COLLEGE STATION, Texas- The Texas A&M women’s swimming & diving team ended the most successful season in its history with an awards banquet at the College Station Hilton on Saturday afternoon.
The 2007-08 squad ended the year with a 9-1 dual meet record, a No. 6 ranking in the year-end dual meet poll, a second consecutive Big 12 team championship, and an all-time best finish of fourth place at the NCAA Championships. Head Coach Steve Bultman was named Big 12 Coach of the Meet and Year in the same season for the third time in his career as well.
Junior Julia Wilkinson (Stratford, Ont.) was named Most Valuable Swimmer after a season in which she earned at least a share seven Big 12 titles, finished no lower than fifth individually at the NCAA Championships and became the second swimmer in Texas A&M history to win both Big 12 Swimmer of the Meet and Big 12 Swimmer of the Year honors.
Junior Kristen Heiss (Casper, Wyo.), last year’s team Most Valuable Swimmer, was named the Bob Stallings Aggie Heart Award winner. Heiss successfully repeated as the Big 12 champion in the 200 backstroke and earned third place finishes at the NCAA Championships in both the 200 back and 500 freestyle. The award was renamed after long-time swimming official and Aggie supporter Bob Stallings this year after his passing in August of 2007.
Sophomore Ella Doerge (Clive, Iowa) and freshman Maria Sommer (Brenham) each earned the Most Improved Award after turning in performances at the Big 12 meet that truly wowed both themselves and their team. While competing on the non-scoring team, Doerge swam fast enough times to finish among the top four at the Big 12 meet in three events (100 back, 200 back, 100 fly) while Sommer dropped an amazing 1.31 seconds in the 50 freestyle in a single year. Both swimmers would have individually qualified for the NCAA Championships just one year earlier with their amazing breakthrough performances.
Two-time senior co-captain Beth McCullough (Austin) was given the Iron Woman Award by strength & conditioning coach Paul Sealey. McCullough is also a past Most Improved (2005) and Aggie Heart Award (2007) winner.
Seniors Chelsea Helgason (Olympia, Wash.), Brittany Lentz-Raiford (Humble), Erin Mahoney (Wichita, Kan.), Beth McCullough, Megan Rains (Puyallup, Wash.), and Jenni Stratton (Portland, Ore.) were all honored and spoke about their four years as Aggies at the banquet as well.