March 16, 2011
AUSTIN --- The Texas A&M women’s swimming and diving team will take its largest group of competitors ever to the 2011 NCAA Championships, which will be contested Thursday through Saturday at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swim Center on the University of Texas campus.
The Aggies qualified 17 competitors to the NCAA meet – 15 swimmers and two divers – which is the largest amount of swimming qualifiers and total qualifiers from any single team at the NCAA Championships. There are 13 teams at the Championships with double-digit competitors: Texas A&M, Georgia and Indiana with 15, Florida and USC with 14, Cal and Texas with 13, Auburn, Arizona and Stanford with 12, Tennessee and Virginia with 11 and North Carolina with 10.
“We have the most qualifiers in the field, which is something we’ve never done before,” Aggie head coach Steve Bultman said. “Our top goals in swimming are getting better and swimming lifetime bests, and getting to the NCAA Championships. After graduating the senior class that we did last year, it’s exciting to see that many qualifiers this year.”
Representing Texas A&M at the NCAA Championships are seniors Hannah Kinder, Lindsey King and Maria Sommer, juniors Alyssa Conner, Lorena Luján, Rita Medrano and Janie Potvin, sophomores Kendra Chernoff, Maureen McLaine and Tess Simpson and freshmen Cammile Adams, Erica Dittmer, Sarah Henry, Lili Ibañez, Breeja Larson, Paige Miller and Kim Pavlin.
“This is what we’ve been working toward and pointing at all season long,” Bultman said. “It’s exciting to have that many girls qualify for the NCAA meet. We had a lot of people step up this season. We have a bunch of freshmen that qualified, and also some first-timers, which is exciting to see. We have at least six girls that weren’t shaved for Big 12, so I believe we are ready to swim fast.”
The Aggies were sixth at last year’s NCAA Championships, and have posted four straight top eight NCAA finishes. The Aggies’ No. 6 NCAA finish in 2010 was the second-highest place in program behind only their No. 4 finish at the 2008 NCAA Championships. A&M scored 311 points which also ranked No. 2 in program history to the 2008 team’s 315 points.
“We would like to continue and build upon that streak, but our goal is simply to come here and swim well,” Bultman said. “We want to swim more lifetime bests and we want to compete hard. If we do that, our team finish will take care of itself.”
The Aggies qualified all five of their relays, with the medley relays both being seeded in the top four in the field. Seeded in the top 16 individually in swimming are: Adams in the 200 butterfly (No. 3) and 500 free (No. 13); King in the 200 IM (No. 10) and 200 back (No. 14); Sommer in the 50 free (No. 16); Henry in the 400 IM (No. 7); Ibañez in the 200 free (No. 7); Larson in the 100 breast (No. 6) and 200 breast (No. 5); Miller in the 100 back (No. 6); and Medrano in the 200 fly (No. 8).