The Texas A&M Aggies topped LSU at home on the team’s Senior Night, with the men winning 166-121 and the women 166-128.
It was a breakout meet for a couple of the Aggie men, including freshman Mauro Castillo, who swept the breaststrokes, including a 53.78 in the 100 and a 1:55.65 in the 200, both lifetime-bests in short course.
On A&M’s senior night, perhaps its biggest swims came from a freshman, Mauro Castillo. The Aggies have been sorely lacking a breaststroker so far this year, but Castillo came through with a pair of lifetime-bests to sweep the breaststroke races.
It’s not entirely surprising that Castillo would break out this way. He’s an experienced international swimmer who has represented Mexico at Junior Worlds and the Central America & Caribbean Games, and had yet to transfer his long course speed (1:03/2:18 in the 100/200 breast) into the short course pool.
But it is a little surprising that he broke out at this point in the season, rather than the SEC Championships. Castillo went 53.78 to win the 100 and 1:55.65 to take the 200 and break the A&M school record. Those are lifetime-bests by two and a half seconds in both. On the bright side, it looks like the Aggies have found their post-season breaststroker, but now they’ll have to see what he has left in the tank to show at the Conference championships, where he’ll have to go similar times or perhaps drop a bit to be into the A final.
Senior Luke Shaw had a senior night to remember, putting up two lifetime-bests of his own while winning three races.
Shaw crushed the 200 free field early, going 1:36.10 for the win. That’s a great swim for Shaw, just about a second off the PR he put up at NCAAs last year.
Shaw’s lifetime-bests came in the 100 free and 100 fly. He was equally dominant in the 100 free as the 200, going 43.64 and winning by almost two seconds. That’s Shaw’s first time under 44 seconds.
He also beat LSU star Frank Greeff in the 100 fly, 47.56 to 48.91. Shaw’s previous best was 48.49.
Greeff was the top finisher for LSU, bringing in the Tigers’ only event win. He topped the 200 fly with a time of 1:46.76.
Also having a nice night for A&M was junior Alexandros Theocharidis, who won the 200 back in 1:45.61, just about a second off his lifetime-best.
The Lady Aggies had just a few too many top-tier athletes for LSU to keep track of, and when Sammie Bosma won both of the battles between the teams’ top sprinters, it was clear sailing for A&M.
Bosma clashed with LSU’s Amber Carter in both the 50 and 100 frees, topping the Tiger senior in both. Bosma was 22.84 to Carter’s 22.88 in one of the night’s closest races, and came back to win the 100 free in 49.80.
With Bosma handling Carter, A&M’s Sarah Henry was given free reign over her events, and helped the Aggies dominate the freestyles. Henry put up a couple of impressive times for this part of the season, going 1:47.93 to win the 200 free and 4:49.25 to win the 500.
And outside of the freestyles, A&M was equally dominant. Sophomore Sycerika McMahon tore through LSU for three event wins, sweeping the breaststrokes (1:01.05 and 2:12.34) and taking the 200 IM (2:00.13).
That IM was a big showdown with LSU’s top performer of the meet, Kara Kopcso. The sophomore won two events for the Tigers, taking the 200 fly (1:59.34) and 100 fly (53.81). Her 200 fly crushed the field by a wide margin, and the 100 fly was a 1-2 with teammate Carter, who finished just .01 back.
But in the 200 IM, McMahon used a devastating breaststroke leg to top Kopcso by about seven tenths of a second, denying the LSU Tiger a third win while nabbing a third win of her own.