LONDON --- Texas A&M sophomore Breeja Larson became the first Aggie swimmer to earn an Olympic gold medal when Team USA’s women’s 4x100-meter medley relay won gold on Saturday.
Larson, from Mesa, Ariz., did not swim in the Olympic final for Team USA, but earned her gold medal by helping the relay advance through the preliminary heats. With Larson swimming the breaststroke leg on Friday, Team USA qualified fourth for the final in a time of 3:58.88. On Saturday, the foursome of Missy Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer and Allison Schmitt crushed the field by nearly two seconds with a time of 3:52.05.
Larson’s gold medal was the Texas A&M women’s swimming program’s second medal in school history. At the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, Christine Marshall won a bronze medal with Team USA’s 4x200-meter freestyle relay.
The gold medal culminated a spectacular sophomore campaign for Larson, who won four Big 12 Championships, broke the NCAA record in the 100-yard breaststroke twice, broke the American and U.S. Open record in the 100-yard breaststroke while winning the NCAA crown and became the first Aggie to earn a spot on Team USA in an individual event by upsetting Soni and then- world record holder Jessica Hardy in the 100 breast at the Olympic Trials.
Another Aggie put herself in line for a shot at a medal on Saturday was 2012 senior Jaele Patrick, who advanced to the final of the 3-meter springboard. The 2012 NCAA 3-meter Champion and NCAA Diver of the Meet barely advanced out of the prelims as the final qualifier (289.65), but she improved to 11th in semifinals with a score of 315.60. Representing Australia, Patrick will compete in the 3-meter springboard final on Sunday.