BATON ROUGE, La. – The No. 4 Texas A&M men's swimming & diving team claimed victory in a dominant fashion, racking up 15 first-place finishes out 16 events on the day to earn a 182-113 win at the LSU Natatorium Saturday afternoon. Senior Benjamin Walker highlighted the team's performance as he set a pool record in the 200 breast, finishing four seconds ahead of his closest competition, while classmate Adam Koster notched a pool record of his own as the leadoff in the 400 free relay.
The 200 medley relay team of sophomore Shaine Casas, Walker, Koster and senior Mike Thibert got things started for the Aggies, as it earned the top spot in the first event of the day. Sophomore Mark Schnippenkoetter and junior Felipe Rizzo continued the momentum with first- and third-place finishes, respectively, in the 1000 free.
Walker and freshman Andres Puente tacked on a 1-2 finish in the 100 breast as the Aggies locked up the top two spots for the first of three times against LSU.
It was a head-to-head battle for the Aggies in the 100 free, when junior Mark Theall was able to get his hand on the wall just two-tenths of a second before Thibert as the pair added another 1-2 finish for A&M.
Despite a four-second differential in finish times, the Aggies claimed first and second for the third time when Walker set an LSU Natatorium record with a 1:56.72 finish in the 200 breast and Puente was again just behind him. Walker earned his third victory of the day and wrapped up the individual events with an NCAA B-cut finish in the 400 IM.
The 400 free relay concluded the competition at LSU as Koster added a big finish, setting a pool record with a 43.46 leadoff split to position the Aggies for their final top finish of the day.
Junior Kurtis Mathews, the reigning SEC Male Diver of the Week, again claimed a pair of top finishes after taking first in the 3-meter (404.93) and 1-meter (373.05). Mathews has tallied five first-place finishes this season, recording a top-three score 11 times. After a fourth-place finish in the 3-meter, freshman Victor Povzner turned things around in the 1-meter, using score of 360.75 to finish just behind his teammate in second.
The Aggies will return to the pool on Friday, Jan. 31st as they host SMU for their final dual meet of the season. The Senior Day meet is set to begin at 6 p.m. at the Rec Center Natatorium.
Top Times on the Day
200 Medley Relay – Shaine Casas, Benjamin Walker, Adam Koster, Mike Thibert – 1:27.97*
1000 Free – Mark Schnippenkoetter – 9:24.81*
1000 Free – Felipe Rizzo – 9:31.01
200 Free – Mark Theall – 1:36.15*
100 Back – Shaine Casas – 47.23*
100 Breast – Benjamin Walker – 54.32*
100 Breast – Andres Puente – 55.02
200 Fly – Alberto Gomez – 1:50.68*
200 Fly – Luke Stuart – 1:51.31
50 Free – Adam Koster – 20.02*
50 Free – Mike Thibert – 20.31
100 Free - Mark Theall – 44.11*
100 Free – Mike Thibert – 44.13*
200 Back – Shaine Casas – 1:44.21*
200 Breast – Benjamin Walker – 1:56.72*
200 Breast – Andres Puente – 2:00.74
500 Free – Felipe Rizzo – 4:33.77*
100 Fly – Adam Koster – 48.66
400 IM – Benjamin Walker – 3:51.25*
400 Free Relay – Adam Koster, Mike Thibert, Mark Theall, Shaine Casas – 2:55.84*
Post Meet Quotes
Head Coach Jay Holmes
On the team's performance …
It was great to get back in the win column. There were a number of places that we were better this week than we were last week, which is, of course, how we want things to happen. An SEC win and a win against LSU are always great, just makes it a whole lot more fun.
On looking toward SEC Championships …
We are getting ready for that, this is obviously a team we are going to see there. There is not a bad team at SEC [Championships], they are all good. This is going to prepare us for it and we just have to keep doing our job, one event after the other. You swim four events a session, and at SEC's you won't swim that many, but this gives us an opportunity to begin preparing mentally. SEC's is the longest conference meet in the country and we are doing our best to prepare for that.
Head Diving Coach Jay Lerew
On the divers' performance …
Kurtis [Mathews] was solid again, at these kinds of meets you come and only get to practice each dive once before you go. Kurtis did a good job. Victor [Povzner] struggled a little bit, but then he got it together on the 1-meter, so it was nice to finish 1-2 in the 1-meter event.
Senior swimmer Benjamin Walker
On his pool record performance …
It was a good swim, I was really happy with the time. I felt really good in the water and I just wanted to push it as hard as I could, which is good moving forward because I think I have more in the tank in that race.
On looking forward to SEC Championships …
Today was exciting seeing so many guys swim well. I think we are going to have a really great meet at SEC's. There were some really great races to watch, the 200 free was a really great time, and of course Adam [Koster] breaking a pool record. Overall our team is doing really well and we are definitely going to be good in a month, I'm excited about that.