College Station, TX – The Texas A&M women played host to SEC rival Tennessee, as well as regional opponent Southern Methodist University (SMU) in a double dual contest at the Aggies’ Student Recreation Center Natatorium today. The A&M women came into the meet undefeated overall (5-0) and also ranked fourth in the latest CCSA poll, while the Tennessee Volunteers were ranked 10th in the CCSA poll (December 10th edition). SMU has been just outside the rankings, although still consistently receiving votes.
The final scores were as follows, edging the Aggies into a now 19-dual meet unbeaten streak that dates back to the 2012-13 season (NOTE: they tied with Georgia in January 2014).
Texas A&M 174, SMU 112
Texas A&M 177.50, Tennessee 110.50
Tennessee 204, SMU 83
Starting off strongly, the Aggie women snagged first place in the women’s first event, the 200y medley relay. The “A” team of French National teamer, freshman Beryl Gastaldello (25.05), Irish sophomore Sycerika McMahon (27.60), sophomore Sarah Gibson (24.48), and senior Sammie Bosma (22.02) combined to touch the wall first in a swift 1:39.15, followed quickly behind by the second place-Tennessee “A” team composed of junior Madison Hahn (26.04), senior Molly Hannis (27.09), junior Harper Bruens (24.23), and junior Faith Johnson (22.32) with their team’s time of 1:39.68. The A&M “B” team cleaned up the third spot in a time of 1:41.90
In the women’s 1000y freestyle, it was Tennessee who came out on top, as Rochester Hills, MI native, Madeline Tegner, finished in a time of 9:56.44, which was the only time to dip under the 10-minute mark today, but was slower than Tegner produced at November’s Nike Cup (9:40.40). Aggie Colleen Konetzke swam into second place with her time of 10:05.95, immediately followed by Volunteer Morgan Dickson, less than a second behind in 10:06.04
A close race ensued in the women’s 200y freestyle, where the top three racers finished within .18 of one another. Sarah Gibson from Texas A&M came out on top with the winning time of 1:48.09, as Tennessee’s Mary Griffith earned second in 1:48.19 and Aggie teammate Meredith Oliver claimed third in 1:48.27, although both have previously earned NCAA “B” cuts in the event. Griffith clocked 1:47.09 at the Nike Cup and Oliver clocked 1:46.89 at the Art Adamson Invitational, both in November.
The women’s 100y backstroke was also a “down to the wire” race, with Texas A&M’s Beryl Gastaldello hanging on to her slim lead down the stretch to throw down a solid 54.56 (NCAA “B” cut) to just out-touch teammate Claire Brandt who finished in 54.68. Lisa Bratton’s 55.10 earned third place and completed the sweep for the Aggie women. Overall a slower result than usual for these ladies, who have been in the realm of 52’s & 53’s earlier in the season.
Bratton, who earned third in the 200y backstroke at 2014 Summer Nationals, later returned to the blocks for today in the same event, earning first place in a time of 1:57.36, while Brandt would settle for runner-up in the race with her time 1:58.37.
A&M’s Beryl Gastaldello was also back on top later in the meet, as she won the women’s 100y butterfly in a time of 54.32, clearing the NCAA “B” standard and topping today’s field by over a full second. Gastaldello currently holds the NCAA’s 19th-ranked time (52.69), which she earned at November’s Art Adamson Invitational.
Tennessee battled back with an individual win in the women’s 100y breaststroke, however, as US 100y breaststroke National title winner (58.42) and 100y/200y breaststroke Tennessee team record holder, Molly Hannis, caught up to an early lead by Sycerike McMahon (Texas A&M) and eventually touched the wall first in 1:01.04 to McMahon’s 1:01.32. Hannis was the national title winner in the 100y breaststroke at the US Winter Nationals this past December in Greensboro (58.42).
This same 1-2 finish was the result of the women’s 200y breaststroke as well, where Hannis topped the field in a dominating 2:09.89, a solid 3+ seconds over McMahon’s 2:13.04. At December’s Winter Nats, Hannis came away with an overall second place finish in this event with a superb time of 2:06.98.
Aggie swimming star, Sarah Henry earned a tri-fecta of victories in the pool today, first owning the women’s 200y butterfly, as she led the field with her winning time of 1:59.95. Henry would also dominate the women’s 500y freestyle, where her time of 4:46.65 cleared today’s field by just under 6 seconds. Henry currently sits eighth in the nationwide NCAA rankings in the event, having earned a time of 4:38.99 at the Art Adamson Invitational on November 20th. Finally, Henry earned her third individual win in the 200y IM with her time of 2:00.30; she is currently ranked seventh in the event in NCAA-wide, as she clocked a 1:56.40 also at the Art Adamson Invite.
Another Aggie earning multiple wins today was Sammie Bosma, as she collected the first-place finish in the women’s 50y freestyle in a time of 22.62. Bosma, who has already been as low as 22.17 in the 50y free this NCAA season, also captured the 100y free sprint victory today, clocking a 49.43, off her season-best of 48.27 from November.
Tennessee’s “A” and “C” relays took home the top two spots, respectively, in the 400y free relay to conclude the night, as Texas A&M exhibitioned this final event.