Senior Kaitlyn Swinney claimed a pair of individual events, including the win in a clutch 1-2 finish in the 200-individual medley late in the competition, to help the Owl swimmers sweep three head-to-head duals at the Grand Canyon University Quad Meet Saturday afternoon in Phoenix, Ariz.
Rice won each of the three dual meets, defeating New Mexico State 207-87, Cal Baptist 189-91 and event host Grand Canyon 154-126.
After Swinney won the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:01.44, she led a 1-2 finish with fellow senior Jaecey Parham in the 200-IM with times of 2:04.41 and 2:06.88, respectively. Five Owls posted event wins on the day, including Alicia Caldwell in the 100-freestyle (51.05), Marie-Claire Schillinger in the 100-breaststroke (1:05.04), Claire Therien in the 1000-free (10:20.40) and another 1-2 finish with freshmen Ellery Parish (1:52.74) and Lindsay Mathys (1:54.07) in the 200-free.
Rice head coach Seth Huston hinted that with multiple heats of the 14 swim events, plus alternating the meet a simultaneous men’s meet, Saturday ended up feeling more like a marathon. The Owls’ fortitude to win six of the events, however, was one of the keys to success.
“It was a long session, a three-hour meet today, and the team is definitely tired,” Huston said. “We gave up a lot of points because we were second to Grand Canyon in both relays, and we had to overcome some diving points (in which Rice does not compete), but individually we swam very well. We had really good swims and improved quite a bit compared to yesterday (where the Owls competed in a similar quad meet in Tucson against No. 12 ranked Arizona).
“Kaitlyn's 200-IM, and the 1-2 finish by her and Jaecey at the end was big for us,” Huston explained. “I was very happy with Ellery and Lindsay in the 200-free. Alicia had another really nice 100-free today. I was really happy again with Kelsey Evans swimming a couple of events for us and doing a great job. I think one of the highlight swims today was Claire’s 1000, which was awesome. She was in the second (traditionally slower) heat and ended-up winning the event with a great effort.
“The entire weekend, winning five-of-six meets here in Arizona,” Huston added, “was good. It was a long week when you get to the end of it. We had good training and team-bonding, and we should be able to show some results from the work we did this week down the road.”