After a win over LSU in Baton Rouge on Jan. 18, the No. 5 Texas A&M men’s swimming and diving team will host SMU in a senior night meet this Friday at 6 p.m. in the Rec Center Natatorium.
In addition to being the seniors’ final meet at the Rec Center Natatorium, the matchup is the last dual meet of the season before the SEC and NCAA championships. A&M coach Jay Holmes said this meet in particular will be “historical.”
“There is a traditional rivalry against SMU’s swimming and diving team,” Holmes said.
The Aggies have four seniors being honored at the meet: Benjamin Walker, Adam Koster, Jake Gibbons and Mike Thibert.
Despite the focus on the seniors, sophomore Shaine Casas has topped the leaderboards at A&M’s meets this season. Casas has top 25 times in eight separate individual events, and is the school record holder in the 100 back, 200 back, 100 fly and the 200 IM.
“He is one of the best in the world,” Holmes said. “No matter where Shaine is, he would make an impact, so for us obviously we are thrilled that he is here at A&M.”
At the NCAA Championships in 2019, Casas swam a 52.72 in the men’s 100-meter backstroke final, earning him a national title and also ranked him as the fifth fastest time in the world. With this time, he is also in the top 10 all-time for an American in the event, passing Olympic medalist Michael Phelps’ time of 53.01 in 2007.
Casas said in this meet, he is trying to “focus on the details of [his] strokes to better prepare [him] for the SEC and NCAA Championships.”
The Aggies sit at a season record of 6-3, earning them a No. 5 ranking from the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America, which is their highest ranking since 2001. Despite the ranking, Holmes said the team is solely focused on continuing the success it has seen thus far.
“It's great to be ranked, but when push comes to shove it is just a projection,” Holmes said. “When race day comes around, that's what really counts.”
The meet will start at 6 p.m. in the Rec Center Natatorium and will be broadcast on 12thman.com and on SEC Network+.