COLLEGE STATION -- The Texas A&M men’s swimming and diving team won four races and swept both dives but fell short of the upset against No. 15 Penn State with the Nittany Lions winning in dual meet action, 140-102, on Friday at the TAMU Student Recreation Natatorium.
“We had a tremendous amount of respect for Penn State – where they are and where they came from,” Aggie head coach Jay Holmes said. “I thought it was a great college dual meet. I wasn’t pleased with the outcome, but I liked the way we competed racing-wise. I saw some really good efforts from a bunch of different guys.”
Leading the way for the Aggies was sophomore Balazs Makany (pronounced bah-LODGE mah-CONNIE), a two-time Olympian for Hungary, who tallied victories in the 100- and 200-yard freestyles. In the 200, Makany used a furious comeback in the final 25 yards to win in a time of 1:39.55. Makany trailed a pair of PSU swimmers for half the race and then overcame the Nittany Lions’ Basil Kaaki down the stretch for the victory. In the 100, Makany was in fourth place after the first 50, but used a 22.50 second 50 to emerge victorious in a time of 45.61.
“Balazs was impressive in his 100 and 200 free victories,” Holmes said. “There’s no reason why he should have won both those races. He just wanted it more than anyone else.”
The Aggie diving crew was dominant with a 1-2-3 finish in the three-meter springboard and a 1-2 finish on the one-meter board. Senior Eric Sehn, back in action after redshirting last season, paced the effort in the 3m with a school record score of 428.71, and he was trailed by freshman Cam McLean (383.85) and junior Henry Stevens (300.52). McLean pulled the upset with a victory over his Canadian countryman Sehn in the 1m. McLean turned in a winning score of 354.0 to edge the nine-time Big 12 Champion Sehn (353.78). Sehn and McLean both earned Zone qualifying marks.
“Cam is talented young kid, but Eric has the experience – so it’s youth vs. experience with those two,” Aggie diving coach Kevin Wright said. “It’s going to be an interesting battle as the season goes on.”
Junior Casey Strange flexed his muscles with a victory in his specialty, the 50-yard freestyle. Like Makany, Strange trailed midway through the race but rallied in the final 25 for the win in a quick 20.87. Senior Brad Raiford hit the wall fourth with a time of 21.30.
“I was really pleased with Casey swimming a 20.8 this early in the season,” Holmes said. “Casey will get faster and faster as the season progresses.”
In the second-to-last race of the night, sophomore Bryan Snowden logged the first victory of his career with a win in the 200-yard breaststroke. The race was tight early, but Snowden powered away in final 100 for the win in 2:08.31.
“We have a little void in the breaststroke since we graduated all our breaststrokers from last year,” Holmes said. “For Snowden come in and get his first victory like that is a big boost to our team.”