Competitor Coach of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based coach who has risen above the competition. As with any item of recognition, Competitor Coach of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one coach whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a coach who was clearly in the limelight, or one whose work fell through the cracks a bit more among other stories. If your favorite coach wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.
The Texas A&M men were 17th at NCAAs last year, but returned 38 of 65 individual points and 17 of 20 relay legs. In the early goings of 2019-2020, they are looking at a substantial rise in NCAA finish.
The Aggies currently rank inside the top 3 nationally in all five relays. In two of those relays, they’ve already surpassed their times from NCAAs last season. And the A&M 800 free relay ranks #1 in the nation by four seconds. Coach Jay Holmes has the Aggies swimming as well as they ever have, and this roster looks primed for perhaps its best NCAA finish since 1999, when the Aggies were 10th.
Here’s a look at the team’s relay performances at last weekend’s Art Adamson Invite:
|NCAA (March 2019)||Art Adamson (November 2019)|
|200 free relay||1:16.81||12th||1:17.21||2nd|
|400 free relay||2:52.04||18th||2:49.99||2nd|
|800 free relay||6:15.59||13th||6:15.71||1st|
|200 medley relay||1:24.83||14th||1:24.44||2nd|
|400 medley relay||3:05.94||15th||3:06.68||3rd|
Next month’s Minnesota Invite should add a number of fast relays – national team title frontrunners Cal and Texas are both scheduled to compete there. But A&M should remain in the top 8 in all of these relays though mid-season invites. They’ve also qualified all five relays for NCAAs, regardless of how they perform at SECs.
Holmes also gets a ton of credit for the outstanding swimming of sophomore Shaine Casas, who has flourished in College Station. He’s currently the NCAA leader in the 100 back (44.48), 200 back (1:38.21), 100 fly (45.26), and 200 IM (1:40.16). Other Aggies ranked in the top 10 nationally:
- Shaine Casas
- 100 back (1st, 44.48)
- 200 back (1st, 1:38.21)
- 100 fly (1st, 45.26)
- 200 IM (1st, 1:40.16)
- 200 free (4th, 1:33.67)
- 50 free (9th, 19.54)
- Adam Koster
- 100 free (1st, 42.26)
- 50 free (7th, 19.49)
- Mark Theall
- 500 free (1st, 4:12.19)
- 200 free (2nd, 1:32.96)
- Andres Puente
- 200 breast (1st, 1:52.48)
- 100 breast (6th, 52.49)
- 400 IM (9th, 3:46.75)
- Benjamin Walker
- 200 breast (3rd, 1:53.33)
- Tanner Olson
- 100 breast (9th, 52.68)
That’s seven nation-leading times from four different swimmers, and a group of six individuals already in great individual NCAA scoring position. Current Swimulator projections have Texas A&M scoring 373 points in a mock NCAA meet, 44 more than anyone else in the country.
The Aggies probably won’t be NCAA title contenders come March. But they’ve swum better than anyone else in the nation to this point, and a top 10 finish has to be in the sights of this fast-rising program.
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