ATLANTA – For the second time in as many years Rice’s Kaitlyn Swinney set a new school record on her way to winning an individual Conference USA event title Friday evening at the league swim championships in Atlanta, Ga.
In the first event of the day, Swinney wrapped-up prelims with the No. 2 seed in the 400-individual medley with a a time of 4:18.48. It was a steady mark to be sure, but the junior from Sugar Land, Texas, then broke her own school record with a 4:12.89 in the evening finals to win her second C-USA individual crown. The Owls’ scoring barrage in the event included a third place finish by Jaecey Parham (4:18.98), a fifth by Hanna Huston (4:22.31), eighth by Rylee Linhardt (4:26.75) and tenth by Hannah Sumbera (4:22.18).
Marie-Claire Schillinger scored for the Owls with a second place finish in the 100-breaststroke and was just off her own school record with a time of 1:00.89. She had solid support in the event with an eighth place from the freshmen tandem of Nicole Limberg (8th, 1:02.59) and Cailey Renken (9thxx, 1:02.98).
Rice did a lot of scoring Friday. After three full days (a total of 14 events) the Owls held onto second place in the team standings with a total of 502 points. Florida International leads the meet with 707 points while Marshall is third (353 pts). North Texas is fourth (297), followed by Old Dominion (221) and Florida Atlantic (204) and to round out the six-team field.
Two Owls finished in the championship final in the 200-freestyle with senior Alicia Caldwell taking third (1:47.47) and freshman Lindsay Mathys placing sixth (1:48.14). Sydney Franzen posted a season-best 1:49.54 to finish eleventh overall.
Steady as ever, senior Kiley Beall was a workhorse with big finishes in two events. She was third in the 100-butterfly with a 54.70 to lead a Rice scoring barrage in the race. Brittany Bui was fourth (55.06) while Kaitlin Benjamin was ninth (55.30) and Lauren Rhodes was tenth (55.63). Beall then came back to take third in the 100-backstroke (55.05) and Julie Litver was a scorer in her senior meet with a seventh place (55.62).
The Rice senior foursome of Caldwell, Schillinger, Beall and Rhodes closed out the night by taking second in the 400-medley relay. The group posted a time of 3:41.17 behind event winner FIU.
There is now just one day remaining in the four-day Championship meet. Saturday'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).