COLLEGE STATION -- Texas A&M junior swimmer Christine Marshall (Newport News, Va.) earned the right to compete at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials following a standout performance at the 2008 All-American Long Course Championships this past weekend at the Texas Swimming Center in Austin.
Marshall led a very small contingent of Aggie women looking to get in some long course racing – which is the international and Olympic standard -- leading up to the many national Olympic team qualifying competitions scheduled around the world later this spring.
Marshall, the reigning two-time Big 12 200-yard freestyle champion, returned to the location of her last Big 12 title in the event to take third place in the 200-meter freestyle. Her time of 2:00.83 earned her a third place finish and a trip to the U.S. Olympic Trials. The only swimmers to finish ahead of Marshall were Kara Lynn Joyce, one of the most decorated freestyle sprinters in NCAA history while at Georgia from 2004-07, and two-time Pan American Games gold medalist Jessica Rodriquez.
Four-time Big 12 breaststroke champion Alia Atkinson (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) earned a third-place finish in the 100-meter breast (1:11.52) behind only 2004 U.S. Olympian Tara Kirk and former Longhorn adversary Elizabeth Tinnon, a former five-time Big 12 breaststroke champ. Atkinson’s time was fast enough to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials, however she will attempt to represent her birth country of Jamaica in the 2008 Olympic Games as she did in 2004.
Junior Julia Wilkinson (Stratford, Ont.), fresh off arguably the most dominating individual women’s performance in Big 12 Championship history, elected to only swim prelims at the All-American LC meet. Wilkinson recorded times of 1:03.95 in the 100-meter backstroke and 2:02.58 in the 200-meter freestyle during prelims. Both times are fast enough to easily qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials, however Wilkinson will be looking to qualify for her first-ever Canadian Olympic team next month north of the border.
Aggie freshman Melanie Dodds (Maple Ridge, B.C.) took fifth in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:55.47. Dodds also finished 16th in the 200-meter freestyle (2:08.42).