On Friday, it was the Texas A&M Aggies’ turn to roll through Dallas for a match-up with the SMU Mustangs at the Perkins Natatorium: a pool that has seen quite a few top 25 teams roll through in the last few weeks.
Both teams, who generally have pretty light competitive schedules, this was the end of the swimming regular season (though the Aggie divers still have one more competition left), and A&M would walk away with a 143-100 victory over the Mustangs in what is historically a fairly heated rivalry for an out-of-conference meet.
The biggest news of the day was the impressive performance that A&M got from senior breaststroker Jack Burley. He only swam two events in the meet, one of which was a 6th-place finish in the 200 breast, but his first swim was a really big one.
In the meet-opening 400 medley relay, Burley split a 54.91 on the breaststroke leg, followed by a 46.47 butterfly from Henrik Lindau and a 43.62 freestyle anchor from Kyle Troskot as the Aggies finished in 3:15.23 (Alexandros Theocharidis led them off in a 50.23 backstroke).
That is the Aggies’ best time in that relay this season by a full second, and while they’re still shy of NCAA qualifying (either provisional or automatic), it begins to give them some hope. Consider that Burley’s lifetime best on a flat-start is a 56.1 from his taper meet last season, and Aggie fans were quite nervous about how their medleys would look at the SEC Championships. Burley didn’t come to A&M as a breaststroker, having been just a 1:05 in the 100 yard race coming out of high school, but with their back-half of Lindau and Troskott swimming extremely well, this is a group that has the potential to get under 3:10 on a taper and into the NCAA Championships.
That relay wouldn’t mark the only Aggies who swam well in this meet. Senior Paul-Marc Schweitzer won the men’s 200 free in 1:36.88 and the 200 back in 1:46.73. Those are both season-bests for him by significant margins as well.
SMU’s Ramon Melo (20.35) kept this meet from being an Aggie freestyle sweep, but Troskot was 2nd in 20.38 and freshman Cory Bolleter was 3rd in 20.39, not far behind. A&M did win every other race in the discipline at the meet, including a 2:58.04 in the 400 free relay with a 44.1 from Bolleter and a 43.80 from Schweitzer – and no Troskot to be found in that relay.
Lindau didn’t swim the 100 fly individually, as there were no 100 yard stroke races, but he did race the 100 free in 44.47, beating Troskot’s 44.96.
Among the bright spots for SMU was 25-year old Danish senior Nicolai Hansen, who is another one of the more modern generation of tall breaststrokers (he stands 6’8″ tall, as the tallest member of SMU’s team). He topped the 200 in 2:01.79, which was just a half-a-second shy of his season best from the Classic at SMU after missing the entire fall semester. His addition to SMU’s medley (he split 54.85) makes them instantly a better relay, as their medley was a season-best as well, by two-and-a-half seconds.