By: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics Dept. (email@example.com)
HOUSTON -- Senior Alicia Caldwell won the 500-yard freestyle and posted Rice's top finish in the 100-freestyle to help lift the Owl swimmers on Saturday's final round of action at the annual Quad Meet across town at the University of Houston Rec Center Natatorium.
With four teams each competing in three simultaneous dual meets over a tough two-day (Fri.-Sat.) schedule, Rice finished the head-to-head action with a 1-2 record. The Owls topped Tulane (191-150) but fell to nationally-ranked LSU (253-94) and event host Houston (211-136) after the meet's 17 swim events and two diving events (in which Rice does not compete).
After the Owl foursome of Kaitlyn Swinney, Marie-Claire Schillinger, Brittany Bui and Lauren Rhodes dashed to a win the 200-medley relay with a time of 1:43.19, Caldwell won the rugged 500-yard distance race with a 4:51.66. Caldwell returned later in the meet and placed fifth in the 100-fresstyle (51.23).
Schillinger was strong with a second place finish in the 100-breaststroke (1:02.75). The senior tandem of Swinney and Jaecey Parham were third and fourth, respectively, in the 400-individual medley with times of 4:24.18 and 4:24.93. Rice head swim coach Seth Huston like what he saw of the team Saturday.
"I thought we were better today than yesterday," said coach Huston. "Given where we are in the season with our training I was pleased we had a good morning session. We will have to have good morning sessions (at the Conference USA Championships) and it was really important in my mind that today we show we're capable of doing that. We did that today and I am really happy.
"Individually it was a little bit of the same story of who swam well yesterday -- Alicia winning that 500 and looking good doing it, Kaitlyn in the 400-IM and also in the 200-backstroke (5th overall, 2:02.01), and Jaecey swam well today. `M.C.' may have had her best 100-breaststroke in a training suit that she's had all season. She did a really good job. Brittany came in and had a solid day."
Bui, a true freshman, was on the medley relay and led three Owls in the top nine with a fifth place in the 200-butterfly (2:04.29). Rice closed out the meet with a fifth in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
The next meet for the Owl swimmers is a tune-up meet scheduled for Feb. 10 at UH. The annual Conference USA Championships are set for Feb. 21-24 in Atlanta on the campus of Georgia Tech University, the same venue that hosted the 1996 Olympics.