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Meet the Team – Texas A&M University

By Benjamin McKnight III, NSWCCD Public Affairs | June 27, 2019

WEST BETHESDA, Maryland -- Nearly 100 years ago, the story of the Texas A&M University’s “12th Man” was born. The long-respected tradition for college sports fans across the nation is a way of life in College Station, Texas, that has made its way to Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division in West Bethesda, Maryland.

Texas A&M returns to Carderock for the 15th International Human-Powered Submarine Races with 12th Manatee, a nautical ode to the school’s fandom. The Aggies are one of many teams in the competition who have been participating since its origins in the 1990’s. This year’s squad has a wide range of experience from first-timers and ISR veterans, all contributing to their uniquely designed two-person submarine.

“One of our main challenges was since it is a two-person submarine, we have two people peddling and two sets of propellers going opposite of each other,” said team member Mitchell Disbrow, a first time competitor.

According to his teammate Peter Blank, a returning participant to the competition, their group began their work with a design given to them from a class of students about a decade ago. They ran into issues early in their three-year process with 12th Manatee, but the timing couldn’t have been any better for the Aggies, who are the only team this year with a two-person submarine.

“It gave us a chance to start from scratch and rework the whole thing so that we could have a much more simple and manageable system that worked,” Blank said.

“It’s completely redone from the inside. The only thing that’s similar is the hull,” said Daniel Toerner, who is also competing for the first time after coming to watch his sister participate in previous years.

The team hopes to reverse course from their last trip to Carderock, where Blank said they spent a considerable amount of time working on the submarine during the competition.

“Right now, our biggest goal is finishing a race and progressing to see how fast we can get it from there,” Blank said.

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