Aggies in Sixth at NCAA Championships

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN -- The Texas A&M women’s swimming & diving team is in sixth place after the first of three days of competition at the 2007 NCAA Championships.

The Aggies scored 82.5 points on Thursday, which already ranks as fifth-highest total that A&M has ever scored at NCAA’s over the course of the entire meet. The Aggies sit just 3.5 points behind 2006 national runner-up Georgia who is in fifth.

A&M broke a pair of two school records twice on day one. Sophomore Triin Aljand (Tallinn, Estonia) lowered the 50-yard freestyle school record from 22.27 to 22.17 from morning to night to place in a tie for fifth with Brooke Bishop of Stanford. The placing equals A&M’s highest in a race at the NCAA meet since Susie Geyer finished fourth in the 100 breast in 1994.

The Aggies’ 200-yard freestyle relay cracked the 1:30 barrier for the time in school history Thursday, doing so twice. After going 1:29.97 to qualify eighth in the morning, A&M’s quartet of Julia Wilkinson (Stratford, Ont.), Rebecca Sturdy (Anacortes, Wash.), Alia Atkinson (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Aljand improved to 1:29.60 at night, passing both Kentucky and Tennessee.

Sophomore Julia Wilkinson earned a sixth-place finish in her first-ever individual NCAA Championship final. Wilkinson swam a time of 1:58.23, the second-fastest of her career to put 13 points on the board for A&M. Sophomore Christine Marshall (Newport News, Va.) was sixth in the consolation final in 2:00.58, tacking on three more points.

A&M’s 400-yard medley relay closed the day’s action by finishing seventh. Wilkinson, Atkinson, Sturdy and Marshall finished in a time of 3:39.30.

Sophomore Kristen Heiss (Casper, Wyo.) finished sixth in the consolation final of the 500-yard freestyle. In the first individual night swim of her career at the NCAA Championships, Heiss swam the second-fastest time of her life, 4:44.56. Heiss broke her own school record during morning prelims, swimming 4:44.11.

Day two will start on Friday with morning preliminaries at 11 a.m. Finals are set to begin at 7 p.m.