COLLEGE STATION, Texas- Texas A&M senior Alejandro Jacobo dominated his specialty, the 200-yard breaststroke, but it wasn’t enough to push the Aggies past the SMU Mustangs, who held on for a 1,462-1,397 team victory at the Art Adamson Invitational on Sunday at the TAMU Student Recreation Natatorium.
“SMU is unranked right now, but there’s no doubt in my mind that they are a top 25-type team,” Aggie head coach Jay Holmes said. “I’m never happy about a team loss, but we had a number of impressive swims over the weekend and that bodes well for the rest of this season.”
Jacobo, the defending Big 12 Champion and school record holder in the race, continued to shine in the breaststroke events as he won the 200 breaststroke by more than a second over Alex Hetland of the Mustangs. His time of 1:59.29 earned him a NCAA consideration qualification and ranks him sixth in the nation so far this year.
“What we saw tonight was a lot of passion for swimming fast,” said head coach Jay Holmes of Jacobo. “He is swimming the fastest he’s ever been at this point during the season. We didn’t prepare him to do that this weekend.”
Meanwhile, Israel Duran continued his success in the 200 butterfly placing second behind SMU’s Justin Smith. Duran, who split the weekend’s butterfly races with Smith, charged back from third at the 150 but ran out of room at the wire. His time of 1:48.70 was just off the NCAA consideration cut of 1:48.07.
In one of the most exciting men’s events of the competition, the A&M relay team of senior Ozzie Gardner, sophomore Greg Widmer, senior Luke Chambless and sophomore Casey Strange each posted sub-45 second 100’s to take second in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The Aggies finished in 2:58.39, which was more than a second under the NCAA consideration time
“We always like finishing up the meet with a great relay and that was it right there,” praised Holmes. “Those four guys went head-to-head with a very strong SMU team.”
Gardner, who took third with a time of 45.38 in the 100 freestyle earlier in the night, lowered his time to 44.63 to lead the team off. That time was just .15 off the NCAA consideration cut.
Widmer took over for the Aggies on the second leg and posted a 44.64 split to hold the lead over SMU’s Thomas Fadnes. Chambless showed why he was voted co-team captain with a fast swim of 44.77 to keep his team in first place going into the last 100.
Strange, who showed some very fast early speed on the last leg of the relay, split a quick 44.35, and forced SMU All-American Luka Vrtovec to post a blazing 42.94 swim to catch him on the last 25.
Coach Holmes expressed how proud he was of his athletes, but also looked forward to the future and the championship meets in the spring season.
“Our guys overachieved out there to swim that fast. We just need to over achieve a little more to get the win.”
The Adamson Invitational marks the end of the fall calendar for the Aggies. After a “winter training” trip to Barbados, A&M will kick off the spring season with a duel meet against defending NCAA champions and second ranked Auburn Tigers on Jan. 12. (By Rebecca Sturdy, Texas A&M Media Relations)