Men’s Swimming Team Heads to Columbia For SEC Championships
COLUMBIA, Mo. – The No. 3 Texas A&M men’s swimming team is set to compete at the SEC Championships Tuesday, February 23rdthrough Friday, February 26th at the Mizzou Aquatic Center. Tuesday’s finals will begin at 5 p.m., followed by prelims daily at 10 a.m. and finals set for 6 p.m. The Aggies are headed into the postseason with their highest team ranking since the 2001 season.
Junior Shaine Casas looks to again lead the Aggies after earning the Commissioner’s Trophy at the 2020 SEC Championships. Casas is the top seed among SEC competitors in five individual events, while ranking second in another. He boasts the fastest time in the nation in the 50 back (19.15) 100 back (43.87), 200 back (1:36.54) and 200 IM (1:38.95) and adds top-three times in the 50 free, 100 fly, 200 fly and 400 IM. The McAllen, Texas native has lowered six school records so far this season, while earning an automatic qualifying time for NCAA Championships in six different individual events. Casas also has earned the SEC weekly accolades five times this season.
Senior captain Mark Theall is a key veteran for the Maroon & White and is chasing his first SEC individual title after earning silver in the 500 free and bronze in the 200 free at last year’s championships. He currently owns the third-fastest time in the nation in both the 200 (1:32.98) and 500 free (4:10.67). Theall also helped the 200 free relay team record an A-cut and program-best time of 1:16.48 during the Art Adamson Invite.
Senior Tanner Olson and sophomore Andres Puente aim to be top point-earners for the Maroon & White. Olson currently sits as the No. 1 seed in the 100 breast after breaking the school record in the event twice in one day at the Art Adamson Invite, as his time of 51.39 stands as the fastest in school history. Puente, who was a silver medalist behind A&M’s Ben Walker in the 200 breast last season, set a season-best time of 1:52.74 in the event during the Art Adamson Invite, making him the top seed in the event heading into the championships.
Last week, the men’s diving team completed its portion of SEC Championships, putting quality points on the board for the Aggies. Senior Kurtis Mathews became the second Aggie to earn back-to-back diving titles when he defended his 3-meter gold medal with a score of 474.00, clinching the gold on his final dive of the day. Mathews also made the trip to the podium after earning the second-highest score on the 1-meter (411.10). Sophomore Tony Stewart added points for the Aggies with a 17th-place finish on the platform.
For the health and safety of the student-athletes competing in this year’s championships, social distancing measures will be in place on the pool deck. Team seating will be on deck and in the spectator seating areas of the venue. With these protocols, there will be no spectator seating available inside the competition facilities for the duration of the events.
SEC Championships Schedule
Tuesday, February 23
10 a.m. Time Trials
5 p.m. Finals: 200 medley relay, 800 free relay
Wednesday, February 24
10 a.m. Prelims
6 p.m. Finals: 500 free, 200 IM, 50 free, 200 free relay
Thursday, February 25
10 a.m. Prelims
6 p.m. Finals: 400 IM, 100 fly, 200 free, 100 breast, 100 back, 400 medley relay
Friday, February 26
10 a.m. Prelims
6 p.m. Finals: 1650 free, 200 back, 100 free, 200 breast, 200 fly, 400 free relay