March 23, 2011
MINNEAPOLIS --- The Texas A&M men's swimming and diving team will be trying to extend its school record streak of top 25 team finishes to 16 years at the 2011 NCAA Championships Thursday through Saturday at the University of Minnesota.
Texas A&M will be represented by seven Aggies - five swimmers and two divers - at the national meet. Competing in the Championships are senior Balazs Makany, juniors Amini Fonua, Cam McLean and Grant Nel, sophomore John Dalton and freshmen Henrik Lindau and Kyle Troskot.
"The season is a long process, and this meet is what we've been pointing to all season long," Aggie head coach Jay Holmes said. "We're ready to step on the blocks and get this thing going. The guys have put in the work and they are ready to swim fast."
In addition to seeking its 16th straight top 25 NCAA finish, the Aggies will also be looking for its ninth straight finish in the top 20 and fourth straight in the top 15. The Aggies were 12th last season, and have logged finishes of No. 13, No. 12 and No. 12 over the last three NCAA Championships.
"Traditionally, Texas A&M has gotten its points at the NCAA from relays and diving," Holmes said. "That's the plan again this year, although I think we have some scoring opportunities in our individual swims, as well. We're going to take each session individually and really focus on what we need to get done in each session. We're not thinking about the whole picture, we're setting our sights on each session."
The Aggies' 200-yard freestyle relay, which is comprised of Dalton, Fonua, Makany and Troskot, is ranked No. 10 on the NCAA's psych sheet with a season-best of 1:18.06. The Aggies' Big 12 Champion foursome of Makany, Dalton, Lindau and Troskot is ranked No. 13 in the 400 free relay with a school record time of 2:52.76.
Nel and McLean will both be making return trips to the national meet with Nel earning All-America honors in 2009 and 2010 and McLean taking top 16 honors at the 2009 NCAA Championships. Nel earned the second Big 12 Championship of his career with his win in the one-meter dive at the conference meet last month, and added a Zone D crown on the one-meter board two weeks ago. McLean missed last year's meet due to an injury, but has posted career-best 400-plus scores on both springboards and could be a scoring threat in 2011.
Receiving an individual swimming invitation was Makany in the 200 freestyle with a season-best of 1:35.11, which is No. 16 on the psych sheet. Makany is also ranked No. 36 in the 50 free (19.85) and No. 27 in the 100 free. Fonua is ranked No. 32 in the 100 breast (54.11), No. 38 in the 200 breast (1:59.19) and No. 47 in the 50 free (19.97). Dalton is ranked No. 26 in the 50 free (19.73), No. 33 in the 100 free (43.49) and No. 35 in the 200 free (1:36.72). Troskot is No. 36 in the 50 free (19.85) and No. 51 in the 100 free (43.94). Lindau is No. 64 in the 50 free (20.30).
The NCAA Championships' prelims and finals will start at 12 noon and 7 p.m. each day, and links to the meet's psych sheet, schedule, live results and live video can be accessed at the DI Men's Swimming and Diving Championship Central at: http://www.ncaa.com/news/swimming-men/2011-03-22/di-men%E2%80%99s-s-d-championship-central