LAS CRUCES, N.M. (Feb. 29)-New Mexico State freshman swimmer Aliena Schmidtke qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 200 freestyle, the organization announced. She is only the second Aggie to make the national meet, which is held at Auburn University, March 15-17 in Auburn, Ala.
Schmidtke qualified for the national meet after winning the 200 free at the WAC Championships with a school-record performance of 1:46.38. She was named WAC Freshman of the Year and was the second consecutive Aggie to earn the award. Schmidtke also posted runner-up honors in the 50 free (22.82) and 100 free (49.28) with program-record times.
"This is a huge accomplishment for not only Aliena but our program as a whole," head coach Rick Pratt said. "She is only the second female swimmer from NM State to qualify for the NCAA Championship meet ever, and her qualification says a lot about the kind of athletes we are developing and attracting to NM State. It certainly shows that we have a program which supports swimming at the highest level.
"Overall, we made 12 NCAA 'B' cuts this season, which more than doubles any other year in program history. Less than a third of NCAA Division I programs qualify athletes for the NCAA Championship meet, and it is extremely competitive and tough to be in postseason play. I am proud of Aliena's efforts in the pool, and of our staff and team members who have cultivated such an environment of excellence."
Schmidtke helped the Aggies to a fourth-place team finish at the WAC Championships with 429 points en route to breaking nine school records at the conference meet.