March 18, 2011
AUSTIN --- Texas A&M freshman Breeja Larson’s runner-up finish in the 100-yard breaststroke highlighted the Aggies’ second day at the 2011 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday at the Jamail Texas Swim Center on the University of Texas campus.
In the team standings, the Aggies moved up to 10th with 124 points after two days of competition. A&M trails Cal (295), Georgia (274.5), USC (253), Stanford (192), Arizona (184), Texas (172), Florida (149), Minnesota (139) and Auburn (127).
Larson, from Mesa, Ariz., became Texas A&M’s first swimmer to break the 59-second barrier in the 100 breaststroke. Larson came into the meet already owning the school record, lowered it to 59.03 in the prelims and then to 58.51 in the final. Larson has only been swimming competitively since she was 17 and arrived at A&M with a lifetime best of 1:02 in the race.
“That was a sensational swim for a freshman,” Aggie coach Steve Bultman said. “She’s come so far in such a short amount of time. She has no fear, she just gets up and races. She came very close to winning that thing. She destroyed her own school record. It was just a very good swim.”
“It’s extremely exciting,” Larson said. “I came in with a 1:02, and Steve, Tracy (Duchac) and Temujin (Gold) have helped me in every single race by analyzing what I need to do. I love coming out of a race and having people tell me all the mistakes I’ve made because it shows I have that more room for improvement. It’s my favorite thing to hear.
Larson was also instrumental on the Aggies’ 200-yard medley relay, which set the tone for the day two evening session with a fifth-place effort. The foursome of sophomore Tess Simpson, Larson, freshman Paige Miller and senior Maria Sommer touched in 1:36.81 in the Championship final, after qualifying third in a time of 1:36.69.
Another freshman assaulting the Aggie record book was Sarah Henry, who also lowered her own school record in the 400 IM. Henry took sixth place in the Championship final in a time of 4:05.30, which broke the old school record of 4:05.48 from the Big 12 Championships. In the 400 IM consolation final, fellow freshman Cammile Adams took third (11th overall) in a lifetime best time of 4:06.98.
“It’s always awesome to do a lifetime best time, but there’s more in there,” Bultman said Henry’s race. “Even though it’s a school record and lifetime best, we believe she can go even faster. You can be a little disappointed, but you have to pleased with a lifetime best and school record.”
Freshman Paige Miller contributed more points with an eighth place finish in the 100 backstroke in a time of 52.57, after qualifying in a time of 52.43.
The Aggies closed out the meet with a 12th place finish in the 800 free relay with the foursome of freshman Lili Ibanez, Henry, sophomore Maureen McLaine and senior Hannah Kinder touching in 7:07.27.
Texas A&M at the NCAA Championships/Day One
200-yard medley relay
5th, 1:36.81, Tess Simpson, Breeja Larson, Paige Miller, Maria Sommer
3rd, 1:36.69, Tess Simpson, Breeja Larson, Paige Miller, Maria Sommer
6th, 4:05.30, Sarah Henry (school record)
11th, 4:06.98, Cammile Adams (No. 2 performer in school history)
6th, 4:05.75, Sarah Henry
11th, 4:07.62, Cammile Adams
32nd, 4:15.66, Alyssa Conner
T17th, 52.90, Paige Miller
28th, 53.38, Kendra Chernoff
36th, 53.77, Rita Medrano
19th, 1:45.41, Lili Ibanez
44th, 1:47.69, Maureen McLaine
53rd, 1:48.97, Hannah Kinder
2nd, 58.51, Breeja Larson (school record)
2nd, 59.03, Breeja Larson (school record, later broken)
25th, 1:01.23, Erica Dittmer
8th, 52.57, Paige Miller
6th, 52.43, Paige Miller
19th, 53.38, Lindsey King
20th, 53.44, Tess Simpson
43rd, 54.36, Kim Pavlin
18th, 303.25, Janie Potvin
25th, 282.75, Lorena Lujan
800-yard free relay
12th, 7:07.27, Lili Ibanez, Sarah Henry, Maureen McLaine, Hannah Kinder