Heiss, Marshall Earn Team Honors

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BRYAN, Texas- Texas A&M sophomore swimmers Kristen Heiss (Casper, Wyo.) and Christine Marshall (Newport News, Va.) were named team most valuable swimmers at the annual swimming & diving banquet held at Briarcrest Country Club on Saturday.

Kristen Heiss was named co-MVP by her teammates less than one month after being named Big 12 Swimmer of the Year by the league’s coaches. Heiss won individual Big 12 titles in both the 200-yard backstroke and 500-yard freestyle. She went on to become the first swimmer in A&M history to qualify for three evening finals at the NCAA Championships, breaking the all-time A&M record in both the 200 back and 500 free.

Christine Marshall was named co-MVP after turning in remarkable success both individually and on A&M’s many All-American relays. Marshall was named Big 12 Swimmer of the Meet after setting the Big 12 meet record in the 200-yard individual medley and winning the 200-yard freestyle in addition to swimming on three Big 12 champion relay teams. Marshall was an NCAA championship finalist in the 200 free and three relays as well.

The Aggie Heart Award was given to junior co-captain Beth McCullough (Austin). The ever-improving McCullough was a Big 12 championship finalist in both the 200 and 500 freestyles and a key contributor in the 1,650 freestyle as well in A&M’s march to its first-ever Big 12 title.

The Most Improved Award was given to freshman Melissa Hain (Kingwood). Hain entered A&M less than a year ago with a lifetime best of 4:23.15 in the 400-yard individual medley. Six months later, Hain managed to chop more than 12 full seconds off that time, winning the Big 12 championship in an all-time conference record of 4:11.11.

The Iron Woman Award, given to the Aggies’ top standout in the weight room by strength coach Paul Sealey, was granted to senior co-captain Whitney Thomson (Allen). Thomson spent three years swimming for the University of New Mexico before transferring to A&M. Upon her arrival, Thomson elected to redshirt but was thought of so highly by her teammates during that season that she was voted team captain for her lone year of eligibility for the Aggies. Thomson went on to score big points for A&M in three events at the Big 12 Championships, helping to lead them towards the pinnacle of their history-making season.

Seniors Meghan Nebera (Brentwood, Tenn.), Rebecca Sturdy (Anacortes, Wash.), and Thomson were honored for their achievements during their Aggie swimming careers as well.

Captains for the 2007-08 season were announced at the conclusion of the banquet. Beth McCullough will serve as a co-captain for the second straight season while seniors-to-be Brittany Lentz (Humble) and Erin Mahoney (Wichita, Kan.) will join her in the leadership position.