The Auburn Tigers came to Texas on a mission, to win. After defeating both the men’s and women’s Texas Longhorns on Thursday the Tigers travelled to College Station, Texas to face the Texas A&M Aggies in a dual meet hosted by the Aggies. The Tigers left the meet maintaining their undefeated record this season, giving the Student Recreation Natatorium a preview of their dominating performance heading into the SEC championships taking place there February 19-23.
The Auburn Men clobbered the Aggies in both relays highlighting the talent that Coach Brett Hawke has on the team. Top backstroker in the SEC conference; Kyle Owens led off the 400 yard medley relay with a remarkable split of 48.35. His teammate Stuart Ferguson backed him up with a fast breast split of 54.79 later going on to sweep the breaststroke events. The women battled it out with the Aggies in the medley relay, beating them on every leg of race. Sammie Bosma’s fast freestyle split of 22.60 was still no match for the speed of sprint specialist Hannah Riordan who came home in a blistering 22.15 to win the event.
Riordan’s raw speed wasn’t only eminent in the relays, but was proven by pulling off the sprint double, having a start-to-finish win over Texas A&M’s Sammie Bosma in both races. In the 50 Riordan won in a sizzling time of 22.81 which is her best time this season. Riordan currently holds the sixth fastest time in the 100 yard freestyle of 48.88 heading into the SEC championships where she has high hopes of medalling.
Brazilian Olympian: Marcelo Chierghini swimming out of Auburn also exhibited incredible speed; being the only swimmer at this competition to break the 20 seconds barrier in the 50 yard freestyle with a time of 19.83. Chierghini’s time of 19.37 from earlier this season still remains the top time in the SEC conference where he also has the fastest 100 yard freestyle in a time of 42.73.
Chierghini’s Brazillian teammate Arthur Mendes was not on his top form, being out-touched by fellow Auburn swimmer Alexander Hancock in the men’s 100 yard fly 48.97 to 49.05. Hancock went on to win the 200 fly over Texas A&M’s Omar Enriquez with a time of 1:48.97. With Mendes’ successful longcourse times in the fly, it’s predicted that he still has a lot left to prove himself with which he might be holding back for the SEC championships.
The Aggie women were much more successful than the men at holding off the Tiger advances, waiting until the final two events until Auburn took the win 158-141. Much of their success can be credited to Breeja Larson and Cammile Adams who both won two events. Larson proved that she’s an Olympic champion for a reason pulling off the breaststroke double over fellow US Olympian Micah Lawerence. Larson –the American record holder in both the 200 and 100 yard breaststrokes– showed that she’s on track to an SEC championship win in both events winning the 100 in 59.23 and the 200 in 2:07.47. Her American records of 57.53 and 2:04.48 could be at jeopardy as she’s proving that she’s on the right track to reaching those times again.
Cammile Adams – who competed at the London Olympics in the 200 fly – won the yards event in a time of 1:56.32 finishing ahead of teammate Caroline McElhany who secured the 1-2 finish for the Aggies. Adams went on to win the 500 freestyle as well. Adams’ 500 freestyle swim was one of many victories in the distance freestyles for the Aggies having a 1-2 Texas finish in both the women’s 500 and 1000 yard freestyles. On the men’s side, we got the rare opportunity to see a mile in a dual meet (usually saved for invites and championships), and Omar Enriquez won the 1650 in a time of 15:29.30 beating Auburn swimmer Zane Grothe who got the better of him in the 500, winning in a slow 4:32.03
Auburn’s Olivia Scott is turning into exactly the star that they need her to be for the Tigers. She picked up three big wins; most notably was a monster 52.71 in the 100 fly, which is a six-tenths improvement over her swim against Texas on Thursday. Beyond that, she won the 200 IM in 2:00.19 and in a great surprise, the 200 free in a new personal best of 1:48.51. That beat out A&M’s Sarah Henry (1:49.35) and Lili Ibanez (1:49.46): two All-Americans who are having big years of their own.
The end of the meet ended in favour to the Tigers finishing with a 158-141 win over the women and a 189-111 win over the men. The Tigers continue to remain undefeated with their sweep of the Texas teams and look like the heavy favourites to avenge their win from last year’s SEC championships with another one this season.