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A spirit that is not afraid

Diving in 2023, Tigers take down Texas A&M

The Tigers took on the Texas A&M Aggies Wednesday at home in their first meet back from break. 

The woman’s team, ranked No. 19 in the nation, looks to stay undefeated in SEC matchups after winning 172-128. The men’s team, ranked No. 9 in the nation, looks to stay undefeated overall after taking down the Aggies 167.5-132.5.

The women started off strong by sweeping the first event, the 200 medley with Daisy Platts, Anastasia Makarova, Claudia Thamm and Lexie Mulvihill. The men followed that by finishing first, third, and fourth. 

“It’s good to be racing again after a little bit of a layoff. For a majority of our kids, this is their first meet back since before Thanksgiving," said head coach Ryan Wochomurka. "To have a top-10 opponent on the men’s side and a top-15 opponent on the women’s side really helps from a competitive standpoint. It gives us great insight as to the things we need to clean up and improve as we look forward to the next weeks and months to come."

After that promising start the Tigers didn’t grab a win for four events in a row. 

After that, the women took it into their hands to help close the point deficit by completely sweeping, finishing first, second, third and forth in the woman’s 100-meter backstroke. The men followed by doing the same, with Aidan Stoffle, Nate Stoffle and Lleyton Smith causing a roar from the stands.

Then Hannah Owenbey and Anastasia Makarova grabbed second and third in the 100 breast, putting the Tigers up by four over A&M. Reid Mikuta, the national leader in breaststroke times, took the men’s 100 breast, which allowed his team to pull head even further past Texas A&M, 63-49. 

Meghan Lee had a come from behind win to grab the 200 butterfly for the Auburn ladies. 

At the first break, the women and men both led. Auburn's women were up 85-65 over the Texas A&M ladies with the Auburn men beating A&M men, 84-66. 

The Tigers came back from the break finishing in the top three of the first four events. The women swept again in a backstroke event with Daisy Platts finishing third in both the sweeps. 

In an unexpected turn of events, Mikuta, the Auburn breaststroke star was taken down by an A&M swimmer. Only the women were able to secure a first-place finish in the 500 freestyle event. 

As the events went on, Auburn continued to have multiple swimmers finish top four in the events. 

"What you do in January and February is all preparation for championship season," Wochomurka said. "I’m proud of the way the men and women fought all day long and it resulted in a great win in the end.”

The crowd erupted for the second time, possibly even louder this time, as the Stoffle brothers finished one and two. Older brother Aidan took first and Nate took second. This was a photo finish, as every swimmer was neck and neck and unaware of the victory until the yellow numbers popped onto the scoreboard.

At the second break, the women lead A&M 147-117 and the men lead A&M, 135.5-109.5. After that break, the IM and relay races were held. Owenbey and Lee went one and two in the 200 IM. Both Auburn teams won their 400 free relay, ending the meet strong.  

Two Auburn divers also finished well. Conner Pruitt won the three-meter diving for the men with a 408.83. Ashlynn Sullivan took third in the three-meter diving as well, scoring a 319.43. Sophomore Whit Andrus snagged third place in the three-meter, finishing with a score of 344.25.

Sullivan placed third in the one-meter with a 278.18, with Pruitt following her with a 341.10, good for third in the men's contest.

The Tigers will face Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Saturday, Jan. 7. 

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Lily Stewart | Operations Editor

Lily has been with The Plainsman for three years and started out as a Sports Writer before becoming the Operations Editor. She graduates in May of 2024 and is from Washington, D.C. 

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