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Aggies sweep Day 4 at SEC Swimming & Diving

February 21, 2014
Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

Athens, Ga. --- The Texas A&M women’s swimming and diving team used star power and depth to sweep every race contested on day four of the Southeastern Conference Championships and climb back into the race for the coveted team crown.

The Aggies entered the day in third place and trailing defending champion Georgia by 265 points. But after sweeping the 200-yard butterfly, the 100 backstroke, the 100 breaststroke and the 400 medley relay, A&M catapulted to second place and within 187 points of the Bulldogs. Amazingly, it was the second year in a row that the Aggies have swept the day four events at the SEC Championships.

“It was nearly a perfect day for the Aggies,” Aggie head coach Steve Bultman said. “It was pretty awesome to do it last year in our home pool, but I think it’s more impressive this year because the conference has gotten faster. It will be a dogfight tomorrow. We have a good day tomorrow but so does Georgia, so we’ll just have to ready to step up and race. It will be imperative to take care of business in the morning session.”

Senior Cammile Adams got the Friday sweep started with a strong victory in her specialty, the 200-yard butterfly. Sufficiently challenged by runner-up Hali Flickinger of Georgia, who actually led after the first 100 yards, Adams used her back-half surge to pull away to a second-and-a-half victory in a school and SEC meet record time of 1:52.19. Adams is a four-time conference champion in the 200 fly with two crowns in the Big 12 and two in the SEC. Taking third in the race was senior Caroline McElhany in a season-best 1:54.87, and junior Emily Neubert won the C final with a lifetime-best time of 1:58.85.

Fellow senior Paige Miller kept the Aggies on the winning track with a come-from-behind victory in the 100 backstroke. Miller trailed Georgia freshman Olivia Smoliga by .03 after the first 50, but rallied for the win in a school record time of 50.91, as she dipped under 51 seconds for the first time ever. Like Adams, Miller is a four-time conference champion in the 100 backstroke – two in the Big 12 and two in the SEC. The Aggies also received solid points from Kelli Benjamin (10th, 53.08), Claire Brandt (12th, 53.80) and Melanie McClure (23rd, 54.63).

Perhaps the highlight of the night was senior Breeja Larson’s huge victory in the 100 breaststroke. Already the SEC, NCAA, US Open and American record holder in the race with a time of 57.43, Larson was dominant from start to finish as destroyed her record with a time of 57.28 as she won by nearly a full second over Tennessee’s Molly Hannis (58.22). Larson went out in a blistering 27.0 and came home in 30.28 to break the record and log the third conference title of her illustrious career. The Aggies scored huge points in the race as freshman Sycerika McMahon placed fourth in a lifetime best 59.35, sophomore Ashley McGregor was fifth in 59.70 and freshman Franko Jonker was 11th in 1:00.33.

The Aggies closed out the perfect night with a dominant victory in the 400 medley relay for the second straight year. The same foursome that won in 2013 – Miller, Larson, McElhany and senior Liliana Ibanez --- overpowered the field in 2014 by nearly a second in a time of 3:29.03.

Aggies in the Top 24

200 Butterfly

1.      Cammile Adams                 1:52.19 A (new A&M, SEC record)

3.      Caroline McElhany             1:54.87 B

17.    Emily Neubert                     1:58.85 B

100 Backstroke

1.      Paige Miller                          50.91A (new A&M record)

10.    Kelli Benjamin                     53.08 B

12.    Claire Brandt                        53.80 B

23.    Melanie McClure               54.63 B

100 Breaststroke

1.      Breeja Larson                      57.28 A (new A&M, SEC, NCAA, US Open and American record)

4.      Sycerika McMahon           59.35 B

5.      Ashley McGregor               59.70 B

11.    Franko Jonker                     1:00.33 B

400 Medley Relay

1.            Texas A&M (Paige Miller, Breeja Larson, Caroline McElhany and Liliana Ibanez)  3:29.03


Feb. 18-22, 2014

Saturday, February 22

Prelims - 9 a.m. CT
Men's and Women's 100 Freestyle
Men's and Women's 200 Backstroke
Men's and Women's 200 Breaststroke

Prelims - 12 p.m. CT
Women's Platform Diving

Finals - 3 p.m. CT
Men's and Women's 1,650 Freestyle

Finals - 5 p.m. CT
Men's and Women's 100 Freestyle
Men's and Women's 200 Backstroke
Men's and Women's 200 Breaststroke
Women's Platform Diving
Men's and Women's 400 Freestyle Relay

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