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Swimmers Hold First Place After Second Day at C-USA Championships

RICEOWLS.COM <b>Erin Flanigan</b><br>Hanszen College
RICEOWLS.COM
Erin Flanigan
Hanszen College
RICEOWLS.COM

Feb. 27, 2014

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ATLANTA, Ga. - The Rice swimmers broke one school record, posted two more event wins, and registered three NCAA provisional times to hold first place on Thursday's second night at the Conference USA swimming & diving championships in Atlanta.

Through Thursday's second day of action at the four-day meet, Rice remained in first place with a total of 339 points. Florida International is second with 227 points while Western Kentucky is third (217 pts.) and East Carolina fourth (164). North Texas (147), Florida Atlantic (142), Tulane (137), Old Dominion (135) and Marshall (117) round out the remaining nine-team championship meet.

Distance specialist Erin Flanigan won the 500-freestyle with a Rice-best and NCAA provisional qualifying time of 4:44.53. The junior from Austin qualified first in the morning prelims with a 4:48.75, but she was second for the first 400 yards of the event's championship final. Her last 100 yards however was her fastest (56.08) and she touched the wall first by more than a half-second (.53) ahead of second place. Owl senior Quincy Christian finished fifth among a starting field of 43 swimmers with a 4:51.87.

"Erin conducted a class in the 500 tonight as she showed all how to race," said Rice head coach Seth Huston. "It was awesome to see her execute her race plan as devised. She actually had a lot left. I'm looking forward to her 200 free tomorrow."

Sophomore transfer Shelly Patton blazed to a new school record 1:58.99 to win the C-USA silver medal in the 200-IM, the third time the school record has fallen in that event at the conference meet in the last three years. A total of four Owls made the event's championship final, including sophomore Shelbi Ragsdale taking sixth (2:03.42), true freshman Lauren FitzGerald eighth (2:04.41) and senior Michelle Gean tenth (2:04.99).

Shelly swam a great race to finish second and improve her school record," coach Huston said. "She is Rice's first sub-two-minute 200-IM. She has battled a lot of adversity to get to this point. I am very proud of her."

Junior sprinter Marissa Konicke finished fourth in the championship final of the 50-freeestyle with time of 23.24, but she wasn't the only Owl scoring big in the event. Rice claimed five of the 50's top 11 spots for a scoring parade that reached a full 80 points. Konicke then teamed with Cora McKenzie, Chelsea Fong and Kim Steinhouse on the Owls' 200-freestyle relay where the Blue & Gray finished first with a season-best 1:31.52. Not only is the mark the best Rice sprint-relay in the last dozen years, McKenzie's 22.09 on the lead leg provisionally qualified for the NCAA's and is the third-fastest 50-free in school history.

"Our IM-ers and sprinters really racked up the points today," Huston explained. "We had a great morning that set us up for tonight.

"That was an awesome lead off by Cora," he added. "The girls stayed in front the whole way. It was great to see Kim anchor our fee relay. She has overcome a lot to get to this meet, and to perform at a high level is a blessing. It was fun way to finish the night."

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 am (Central Time) at the Georgia Tech Aquatics Center. Evening finals, including springboard diving, are scheduled for 5 pm (CST).

FRI., FEBRUARY 28
Preliminaries - 9 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 - 5 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., MARCH 1
Preliminaries - 9 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 - 5 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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