Ellen Quirke                          16:41.28

100 Freestyle

5.      Lili Ibanez                              48.18 B

10.    Sammie Bosma                   48.74 B

13.    Erica Dittmer                        48.96 B

19.    Meredith Oliver                  49.25 B

20     Kelli Benjamin                     49.31 B

200 Backstroke

5.      Melanie McClure               1:54.01 B

12.    Claire Brandt                        1:55.24 B

15.    Maddie Edwards                1:57.01 B

200 Breaststroke

1.      Breeja Larson                      2:05.19 A (2:04.92 in prelims/SEC meet record)

5.      Ashley McGregor               2:07.38 A

14.    Franko Jonker                     2:11.50B (2:11.32 in prelims)

400 Free Relay

4.      Texas A&M (Sammie Bosma, Erica Dittmer, Meredith Oliver and Lili Ibanez)               3:14.77

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