MINNEAPOLIS—After two days of coming up just short of victory, Texas A&M swimmer Kristen Heiss (Casper, Wyo.) earned a rarely-seen tie for first place on Friday night in the 200-meter freestyle at the 2008 U.S. Open being held at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
Heiss tied former University of Georgia NCAA champion Mary Descenza in a career-best effort of 1:59.43. Heiss held the lead for the entirety of the race until Descenza caught her right at the finishing wall.
The Aggie All-American was the top qualifier during morning preliminaries with a previous lifetime-best swim of 2:00.44, surpassing her effort of 2:00.54 at the U.S. Olympic Trials last month.
Heiss becomes the second swimmer in A&M history to win an event at the U.S. Open. Danielle Townsend was the first, capturing the 200-meter individual medley in 2004.
To conclude Friday night’s action, Heiss led the Aggie Swim Club’s 800-meter freestyle relay team to a sixth-place finish. Heiss, Sarah Woods (Birmingham, Ala.), Casey Hurrell-Zitelman (San Antonio), and Emily Neal (Plano) recorded a time of 8:17.41. Neal also earned a third-place finish in the bonus final of the 100-meter backstroke (1:03.44).
The U.S. Open is scheduled to end on Saturday evening.