ATLANTA – Rice senior Alicia Caldwell won the 500-freestyle, and the senior duo of Jaecey Parham and Kaitlyn Swinney finished second and third respectively in the 200-individual medley, to highlight the Owls' second day of action at the Conference USA Swim Championships Thursday evening in Atlanta, Ga.
The Rice seniors helped the Owls battle for points in the team standings. After Day 2 (a total of seven events including 3-meter diving that Rice does not compete in), the Blue & Gray is in second place with a total of 235 points. Florida International leads the meet with 358 points while Marshall is third (197 pts.). North Texas is fourth (141), followed by Florida Atlantic (124) and Old Dominion (109) to round out the remaining six-team field.
As she had been all year holding C-USA’s top time in the 500-free (4:44.60), Caldwell was again sound and solid winning her second C-USA individual title. The native of Sydney, Australia, posted a 4:46.97 in morning prelims to earn the event’s top seed. She then won the event with a 4:45.33 in the evening finals.
Caldwell was well out in front to win the 500, but she was not alone. Rice’s Hanna Huston improved on her prelim time to finish fifth in the finals with a 4:51.19. Kelsey Evans was seventh (4:54.64) and Ellery Parish was tenth (4:50.31).
The Parham and Swinney senior combo piled up the points in the 200-IM with a 1:59.59 and 2:00.44, respectively. Senior sprinter Lauren Rhodes was Rice’s top finisher in the 50-freestyle, placing sixth among a starting field of 31 entries with a finals time of 23.23.
Rhodes returned a short time later with Caldwell, Parham and Marie-Claire Schillinger in the 4x50 freestyle relay. The Owls clocked a season-best 1:31.91 to take second.
There are two days completed in the meet with two more to go. Friday's events get under way with preliminary swim races beginning at 9:30 am (Central Time) at the Georgia Tech Swim Center, the same facility that hosted the 1996 Olympic events. Evening finals, including springboard diving, are scheduled for 5 pm (CST).