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Texas A&M women grab silver in 400 medley relay, break two school records at NCAAs

(Source: Texas A&M Athletics)

(Source: Texas A&M Athletics)

INDIANAPOLIS – The Texas A&M women’s swimming and diving team matched its highest national meet relay finish and broke a pair of school records to highlight its second day at the 2017 NCAA Championships on Thursday at the IU Natatorium.

The Aggies stand in fifth place after two days of action with 108 points and trail Stanford (213 points), California (136), Texas (119) and Georgia (112). Rounding out the top 10 in the team standings were Louisville (93), Michigan (74), NC State (71), Southern California (68) and Indiana (61).

Texas A&M closed out the night with a huge effort in the 400-yard medley relay by grabbing runner-up honors and shattering the school record in the process. The foursome of junior Lisa Bratton, junior Jorie Caneta, senior Sarah Gibson and junior Béryl Gastaldello touched in a record-setting time of 3:27.60. The 2017 edition took down the old school record of 3:28.13 set by the 2014 group of Paige Miller, Breeja Larson, Caroline McElhany and Liliana Ibanez. The second-place effort matched the Aggies’ NCAA runner-up finish in the 800 free relay at the 2008 national meet.

“That was great – new school record and tied for the highest relay finish in school history,” Aggie head coach Steve Bultman said. “That was Lisa’s best time, Jorie’s best split, it was just a shade off of Sarah’s best split and Beryl just gutted out that last 25. They did a great job of racing and got our hand on the wall. It was a lot of fun to see.”

The Aggies opened the night with a big swim in the 200-yard freestyle relay as the foursome of Gastaldello, junior Kristin Malone, freshman Raena Eldridge and Gibson won the consolation final with a season-best time of 1:27.78. The quick time moved the group, which was swimming together for the first time on Thursday, into the No. 2 spot on the Aggies’ top five fastest performers list.

“The 200 free relay winning the consolation was big for us,” Bultman said. “It got us off to a good start, which was important. We were hoping to slip into the top eight and just missed (in the prelims), but if we had done that time this morning we would have. Still, going from 11th to winning the consols was big.”

Texas A&M earned big points in the 200-yard IM with four Aggies earning evening swims in the race. Sophomore Sydney Pickrem led the way for the Aggies with a school record effort of 1:53.30 that earned her fourth place. Junior Bethany Galat, competing in the pool that was the site of five of her Indiana state high school championships, was right behind in fifth place with a lifetime best time of 1:54.16. Also chipping in valuable points in the B final were Bratton (14th, 1:55.22) and Malone (16th, 1:57.44).

“Sydney broke her own school record and Bethany broke Julia’s (Wilkinson) old school record, so it was lifetime bests for those two and you can’t ask for much more than that,” Bultman said. “Lisa and Kristin picked up some valuable points for us in the B final so the 200 IM was a very good event for us.”

Also contributing individual points was Gastaldello, who finished 12th in the 50 free with a time of 21.96.

Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics

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Posted by on Mar 17 2017. Filed under Sports.
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