Aggie Women Jump Out to Big 12 Lead

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AUSTIN -- The Texas A&M women’s swimming & diving team won both the 200-yard medley and 800-yard freestyle relays to jump out to the early lead at the 2008 Big 12 Championships at the Texas Swimming Center on Wednesday night.

The Aggies hold an 80-64 lead over Kansas, Missouri and Texas heading into day two. It also marked the first time that A&M has swept both races on the first night of the Big 12 Championships.

“Tonight was a great evening for us,” A&M head coach Steve Bultman said. “We got one school record, two near Big 12 records, won both events – just a super night for us. Winning the 200 medley for the first time ever was a great way to start the meet.”

A&M toyed with the all-time Big 12 record in both races, falling less than a tenth of a second short in each, but still cruised to sizable victories over Kansas and Missouri in the 200 medley and 800 free relays, respectively.

Defending Big 12 Swimmer of the Meet Christine Marshall (Newport News, Va.) got the Aggies off to a blistering start in the 800 freestyle relay, setting a new A&M school record of 1:45.74 on her leadoff leg. Her teammates, Kristen Heiss (Casper, Wyo.), Beth McCullough (Austin), and Codie Hansen (Arlington) brought the team home in 7:05.98, the second-fastest time in Big 12 history.

The Aggies began the meet by winning the 200-yard medley relay at a conference meet for the first time in school history. The group of Julia Wilkinson (Stratford, Ont.), Alia Atkinson (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), Triiin, Aljand (Tallinn, Estonia), and Sarah Woods (Birmingham, Ala.) clocked the second-fastest time in school history at 1:38.76 to automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships.

“Watching what they did tonight just makes everyone excited to keep racing and see just how fast we can be for the rest of the meet,” Bultman said.

The first full day of competition at the Big 12 Championships will take place on Thursday with preliminaries scheduled for 10 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.

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