Recap by: John Sullivan, Rice Athletics (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ATLANTA -- Rice junior swimmer Jaecey Parham posted the second-fastest mark in school history to take second in the 200-yard individual medley, and sophomore Hanna Huston was third overall in the 500-freestyle, to highlight the Owls' second day of action at the Conference USA Championships Thursday evening in Atlanta, Ga.
Parham & Huston 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 third place with a total of 225 points. Florida International leads the meet with 344 points while Marshall is second (251 pts.). North Texas is fourth (161), followed by Old Dominion (121) and Florida Atlantic (108) to round out the remaining six-team field.
Parham was sound and solid recording the second-fastest 200-IM time in school history in the day's morning prelims (1:59.92). The Lubbock, Texas, native then matched the mark exactly (1:59.92) on the way to the C-USA silver medal in the evening finals. A total of three Owls reached the 200-IM's championship final. Junior Kaitlyn Swinney was seventh with time of 2:03.05 while sophomore Marie-Claire Schillinger was eighth (2:03.11).
Rice amassed even more team points with four reaching in the A final of the 500-freestyle. Hanna Huston swam a career-best 4:49.90 to take third while true freshman Claire Therien dropped more than two seconds from prelims to notch a career-best 4:52.00 for fifth. Sophomore Sydney Franzen improved three spots on her finish from a year ago to place sixth (4:52.86). Freshman Sarah Nowaski was eighth (4:53.39) among the starting field of 40 entries.
As a team the biggest improvement Rice has made in the last calendar year has been in the 50-freestyle. With just one Owl finishing 16th overall in 2016, two placed in the Top 7 this year. Junior transfer Lauren Rhodes swam a 22.81 to take sixth while Kate Nezelek was seventh with a 22.87. The marks are the fourth and fifth fastest times recorded in school history.
The same two sprinters then returned a short time later to join Shelbi Ragsdale and Parham in the 4x50 freestyle relay. The Owls clocked a season-best 1:30.83 to take third overall.
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).