DALLAS – The Texas A&M men’s swimming & diving team placed second out of six teams with 306 points at the SMU Classic on Saturday afternoon. The Aggie relays highlighted the final day as both the 200 medley and 200 free teams recorded top finishes.
“We were a bit sharper today than yesterday. In this format, it’s hard to ever pull away from other teams, but it’s also hard to catch up, so we needed something today to happen for us to make up some points. Obviously, we didn’t do enough to win the whole meet. We did make them work for it, but Texas remains a very hard team to beat. Our guys competed really well, we just still need to be better,” said head coach Jay Homes. “The session started and ended with a relay win for us, which was a lot of fun. Connor Foote’s 20.2 fly split on the opening medley was awe-inspiring to watch, he just underwater kicked past the field. We didn’t even realize until afterwards that the guys had set the meet record in the 200 free relay, but we were just thrilled at how those four guys put it together.”
“We thought our weak spots today would be the 500 free and the 200 fly, and that we would hold our own in the 100 free and 3-meter diving. We thought we would catch some teams with our 200 back, 200 breast and 200 IM events, and that’s pretty much what happened. Anze [Fers Erzen] and [Maximiliano Vega] did a great job there for us in the 500 free, though. They got more points there than we could have hoped for.”
In the 200 medley relay Ethan Gogulski, Andres Puente, Connor Foote and Kaloyan Bratanov posted a time of 1:25.45. Freshman Foote’s 50 fly split, 20.23, registers as the second fastest in program history.
Anze Fers Erzen put up a top-three finish for the Maroon & White, recording a 4:24.34 in the 500 free. Puente then added another first-place finish in the 200 breast, clocking in at 1:54.68.
Gogulski claimed second in the 200 back with a time of 1:42.84. Right behind him was Thomas Shomper with a B final time of 1:42.96, the third-fastest time in the event overall.
Bratanov swam a 43.89 in the 100 free and Foote finished in 43.56 in the B final to add points for the Aggies.
“Mizzou kept it interesting for us in the battle for second. We worked really hard to catch them the whole day and had passed them until the 200 fly where they won both the A and B heats. Anze and Baylor [Nelson] had great races in the 200 IM to put us back barely ahead of them, and of course the final race in the 200 free relay was a hot race as we needed to win it to keep us in second.”
Baylor Nelson furthered his memorable A&M debut as he took second in the 200 IM, registering the fifth-fastest time in program history (1:43.32). Fers Erzen competed in the B final, clocking in a time of 1:45.32.
The 200 free relay team ended the weekend on a high note, earning the top spot after Foote, Bratanov, Gogulski and Nelson recorded a time of 1:18.66.
Rhett Hensley added double-digit points for the Maroon & White on the 3-meter, scoring a 316.10.
“Meets like this prepare us for circumstances we will face in a conference championship event. Still have work to do but our staff is seeing that we are headed in the right direction.”
“It was really great seeing some of our former students in the crowd today. We had several different eras of A&M swimming & diving there to support us. We appreciate all of them coming to watch, and we heard from some who were watching the live stream. Having our people still follow us after they have graduated is still pretty awesome.”
The Aggies return to the pool on Friday, Oct. 21 to take on Indiana and Texas in Austin.