COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Texas A&M University will play host to the 2009 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships at the Student Rec Center Natatorium this Thursday through Saturday.
This marks the third time Texas A&M has hosted an NCAA Championship swim meet. A&M hosted its first-ever NCAA Championship in any sport when it hosted the men’s swimming & diving national championships in 2001. In 2004, the Aggies hosted the women’s national championship meet.
This weekend’s meet also marks the third of four NCAA Championships that Texas A&M will host this month. Last weekend A&M hosted the men’s and women’s NCAA track & field championships while next weekend Aggieland will host the NCAA men’s swimming & diving meet for the first time in eight years.
A lot has happened for the Texas A&M women’s swimming & diving program since the last time it hosted the NCAA Championships. In 2004, when it last hosted, A&M earned a 16th place finish after not scoring a single point at the national meet in 2003. The Aggies have improved their NCAA finish every single year since 2004, culminating in a fourth-place team finish at the 2008 NCAA Championships in Columbus, Ohio.
The Aggies will be led by a heralded senior class that helped transform A&M into a swimming power. Two-time Olympian Triin Aljand (Tallinn, Estonia) has won 15 Big 12 Championships in her career and ranks No. 1 on the all-time A&M All-American list with 17 honors. Christine Marshall (Newport News, Va.), A&M’s first ever U.S. Olympian, ranks third on that list with 15 All-American titles and earned Big 12 Swimmer of the Meet in A&M’s breakthrough Big 12 Championship win in 2007. Codie Hansen (Arlington) was the first breakthrough star of the Class of 2009, winning conference swimmer of the year honors as a freshman. Hansen has turned in her fastest season yet this year in her collegiate swan song. Marissa Jasek (San Antonio) has been a key component of the Aggies’ 200-yard freestyle relays the past two seasons, helping them to Big 12 titles and a NCAA Championship finals berth last season.
Other athletes representing A&M at the NCAA Championships this year will be juniors Alia Atkinson (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), co-captain Melissa Hain (Kingwood), Emily Neal (Plano), and Sarah Woods (Birmingham, Ala.); sophomores Casey Hurrell-Zitelman (San Antonio), Lindsey King (Beaverton, Ore.), Jaele Patrick (Lilydale, Victoria, Australia), and Maria Sommer (Brenham); and freshmen Megan Latone (Austin) and Rita Medrano (Aguascalientes, Mexico).
The group of 14 A&M qualifiers entered into the 2009 NCAA Championships is the largest in school history surpassing the total of 12 qualifiers a season ago.
The 2009 NCAA Championships will be live streamed in a cooperative effort between Swimming World and ESPN. Five of the first six sessions of both the NCAA men’s and women’s championship meets will be covered by Swimming World while ESPN360 will step in to cover Saturday night finals only. Swimming World will also provide highlight packages, on-demand race footage, and post-race interviews. The live stream will be available at both SwimmingWorldMagazine.com and NCAA.com. ESPN2 will broadcast the women’s meet on a tape-delayed basis with a 90-minute show on March 26 at 3:30 Eastern.
Seats for the NCAA men’s and women’s swimming & diving championships are sold out though there are a small number of standing room only tickets available for purchase on Thursday morning.
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