COLUMBIA, Mo. --- The Texas A&M women's swimming and diving team won its fourth Big 12 Championship in six seasons in dominant fashion on Saturday at the Mizzou Aquatic Center.
The Aggies won 11 of 19 possible events as they scored 1,019 points to overpower the field at the Big 12 Championships. A&M finished 146 points ahead of runner-up Texas (873 points), which had beaten the Aggies head-to-head in a fall dual meet. Rounding out the standings were Missouri (630), Kansas (423) and Iowa State (328).
"The girls just believed, and they worked incredibly hard for it," Bultman said. "It was just awesome to see that hard work pays off. Anytime you win a conference championship, it's awesome. I don't know if it makes it that much better that it's our last one. It's just nice to get a conference win again."
After the meet, Bultman was named Women's Swimming Coach of the Meet for the fifth time, while diving coach Jay Lerew received the Women's Diving Coach of the Meet honors for the second time.
Also receiving post-meet honors were sophomore Breeja Larson and senior Janie Potvin. Larson was named Swimmer of the Meet after sweeping both breaststroke races and appearing on two winning relays. Potvin was named Diver of the Meet after posting wins on the platform and the one-meter springboard.
Of Larson, Bultman said: "Breeja is doing something special, not just on the conference level but on the national level as well. It will be exciting to see what will happen in two and a half weeks (at the NCAA Championships). We have six girls that aren't shaved and aren't close to being rested, so I think we're going to see some even better things coming up."
Of Potvin, Lerew said: "She's psyched up about tonight's (platform) win and the Diver of the Meet honor. She was in a zone tonight. Everything was working for her and she just let it happen. She's been working extremely hard and it's paying off for her. With the way she's been progressing, I think she'll be going for the (NCAA platform) title in a few weeks."
The Aggies opened the night with a strong showing in the 200-yard backstroke. The foursome of Tess Simpson, Megan Latone, Anna Heller and Kim Pavlin contributed 61 points by grabbing second, third, fourth and sixth place in the race. Simpson led the way with a time of 1:56.30 and was closely followed by Latone in 1:56.32. Heller finished in 1:56.88 and Pavlin touched in 1:57.44.
A&M added another 36 points in the 100 free with the freshman trio of Sammie Bosma, Kelli Benjamin and Ellen Quirke. Bosma took fifth in 49.97 and Benjamin was sixth in 50.27. Quirke won the consolation final with a time of 50.02.
The Aggies struck gold for the first time on the final day when Maureen McLaine won the 1,650 freestyle for the second straight year. Already the first Aggie under the 16 minute mark in the race, McLaine crushed the Big 12 meet record with a time of 16:00.70. The previous record of 16:04.54 by Rachel Harris of Texas in 2001 had stood for 11 years. Ashley Adams took third in 16:16.59 and Alyssa Conner was eighth in 16:52.27.
Super sophomore Breeja Larson kept the gold rush going with a win in the 200 breaststroke. Larson, who set the NCAA record in the 100 breast on Friday, turned in a winning time of 2:06.94, while fellow sophomore Erica Dittmer was third in 2:12.98.
The Aggies' butterfly crew were dominant with a sweep of the top three spots in the 200 fly. Sophomore Cammile Adams defended her 2011 Big 12 crown with another win in 1:54.60, while Caroline McElhany grabbed silver in 1:55.76 and Rita Medrano took the bronze in 1:57.34.
Senior Janie Potvin staked her claim to the Diver of the Meet award by winning the platform dive in Big 12 overall and meet record fashion with a score of 375.0. With the victory virtually ensured, Potvin nailed her final dive with all nines for a score of 86.50. Jessica Macauley contributed a fourth place finish with a lifetime best score of 261.35.
The Aggies closed out the meet with a runner-up finish in the 400 free relay with the foursome of McElhany, Bosma, Pavlin and Dittmer finishing in a 3:18.87.
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