NAPOLI, Italy -- Former Texas A&M swimmers Lisa Bratton and Claire Rasmus each earned gold at the 2019 World University Games at the Piscina Scandone in Napoli, Italy.
Bratton, from Richland, Wash. had a standout performance in the 200-meter backstroke final, breaking the World University Games record with a time of 2:07.91. She moves up to eighth in the world this year, while maintaining her spot as the ninth-fastest U.S. swimmer of all-time. It was also her best time in the event in three years. Bratton went 2:08.20 at the U.S. Olympic Trials back in 2016.
“That was a great swim by Lisa,” said head women’s swimming coach Steve Bultman. “A gold medal, meet record, a best time, and was also voted one of the team captains. She does such a great job pacing her races. We’re all very proud of her.”
Rasmus, from New Orleans, La. earned a gold medal as part of Team USA’s 400-meter relay, teaming with Veronica Burchill, Catherine De Loof and Gabrielle De Loof in 3:37.99, defeating Japan (3:41.74) and Italy (3:41.84).
“I’m very proud of Claire,” said Bultman. “They gave her an opportunity to swim on the relay in the prelims and she did a great job. It earned her a spot in the finals and she had another great split, earning herself a gold medal and a meet record.”
Both Bratton and Rasmus are representing USA at the 2019 World University Games. Also on Team USA is Jorie Caneta and Jonathan Tybur.
Tybur has yet to compete, but Caneta advanced to the semifinals of the 100-meter breaststroke, winning her preliminary heat in 1:08.94 to finish ninth. In the semifinals she finished 14th with a time of 1:09.17.
Head men’s swimming coach Jay Holmes is currently in Napoli coaching Mexico.
“Even though I’m here as Team Mexico’s coach” Jay Holmes said. “I’m getting to see all our Aggies compete.
Team Mexico had three Aggies compete in the men’s 400-meter freestyle relay that finished twelfth with a time of 3:25.14. Alberto Gomez led off the relay (50.89), followed by Lorenzo Loria (50.60) and former Aggies Mauro Castillo (52.03) and Juan Rocha (52.62).
All three Aggie swimmers competed individually as well. Rocha, from McAllen, Texas had one of the best preliminary times in the 100 back (56:56). Gomez, from The Woodlands, Texas finished 27th in the 200 IM with a time of 2:04.30. Coach Holmes shared that both Aggies had good times in the prelims, but did not make it back for the semifinals.
Castillo, a native of Mexico made it to the semifinals in the 100 breaststroke. He swam 1:01:24 in the preliminary round and lowered his time in the semifinals, finishing twelfth with a time of 1:01.04.
“Mauro really rushed his prelim swim too much in the 100 breast, but he was good enough to make the semifinals,” said Holmes. “Even though he didn’t move on to the finals, his semifinal swim was executed much better and had a shot to make the Top 8 in a very fast field.”
The 2019 World University Games continues tomorrow, July 6 beginning with the men’s 200 meter butterfly. There will be a morning and afternoon session, with the afternoon session concluding with the men’s 200 meter individual relay.
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