Aggies Continue to Qualify for Olympic Games, U.S. Trials

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COLLEGE STATION -- Two more Texas A&M women swimmers qualified to compete in the two fastest meets in the world following action at the Texas Senior Circuit #4 over the weekend in Austin.

Sophomore Alia Atkinson (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) officially qualified to swim in her second consecutive Olympic Games after posting a time of 2:31.28 in a 200-meter breaststroke time trial on Sunday evening. Atkinson, 20, smashed the qualifying standard she needed to achieve by more than two seconds. The four-time Big 12 breaststroke champion will swim for her birth country of Jamaica in Beijing in August.

Freshman walk-on Maria Sommer (Brenham) earned the right to compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials in the 50-meter freestyle on Sunday evening. After just missing the time she needed on Friday morning by .04, Sommer, 18, qualified for the finals of the 100-meter freestyle on Sunday and used the first 50 of that race to get the time she needed. Sommer recorded a time of 26.31 in the first half of her 100 free to go under the U.S. trials 50 free standard of 26.39.

Also at the Austin meet, junior Christine Marshall (Newport News, Va.) turned in arguably the top performance of her career. Marshall hit the wall in 1:58.36 in the 200-meter freestyle, second behind Olympic gold medalist Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe. To put Marshall’s time in perspective, her effort would have easily won the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials and earned her the bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic Games.

The Texas Senior Circuit #4 meet represented the final opportunity for A&M swimmers to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials. The Aggie women will send 10 athletes to the U.S. Trials. One 2008 signee, Megan Latone (Austin), will swim at the trials as well.

Three other Aggies, Alia Atkinson, Triin Aljand, and Julia Wilkinson, have all qualified to swim in the 2008 Olympics for Jamaica, Estonia, and Canada, respectively.

The U.S. Olympic Trials will take place June 29-July 6 in Omaha, Neb. The 2008 Olympic Games will run from August 8-24 in Beijing, China.

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