April 7, 2011
Texas A&M freshman Breeja Larson's breakthrough performance at the NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships was recognized when she was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year on Thursday.
Larson, from Mesa, Arizona, came within a whisker of sweeping the 100- and 200-yard breaststrokes at the 2011 NCAA Championships with runner-up finishes by a combined .18 of a second in the races. Larson was second to Minnesota's Haley Spencer by .06 in the 200 breast in a school record time of 2:06.18 and second behind Minnesota's Jillian Tyler by .12 in the 100 breast in a school record time of 58.51. Also at the NCAA Championships, Larson swam the breaststroke leg on a pair of scoring medley relays. At the Big 12 Championships, Larson also logged a pair of runner-up finishes in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes.
Larson's biggest competition for Big 12 Newcomer of the Year came from her teammate Cammile Adams, who earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Meet at the Big 12 Championships in late February. Adams earned two gold medals and a silver at the conference meet and went on to score in three events at the NCAA Championships. Adams was the runner-up in the 200 fly, won consolation final of the 500 free and took 11th in the 400 IM at the 2011 NCAA Championships.
Texas A&M's 2010 signing class produced an impressive 11 first- or second-place individual finishes, including four victories, at the Big 12 Championships. All of the Aggies' relay at the conference meet featured at least two freshmen. Seven freshmen advanced to the NCAA Championships, which is the most in school history, and combined for nine top 16 finishes.