COLLEGE STATION, Texas --- Texas A&M junior Breeja Larson was challenged in the morning prelims and she responded with record-setting performance the 100-yard breaststroke in the evening finals at the 2013 Southeastern Conference Championships at the Student Recreation Center on the A&M campus.
Larson and Tennessee sophomore Molly Hannis both broke the SEC meet record in the morning session with identical 58.22 clockings. Properly motivated by the challenge, Larson separated from Hannis after the first 50 yards on her way to a time of 57.43, while Hannis came in second in 58.24. Larson’s time broke her own SEC, NCAA, American and U.S. Open record of 57.53 set at the Phill Hansel Inviational at the University of Houston last November.
“It’s special, but I kind of see it as ‘I broke my best time’ just like Cammile (Adams) and Paige (Miller) broke their best times,” Larson said. “It is still special, but to me it’s kind of like you want to do your best time every time. If it happens to break the record, it’s a bonus. Racing is fun and going fast is fun, so this was a fun night for me.”
Added Aggie head coach Steve Bultman, “It’s her best by a little bit, but it’s the fastest anybody’s ever gone so that’s outstanding. I think the fact that she and Molly had tied in the prelims definitely got them both fired up. I think that helped push her to the record.”
While Larson’s record-setting effort was the highlight of the day at the SEC Championships, it was the entire Aggie squad that was making noise on Friday evening at the Rec. The Aggies won every race in the pool and took second in the platform dive as they moved into second place with 985 points and pulled within 73 points of front-running Georgia (1,058 points).
The Aggies opened the meet with a dominant performance in the 200-yard butterfly with Aggie Olympian Cammile Adams taking first in SEC meet record fashion in 1:52.48 and teammate Caroline McElhany right behind in 1:53.24. Senior Jordan King chipped in a sixth place finish in 1:57.53 as the Aggies scored a whopping 84 points in the event.
Junior Paige Miller kept the Aggies on the winning track with her victory in the 100 backstroke. She touched the wall in 51.62, which extended her personal winning 100 back winning streak at conference meets to three – two in the Big 12 and one in the SEC. It was also the eighth straight year that the Aggies have won the 100 back at conference – four by Julia Wilkinson, three by Miller and one by Lindsey King.
One of biggest surprises of the day was a dazzing performance by sophomore Jessica Macaulay in the platform dive. Macaulay went toe-to-toe with defending SEC Champion Tori Lamp before settling for a runner-up finish with a career best 328.20 point total. Lamp took her second straight SEC crown with a SEC meet record score of 341.90. Macaulay became the second diver in A&M history to break the 300-point barrier in the platform dive, joining school record holder Janie Potvin (375.0 at last year’s Big 12 Championships).
The Aggies closed out the meet with an electric performance in the 400 medley relay. The foursome of Miller, Larson, McElhany and sophomore Lili Ibanez outclassed the field on the way to a SEC meet record time of 3:28.93. A&M finished nearly two and a half seconds faster than runner-up Georgia (3:31.34). The Aggies also took a half-second off the school record set at last year’s NCAA meet by Miller, Larson, McElhany and Kim Pavlin (3:29.42).