MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.—Texas A&M swimmer Kristen Heiss (Casper, Wyo.) earned a silver medal in the 200-meter backstroke at the 2008 U.S. Open on Wednesday night and in doing so has likely secured a spot on the United States’ World University Games team next summer.
Heiss hit the wall in a career-best time of 2:09.99. Heiss broke the U.S. Open meet record in prelims then did so again in finals, as did post-collegian Hayley McGregory who claimed the gold medal in 2:08.42.
The World University Games will be held in Belgrade, Serbia from July 2-9, 2009. The highest placing American collegian in each event is granted a spot on the U.S. team.
Aggies made up one-quarter of the championship field in the 200-meter backstroke as Emily Neal (Plano) also qualified for Wednesday night’s final. Neal also swam a career-best at night, clocking a time of 2:12.27 to finish sixth, while placing fourth among U.S. competitors.
Aggie senior Jenni Stratton (Portland) also qualified for a championship final at the U.S. Open, placing eighth in 4:52.63 in the 400-meter individual medley.
The all-Aggie 4 x 100-meter relay team of Maria Sommer (Brenham), Heiss, Lindsey King (Beaverton, Ore.), and Sarah Woods (Birmingham, Ala.) earned a ninth-place finish in 3:50.01, an impressive feat in that Heiss and King rarely swim the 100 free competitively. Woods turned in the fifth-fastest split in the field (56.03) to lead the Aggie Swim Club effort.
The U.S. Open will continue through Saturday evening while four other members of the A&M women’s team, as well as A&M head coach Steve Bultman, are currently in Singapore training for the 2008 Olympic Games which begin on August 8.