Last season was the first season of the SEC split, leaving swim fans without the historically rich rivalry between the Texas Longhorns and the Texas A&M Aggies. Tonight, the two had the first scheduled regular match up between two schools (of any sport) that regularly competed against each other before the split.
This competition between Texas and Texas A&M is one, of not many, true rivalries in swimming. The teams, regardless of where they are in the season, will bring their A game to best their competitive foe. As swim fans, we’re excited it’s back and hope it continues in the future.
As we expected, the meet was a constant duel – the score switching back and forth between the two teams. It came down to the wire, but the Aggies were victorious at home over the Longhorns. The final score was Aggies, 152 to Longhorns, 148.
Following the traditional 16 event meet format, the 200 medley relay got the meet underway. Texas A&M ran away from the Longhorns, finishing at 1:39.91. Kelli Benjamin (26.24), Breeja Larson (27.28), Paige Miller (23.78) and Erica Dittmer (22.61) finished over two seconds ahead of the Longhorns, 1:42.45.
Notably Lily Moldenhauer split 25.31 on the leadoff leg for Texas. And Sammie Bosma, the anchor on the Aggies B relay split 22.52 on the freestyle leg – faster than the A relay.
Kaitlin Pawlowicz and Cammile Adams battled the whole 40 laps in the 100 freestyle. Both split at 4:57 at the half way mark, and Adams had a slight advantage heading into the final 100. But Pawlowicz had a stronger final 100 yards, and Adams final 50 was not enough to overcome her.
Pawlowicz finished at 9:50.89, while Adams was a fingernail behind at 9:50.92.
Sam Tucker was victorious today in the 200 freestyle, after finishing second the night before against UNC. She finished in 1:47.95, just under the NCAA B standard, over A&M’s Lili Ibanez Lopez, who finished in 1:48.56.
Texas would finish 3rd and 4th with Madisyn Cox, 1:49.88 and Alex Hooper, 1:50.02.
Moldenhauer would take the 100 backstroke at 53.48, well under the B standard. Her teammate Tasija Karosas was second at 54.28, also under the B cut. A&M’s best finished was Paige Miller in 54.96, for a third place finish and B cut.
NCAA Champion Larson broke the minute barrier in the 100 breaststroke. Her final time was 59.23, just .04 off the NCAA A standard of 59.19. That’s wicked fast at this time of the year.
Gretchen Jaques was second for the Longhorns at 1:02.30, NCAA B.
The Aggies other NCAA Champion from last season, Adams won her signature event, the 200 butterfly in 2:00.32. Bosma finished second for a 1-2 finish for A&M with a time of 2:02.07. Pawlowicz looked like she would beat Bosma would end up third for Texas at 2:02.26.
And the last event before the first break, Erica Dittmer and Ibanez Lopez had another 1-2 finish for A&M in the 50 freestyle at 22.92, NCAA B, and 23.38. Tucker was third at 23.42 for UT.
Bosma got her chance to shine in the 100 freestyle. She finished ahead of Tucker, 50.03 to 50.44. Bosma’s teammate, Ibanez Lopez who already had two second place finishes, would finish third at 50.62.
In another flip flop, Texas went 1-2 in the 200 backstroke, after doing the same in the 100 backstroke. Here Karosas was first while Moldenhauer was second, 1:57.36 to 1:58.09. All were under the B standard of 1:59.19.
Melanie McClure, Texas A&M, would also get under the 2:00 mark at 1:59.69 for third.
No doubt in anyone’s mind, Larson won the 200 breaststroke in 2:10.22, blowing the field out of the water. She was a little off the A cut here, but finished well under the B cut.
Her teammate Ashley McGregor was about five seconds behind at 2:15.78. She would out touch Cox from UT, 2:15.78. Both hitting the NCAA B standard.
In another duel in the distance events, Adams and Pawlowicz were back at it in the 500 freestyle. Each had one event to their name thus far, Pawlowicz in the 100 and Adams in the 200 butterfly. Once again, Adams had to upper hand into the final 100, and this time she was able to split enough to stay ahead.
Adams would finish in 4:52.07 to Pawlowicz in 4:52.51.
Texas would have Moldenhauer to take the 100 butterfly next over Miller, 54.15 to 54.48 – both B cuts. A&M would grab third and fifth; Emily Neubert was third at 55.51.
Note: Sarah Gibson as listed as A&M’s 3rd butterflier, but A&M’s staff has confirmed that it was Neubert.
After finishing third in both individual’s, Texas got one individual win with Cox in the 200 IM. Her final time was 2:00.78 (B cut), over Dittmer, A&M, at 2:01.13 (B cut). Larson would finish in third, 2:03.84.
Texas would finish 1-2 in the 1m diving, and A&M was able to stop that sweep in the 3m. Texas would out score A&M 29-9 in the diving events.
Heading into the final relay, Texas had the advantage 144-139. A&M had to get first and third to seal the close victory. Bosma, Meredith Oliver, Kelli Benjamin and Ibanez Lopez would take the win in 3:20.57, averaging 50-lows.
Texas A was second in 3:21.79. Texas A&M B would finish 3rd at 3:26.87, over Texas’s B, 3:28.27. That would seal the rivalry for the Aggies tonight.