COLLEGE STATION - The sixth-ranked Texas A&M women¹s swimming & diving used strong performances from its relays and Big 12 Swimmer of the Week Triin Aljand (Tallinn, Estonia) to jump out to the lead at the 14th annual SMU Swimming & Diving Classic on Friday night.
The Aggies lead host SMU, 172-154, with No. 15 USC third at 135.5. No. 21 Florida State is fourth with 126 points followed by No. 16 Wisconsin (121.5) and Alabama (119).
Four-time individual Big 12 champion Aljand turned in her first sub-23
second 50 free of the year by winning the ŒA¹ heat in 22.94 ahead of
Wisconsin junior Jackie Vavrek (23.16). Aljand missed the meet and pool record by .01. Earlier in the meet, Aljand smashed the field in the 100 fly, clocking an NCAA consideration time of 54.38 to finish ahead of Alabama freshman Ida Persson (55.63) for top honors.
A&M¹s potent relays were on display in the 800-yard freestyle event. The group of Julia Wilkinson (Stratford, Ont.), Melissa Hain (Kingwood), Kristen Heiss (Casper, Wyo.) and Codie Hansen (Arlington) beat the host Mustangs, 7:21.29 to 7:24.54. The 400-yard medley relay group of Wilkinson, Alia Atkinson (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), Aljand, and Hansen was second to USC in 3:43.25, a time that ranks seventh on the all-time A&M performer list.
The Aggies were also dominant in the backstroke as Wilkinson and Heiss swept both heats. Wilkinson hit the wall first in the championship heat in an NCAA consideration time of 55.10 while Heiss was first in the ŒB¹ heat in 56.56. Sophomore Alia Atkinson swam her way to a solid second place time in the 100-yard breast (1:02.31) behind NCAA champion Rebecca Soni of Southern Cal (1:00.86). She also won the ŒB¹ heat of the 100 fly in 56.14.
Several of the Aggies¹ other younger swimmers turned in strong performances as freshman Melanie Dodds (Maple Ridge, B.C.) won the ŒB¹ heat of the 400 IM (4:23.69) while sophomore Sarah Woods (Birmingham, Ala.) gave A&M a sweep of both heats in the 50 free (24.00).
The Aggies will take those not swimming in the SMU Classic this weekend to Denton, Texas, in the morning to face both North Texas and Northern Arizona at 11 a.m. The second and final day of the SMU Classic is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.