SAN ANTONIO, Texas (March 2)-New Mexico State sophomore swimmer Jessica Legge won her second gold medal of the WAC Championships on the final day of competition. The Aggie swimming and diving team finished in fifth place in the team standings with 331.5 points.
"It was a roller coaster ride this weekend and not everything went according to plan," head coach Rick Pratt said. "I do not want to let our relay disqualifications get in the way of us celebrating a successful meet in terms of a high percentage of lifetime best swims. We might not have broken as many records as we had hoped for, but the faster our team gets, the tougher that is going to be. We had 17 top five all-time swims as one can look on our official list. There are only a few times on there that are older than 2005, and that is a great sign of the progress our program has made."
After winning the 100 breaststroke, March 1, Legge captured top honors in the 200 breast (2:12.37) en route to posting an NCAA 'B' cut time. She entered the finals sessions as the top seed after a 2:13.71 performance, also an NCAA 'B' cut, in the preliminaries. Legge is the first Aggie to win multiple individual titles at the conference meet since 2009. Sophomore Kara Schweitzer also scored for the Aggies in the 200 breast following a 15th-place finish (2:23.77).
"Our tradition of winning the breaststroke events is going strong, and it was a great accomplishment for Jess to win both the 100 and 200 events," Pratt said. "She dropped significant time from her freshman year along with going a personal best and a new school record in the 200 IM as well. She has the potential to be an All-American and is still learning new tricks."
The Aggies had two swimmers in the 200 back final with junior Terrin Seaver leading the way in fourth place (1:59.15). Junior Tricia Kiss was sixth (2:00.20), and freshman Mariah Morrell finished in ninth (1:59.81).
NM State had three swimmers score in the 1,650 free. Freshman Emily Nightingale posted the best time with a ninth-place finish (17:07.02). Freshman Kenzie Soper was 13th (17:15.93), and senior Haley Gansneder was 16th (17:19.77).
"Our large freshmen class did a fine job and will be much better next year after this year of adaptation," he said. "Despite the graduation of our four seniors, we have already recruited some great talent for next year, and our team culture and current talent is going to provide an awesome team for next season and the future. I am very proud of our efforts this season, and know we are headed in the right direction. It is a great day to be an Aggie."
In the final diving event, junior Jaymee Porter directed the Aggies with a seventh-place finish on the platform (187.15). Freshman Lauren Reifel also scored in 16th place (1:48.45). In the 200 butterfly, freshman Dorottya Lennert supplied points with a ninth-place finish (2:02.10).
"I am very proud of our divers, who for the first time made finales on every board with each diver taking a turn. That is a program first in the WAC, and the future is very bright for our diving. Freshman Audrey Ruiz has qualified for zones and is representing NM State up in Colorado Springs soon. This was a great accomplishment for freshman who has taken her diving to the next level with coach (Molly) Parker's guidance."
In the preliminaries, the Aggies had a pair of swimmers qualify for the 200 back championship final with Seaver in third place (1:59.40) and Kiss in fifth place (2:00.61). Morrell and freshman Cassandra Rupp also swam in the evening session after 11th-place (2:01.72) and 20th-place (2:04.70) showings, respectively.
In the 200 butterfly, Lennert paced the Aggies in 10th (2:02.55). Freshman Moranda Madero and Schweitzer competed in the 'C' finals after 17th-place (2:08.70) and 19th-place (2:08.75) finishes, respectively.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Hogan and freshman Chelsey Reber both swam in the 100 free finals. Hogan was 21st (52.53) and Reber was 23rd (52.60).