Aggie Men, Women Continue to Roll at SEC Swimming and Diving ChampionshipsSports Thursday, February 16th, 2017
Texas A&M’s Henschel sets School Record, SEC Meet Record in 3M Dive Victory
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Texas A&M junior Tyler Henschel won the three-meter dive in school and meet record fashion to highlight the Aggie men’s third day at the 2017 SEC Swimming & Diving Championships on Thursday at Jones Aquatic Center on the University of Tennessee campus.
After three days of action, the Aggies were in fifth place with 414 points and were chasing Florida (759.5), Georgia (537), Auburn (495.5) and Alabama (415.5) in the team standings. Rounding out the field were Tennessee (409.5), South Carolina (380), LSU (340), Missouri (326.5) and Kentucky (248.5).
Henschel, from Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada, was consistent and sharp through his entire list and built a solid lead entering the final round, but had to produce an 80-point plus score on his final dive after LSU freshman Juan Celaya Hernandez scored an incredible 99.45 on his final effort. Henschel calmly produced an 88.35 score on a forward 3 ½ somersault pike for the victory.
“I knew going into it that I was capable of winning but that I was going to have to some serious damage. I knew that every single dive had to be my very best,” Henschel said. “As the event kept progressing, I tried to stay cool and collected. I’m sort of blind so I can’t actually see the scores on the scoreboard, but I knew that Juan had done one of the hardest dives in the world – the triple out – and he scored 99 points on that. So I just stayed calm and do my final dive like normal and try to come out on top. And that exactly what happened and I couldn’t be more proud of myself.”
In other action, junior Jonathan Tybur placed 22nd in the 400-yard IM with a lifetime best time of 3:50.97, which moved him to No. 6 on the Aggies’ all-time top 10 list in the race. Senior Turker Ayar become the fourth Aggie to post a sub-47 second time in the 100-yard butterfly with a lifetime best time of 46.79 while placing second in the C final (18th overall). Ayar now ranks No. 3 in school history behind Boris Loncaric (45.53) and Henrik Lindau (46.50).
Texas A&M Posts Two Wins, Extends Lead at SEC Swimming & Diving
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Texas A&M women’s team stacked up another strong day to extend its lead in the team standings at the 2017 Southeastern Conference Swimming and Diving Championships on Thursday at the Jones Aquatic Center on the University of Tennessee campus.
The Aggies, who are seeking to repeat as SEC Champions, finished day three with 729 points and a 128-point lead over second-place Georgia (601 points). Rounding out the field were Auburn (493), Tennessee (454), Missouri (430), Kentucky (406), Florida (331), LSU (291), South Carolina (248), Alabama (221), Arkansas (146) and Vanderbilt (30).
“We’ve been doing a good job in the morning sessions to get people qualified and then moving up a little bit at night,” head coach Steve Bultman said. “It’s been good and I’m proud of the way that we are competing. We have two more days and four more sessions, and we just have to continue to race well in the morning and get the position that we need in the finals.”
The Aggies’ talented IM crew got the team off to a fast start with a dominating performance in the 400-yard IM that accumulated 106 points from five swimmers. Texas A&M got a 1-2 finish from sophomore Sydney Pickrem and junior Bethany Galat for a second straight year. Pickrem cruised to her lifetime best of 4:02.25, which was the second-fastest in school history and shattered the old pool record of 4:03.27 by Florida’s Elizabeth Beisel from the 2012 SEC Championships.
“I tried to not to think too much about repeating, I wanted to just trust in the process and not really think about the final outcome,” said Pickrem, who competed at the 2016 Olympic Games last summer. “I’m obviously pleased with the best time — you can’t go wrong with that. There’s a lot to work on still, but I’m definitely happy with the race.”
Galat earned the silver medal with a lifetime best of 4:03.88, which was the fourth-fastest in school history. Also in the A final, sophomore transfer Monika Gonzalez-Hermosillo took sixth in a lifetime best time of 4:07.90. Junior Lisa Bratton won the B final with a season-best time of 4:07.01 and junior Esther Gonzalez placed 23rd in a season best of 4:15.00.
“I saw ‘Big Beth’ through the whole race and it’s kind of what we do every day in practice,” Pickrem said. “It’s nice to be next to someone that you know their training and what they do. As soon as we finished, we’re out of breath and Beth is like ‘THIS … WAS … SO … FUN!’ That’s what you live for — races like that.”
Senior Sarah Gibson kept the Aggies’ big night rolling by rallying to defend her 2016 SEC crown in the 100-yard butterfly with an SEC meet and pool record time of 50.71. Gibson was well behind Georgia’s Chelsea Britt at the 50- and 75-yard marks, but covered the final 25 yards in a blistering 13.34 seconds to make the up the deficit.
“I saw at the turn that I was trailing and all I could think about was that we need these points and the team is counting on me,” Gibson said. “I knew I had to abandon all caution and go for it. I was pretty sure my legs were going to fall off on that last underwater, but I put faith in my training and it seemed to work out okay.”
Junior Beryl Gastaldello was fifth in the 100 butterfly with a time of 51.82 and junior Laura Norman won the C final (17th overall) in 53.51.
The Aggies nearly completed a clean sweep of the day’s races with sophomore Claire Rasmus earning a runner-up finish in the 200 freestyle in a lifetime best time of 1:44.51. Junior Kristin Malone placed seventh with a time of 1:46.61, freshman Amy Miller took 11th in 1:46.84 and freshman Katie Portz was 23rd in 1:48.53.
Stories courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics
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