During Monday’s third finals session of the 2011 Pan American Games, There were two Texas A&M Aggies in the final. One was obvious, Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson who swam there from 2006-2010, and the other was the newest Aggie, Ashley McGregor, who made her verbal committment to Texas A&M just before leaving for the Pan Am Games, sources close to the program tell us.
McGregor is the best long course breaststroker in the class, with bests of 1:08.96 (from last night’s swim) and an even better 200 of 2:27.82 (which she’ll probably lower later this week to around a 2:27.0). That converts to a 1:00.1/2:09.79 in yards, both of which would have scored big points at NCAA’s last year. She’s been equally as good, and arguably even a touch better, in short course swimming thus far in her career.
In two years, A&M could have the best breaststroking squad in the country. Breeja Larson, who took silvers in both events last year as a freshman, has a well-documented story (hoping that she stays on track after some scary health issues this summer) that includes a 4-second drop in one season at Texas A&M. Less-known is her classmate Erica Dittmer, who placed 25th at NCAA’s, and she too had huge drops as a freshman (about a second and a half).
Along with McGregor, they’re bringing in a 1:01.9/2:12.9 breaststroker Romy Landeck as well next fall. They could have as many as four scorers in the 100 breaststroke, and at least two (though probably three) in the 200 breaststroke at the 2013 NCAA Championships.
This move really isn’t a huge surprise both for the sake that she’s a breaststroker and that she’s a Canadian (in fact, we speculated she might end up there a few months ago). Between the men’s and women’s programs at Texas A&M (though administered separately), there are 5 Canadians, and several others who have recently graduated, including one of Canada’s best-ever female swimmers, Julia Wilkinson.