COLLEGE STATION -- One of the fastest seasons in school history was honored at the second annual Texas A&M Swimming & Diving Banquet. The 2007-08 Aggie swimmers and divers earned a No. 13 finish at the 2008 NCAA Championships, marking the team’s 13th straight top 25 NCAA finish, which is a record for any sport at A&M. In addition, the Aggies broke an impressive nine school records this season, including at least one in all four strokes and the individual medley.
Keying the Aggies‘ strong effort at the NCAA Championships was fifth-year senior Ozzie Gardner, who was voted the team MVP. Gardner, from Kearns, Utah, placed eighth in the 50-yard freestyle and swam on four top 11 relays at the NCAA meet. Gardner shattered the school record in the 50 free (19.49) and 100 free (43.38), and also swam the freestyle legs on the school record-setting 200- and 400-yard medley relays.
Receiving the Trey Heye Memorial Award was sophomore Casey Strange, who earned All-America status as part of the 200 and 400 free relays in 2008. The Trey Heye Memorial is given annually to a swimmer or diver who came to A&M without a scholarship but proved himself with his work ethic, performance and teamwork. The Award is named for Trey Heye, who tragically passed away at age seven in 2000. The eldest son of Aggie graduates Paul ’87 and Mary Jo ’88 Heye of Little Rock, Ark., Trey was a talented swimmer who dreamed of swimming for the Aggies.
Strange, from Westside High School in Houston, Texas, became the sixth swimmer in school history to go under 20 seconds in the 50 free and sub 44 seconds in the 100 free in 2007-08. Just a sophomore, Strange has already gone under 20 seconds in the 50 free four times. At the NCAA meet, Strange was the leadoff leg on the Aggies’ consolation champion 200 free relay and anchor on the 11th place 400 free relay.
Jason Bergstrom, from Friendswood High School, was named the team’s Most Improved swimmer after a strong sophomore season at A&M. Bergstrom had a lifetime best of 54.57 in the 100-yard backstroke in high school, but lowered his PR by seven seconds by year two at A&M to qualify for the NCAA Championships. At the national meet, achieved his current lifetime best of 47.54 in 100 back and placed 16th in the race to earn All-America recognition. Showing his versatility, Bergstrom also swam the butterfly leg on the Aggies’ eighth-place 200 medley relay that set the school record at the NCAA meet.
Last year’s Heye Memorial Award winner Luke Chambless received the Bob Stallings Aggie Heart Award in 2008. The Award is named for longtime Aggie swimming supporter and swim official Bob Stallings, who passed away last summer. The senior from Cleburne High School qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke and swam on both the Aggies’ freestyle relays. At his final Big 12 Championship, Chambless reached the Championship final in three events and scored 43 individual points.
Also at the banquet, the Aggies named the 2008-09 team captains: Kyle Holland, Brad Raiford and Strange.
2007-08 Texas A&M Swimming & Diving Honors
Team MVP – Ozzie Gardner
Trey Heye Memorial Award – Casey Strange
Most Improved – Jason Bergstrom
Bob Stallings Aggie Heart Award – Luke Chambless
2008-09 Team Captains – Kyle Holland, Brad Raiford, Casey Strange
2008 Academic All-Big 12 -- (first team) Jason Bergstrom, Luke Chambless, Ozzie Gardner, Alejandro Jacobo, Brad Raiford and Casey Strange. (second team) Matt Platt, Henry Stevens and John VanNatta.
2007-08 Big 12 Winter Sports Good Works Team -- Kyle Holland