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Swimmers Set Two New School Records On First Day At C-USA Meet

RICEOWLS.COM <b>Casey Clark</b><br>Baker College
RICEOWLS.COM
Casey Clark
Baker College
RICEOWLS.COM

Feb. 15, 2012

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HOUSTON - Not only did the Rice swimmers set new school records in the 200-yard medley relay and the 800-freestyle relay on the first day of competition at the 2012 Conference USA Swimming & Diving Championships Wednesday night across town at the U.H. Rec Center Pool, the Owls also posted a pair of marks that provisionally qualified for next month's NCAA Championships in those events.

Rice, the defending C-USA swim champions from last season, was off the blocks well on Day 1 of the four-day, 27-event meet. The Owls' 200-medley relay of Michelle Gean, Lilly Marrow, Karina Wlostowska and Shelby Bottoms took second place in the event with school record time of 1:41.31. The foursome broke the previous school mark set three years ago by more than six-tenths of a second and reached the "B" cut for a possible trip to the NCAA meet in March.

The Blue & Gray came back strong with another school record and "B" cut in the 800-free relay. Casey Clark, Erin Flanigan, Chelsea Fong and Alex O'Brien blazed to a Rice-best 7:13.91 for a second place finish behind SMU's 7:11.27. Clark started the relay off with a steady 1:47.75 on the lead leg. Her intermediate time registered as the second-fastest 200-freesyle in school history and was just one second off the school record at the distance.

After the first night of action SMU leads the team scoring with 80 points. The Owls are second among the six C-USA swim teams with 68 points. East Carolina is third (62 points) followed by meet host the University of Houston (62). Tulane (56) is fifth and Marshall (52) sixth.

Rice head coach Seth Huston altered the 200-medley's lineup in order to possibly get some more scoring punch in different events later in the meet. After both of the first two relay races produced two school records and two NCAA provisional marks, coach Huston liked what he saw.

"It was a very good first day for us," coach Huston said. "We wanted to conserve some people and ended up making some changes on the 200-medley. It worked pretty well and got us started on the right foot. Everybody had a good swim for what we had showed over the course of the year. Michelle had a good start and Lilly's 27-second split was maybe our best (50-yard breaststroke) in two years. Karina was solid in her fly and Shelby brought it home with a great anchor leg.

"The change (in the opening relay) allowed us to use Casey in the 800," Huston explained. "Casey's a freshman, but she's calm and I wanted someone who could keep their wits about them in a big meet - someone on the front end of the relay I could trust. She had a great swim, particularly on the back half and put us in a great spot. Erin went a fast 1:48 on the second leg and Chelsea did a nice job reeling-in the leader and getting us close. Alex is a senior with a lot of adrenaline for her last meet, and I knew she would be excited to go race. It was two new school records tonight and something we can build on the rest of the meet."

The meet continues at UH through Saturday with morning and evening sessions each day. The remaining meet schedule is as follows:

THUR., FEBRUARY 16
Preliminaries - 10 am
500-Yard Freestyle
200-Yard Individual Medley
50-Yard Freestyle
Diving Preliminaries - 1 pm
3-Meter (women)

Finals - 6 pm
500-Yard Freestyle
200-Yard Individual Medley
50-Yard Freestyle
3-Meter Diving (Women)
400-Yard Medley Relay

FRI., FEBRUARY 17
Preliminaries - 10 am
400-Yard Individual Medley
100-Yard Butterfly
200-Yard Freestyle
100-Yard Breaststroke
100-Yard Backstroke
Diving Preliminaries - 1 pm
3-Meter (Men)
1-Meter (Women)

Finals - 6 pm
200-Yard Freestyle Relay
1-Meter Diving (Women)
400-Yard Individual Medley
100-Yard Butterfly
3-Meter Diving (Men)
200-Yard Freestyle
100-Yard Breaststroke
100-Yard Backstroke

SAT., FEBRUARY 18
Preliminaries - 10 am
200-Yard Backstroke
100-Yard Freestyle
200-Yard Breaststroke
200-Yard Butterfly
1,650-Yard Freestyle Preliminaries & Finals
Diving Preliminaries - 1 pm
Platform (Men & Women)

Finals - 6 pm
Platform Diving (Women)
200-Yard Backstroke
100-Yard Freestyle
200-Yard Breaststroke
200-Yard Butterfly
Platform Diving (Men)
400-Yard Freestyle Relay

 

 

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