Ag Swimmers Heat Up In Hotlanta

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ATLANTA—Texas A&M Olympians Triin Aljand (Tallinn, Estonia) and Alia Atkinson (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) turned in impressive NCAA automatic qualifying performances during prelims at the 2007 ConocoPhillips USA Swimming Short Course National Championships on Saturday morning.

Atkinson had the best day of her career in the 200-yard breaststroke, swimming two of the three fastest times of her life. Atkinson won the ‘B’ final, which she was bumped down to since she internationally represents her birth country of Jamaica, in a Texas A&M school record time of 2:10.87. Atkinson qualified fourth in the field during prelims with the third-fastest time of her life at 2:11.88. The Aggie sophomore ranks second in the nation collegiately in the 200 breast.

Aljand turned in the second-fastest 100-yard freestyle time of her life in the sixth of eight heats at U.S. short course nationals. Aljand’s prelim time of 49.29 among the top handful in the nation collegiately and is the fourth fastest time in A&M history. U.S. Olympians Amanda Weir and Dana Vollmer were among those in the field that Aljand managed to out-swim during the preliminary heats.

The two Aggies competed at the U.S. national meet on Saturday in order to achieve qualifying performances for requirements to make their respective 2008 Olympic teams. Both swimmers are aiming to make their second consecutive Olympic Games. In 2004, Aljand represented her homeland of Estonia while Atkinson represented Jamaica.