COLUMBIA, MO -- Texas A&M senior Eric Sehn won the 11th conference individual crown of his career with a record-setting effort in the three-meter springboard at the 2009 Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships on Friday at the University of Missouri Aquatic Center.
In the team race, defending champion Texas maintained its lead with 765 points, with the Aggies in second with 534.5 points and Missouri in third with 525.5.
Three divers scored over 400 points in the hotly-contested competition, but Sehn’s Big 12 meet and overall record 451.35 outclassed the field. Sehn held a narrow nine-point lead over Texas’ Jonathan Wilcox after four rounds, but shut the door on his competition with scores of 75.95 and 76.5 on his fifth and sixth dives.
“The three-meter is probably my strongest dive, so I was more confident than I was with the one-meter (on Wednesday),” Sehn said. “I was focused on making sure I landed on my head every time and being tight on my entries. Jonathan (Wilcox) dove extremely well, and he has a big list, so that helped keep me zoned in on my dives.”
Sehn, from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is now a perfect 11-for-11 at the Big 12 Championships, with the platform dive on tap on Saturday. Sehn’s 11th crown matches Texas Tech’s Sally Kipyego for most Big 12 titles by an individual. Kipyego will try to add to her total at the Big 12 Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station this weekend.
“Eric did a great job of rising to the occasion,” Aggie diving coach Kevin Wright said. “Jonathan Wilcox has a tough list of dives and is capable scoring big. Eric had to step it up to win No. 11.
In swimming action, the Aggies sped to an NCAA “B” cut and second place finish in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The foursome of sophomore Balazs Makany, senior Brad Raiford, junior Casey Strange and junior Jason Bergstrom hit the wall in a season-best 1:18.86.
Senior Ryan Loney placed third in the 400 IM with a lifetime best time of 3:55.96, which is the eighth-fastest in school history.
Also earning a third-place finish was junior Nathan Lavery, who hit the wall in 54.25 in the 100-yard breaststroke. Earlier in the day, Lavery set the pool record (broken in the final) with a 53.64 “B” cut in the prelims. Lavery’s prelim clocking ranks as the second-fastest in school history. Also in the Championship final, sophomore Bryan Snowden placed fifth in a career-best 54.51 and freshman Amini Fonua took sixth in a career-best 54.54. Both Snowden and Fonua’s time were NCAA “B” cuts.
In the 100 back, the Aggies finished 3-4 with Bergstrom taking third in 47.33 and junior Nikita Denisyako placing fourth in 47.35.
In the 100 butterfly, sophomore Boris Loncaric placed fifth in the NCAA “B” cut and career-best time of 47.26, which is the second-fastest time in school history behind 1985 and 1986 NCAA 100 fly runner-up Chris O’Neil’s record of 47.10. Also in the Championship final, junior Tyler Welch placed seventh in 48.22 after posting a career-best 47.46 in the prelims earlier in the day.
Makany, the school record holder in the 200 freestyle, placed eighth in the race with a time of 1:36.85.