SEATTLE, WA -- Texas A&M closed out the first day of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Swimming & Diving Championships with a consolation final victory in the 400-yard medley relay on Thursday at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Wash.
The Aggies scored 43 points on Thursday and were in 10th place in the team standings. Cal-Berkeley led with 157.5 points, followed by Stanford (140), Texas (128.5), Arizona (118), Auburn (106.5), Michigan (84), USC (79), Florida (58), Louisville (46) and Texas A&M in the top 10.
The foursome of seniors John Ariens, Amini Fonua and Boris Loncaric and junior John Dalton touched first in a time of 3:09.09 to win by more than a half-second. Ariens led off with a backstroke leg of 47.76, followed by Fonua in the breaststroke (53.07), Loncaric in the fly (45.74) and Dalton in the free (42.52).
“We were backed into a corner a little bit because we desperately need points,” Aggie head swimming coach Jay Holmes said. “We needed someone to make something happen, and, to their credit, they went out there and got it done. It was a momentum boost, for sure, and we will need all that momentum for (Friday’s prelims). Tomorrow morning is incredibly important for us to get where we want to be.”
Senior Grant Nel, from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, had the Aggies’ highest finish of the day with a fifth place effort with 376.40 points in the one-meter dive. Scoring the first points of the day for the Aggies was sophomore Hayden Jones, who took seventh place in the consolation final (15th overall) with a score of 363.90.
“I’d say that Grant is probably a little disappointed in fifth place, but I know that Grant is going to come back tomorrow and be great,” Holmes said. “He’s such a great competitor and the three-meter is probably his favorite event. I know he’ll be ready to go.”
The Aggies opened the evening session with a seventh-place finish in the consolation final (15th overall) of the 200-yard freestyle relay. The foursome of sophomore Kyle Troskot, Dalton, Fonua and Loncaric touched the wall in 1:18.72.
Dalton also contributed individual points in the 50 free after finishing sixth in the consolation final (14th overall) with a time of 19.55. Earlier in the day, Dalton blasted a school record of 19.44, which eclipsed Ozzie Gardner’s old school standard of 19.49 set at the 2008 NCAA Championships in Federal Way.
“That was a fun race to watch,” Holmes said. “Ozzie set that record in this same pool and held it for four years. John stepped up and got it done. It was an exciting swim and it was fun to see.”
Day two at the NCAA Championships starts with the prelims at 11 a.m. (PT)/ 1 p.m. (CT), followed by the finals at 7 p.m. (PT)/9 p.m. (CT). Live results can be accessed at NCAA.com and live video for the morning prelims can be found at GoSeattleU.com.