AUBURN, Ala. --- Texas A&M senior Jaele Patrick won silver in the one-meter dive to highlight the Aggies’ first day at the 2012 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships on Thursday at Auburn University.
The Aggies took their first step toward a sixth-straight top 10 finish at the NCAA Championships by scoring 89 points to stand seventh in the day one standings. Cal leads with 132 points, followed by Stanford (118), USC (118), Arizona (107), Auburn (94), Georgia (91), Texas A&M, Texas (74), Tennessee (73) and Missouri (44) in the top 10.
Patrick, from Lilydale, Victoria, Australia, started fast and held the top spot for the first four rounds before eventual champion Victoria Ishimatsu of USC took a narrow lead after the fifth round. With her sixth and final dive, Patrick gave herself a chance to win with a 56.25 score, but Ishimatsu grabbed the gold medal with a 61.2-point effort on his final dive. Ishimatsu finished with 354.10 points, while Patrick posted a score of 348.90.
It matched the 2002 runner-up finish on the platform by Meghan Zack as the highest diving finish by an Aggie at the NCAA Championships. Teammate Janie Potvin also contributed a sixth-place finish with 320.85 points.
“I knew it was going to be extremely tight and it was,” Patrick said. “It was an incredible competition and (Ishimatsu) did a great job. It’s a great feeling to be able to contribute to our team, and I’m glad I was able to come through with some points.”
The Aggies made another trip to the award stand with the 400-yard medley relay that finished fourth. The sophomore foursome of Paige Miller, Breeja Larson, Caroline McElhany and Kim Pavlin touched in 3:30.31 in the finals after destroying their school and Big 12 record in the morning prelims with a time of 3:29.42. Miller also broke her own school record in the prelims with a leadoff backstroke leg of 51.89.
The Aggies opened the evening finals with a third-place finish (11th overall) in the consolation final of the 200 freestyle relay. The foursome of McElhany, Miller, Larson and sophomore Erica Dittmer touched in a season-best time of 1:28.84.
Junior Maureen McLaine contributed four points with a fifth-place finish (13th overall) in the “B” final of the 500 free with a time of 4:40.12. Earlier in the day, she swam to a lifetime best of 4:38.75, which put her No. 3 on A&M’s top 10 list in the 500 free.
The Aggie totaled 13 points in the 200 IM with four swimmers in the consolation heat of the race. Dittmer led the way with a third-place finish (11th overall) in a lifetime best time of 1:56.96, and she was trailed by Pavlin (13th, 1:57.89), Miller (15th, 1:59.03) and McElhany (16th, 1:59.14).