The Rice swim team had a strong showing in the day’s lone individual event to claim first place in the team standings on the opening day of the annual Spartan Invitational Friday evening in Clearwater, Fla.
With two relays and just the 1,000-yard freestyle to open the four-day meet, the Rice swimmers used strong distance swims to surge into first place. The Owls posted seven of the top eleven spots in the 1,000, as well as a solid second place finish in the 200-medley relay, to hold first place in the six team meet with 230 points. Nova Southeastern University is in second place in the team standings with 153 points while host school Tampa is third (146 points) in the meet that concludes on Monday (Dec. 18).
Rice senior Alicia Caldwell placed second among a starting field of 28 entries in the 1,000-free with a season-best time of 10:00.46. The Owls’ scoring in the event, however, was far from finished. Hanna Huston was third (10:01.05), Sydney Franzen was fourth (10:08.51), Sarah Nowaski fifth (10:08.87) and Lindsay Mathys sixth (10:09.09). Claire Therien placed eighth (10:13.22 11) and Jaecey Parham (10:17.51) was eleventh, effectively taking control of the scoring.
The Owls foursome of Caldwell, Marie-Claire Schillinger, Brittany Bui and Lauren Rhodes posted a season-best 1:42.18 to take second in the 200-medley relay. The team of Kate Nezelek, Schillinger, Parham and Rhodes was fourth in the 200-free relay with a time of 1:33.37.
There are four events on Saturday’s meet schedule, with another six more on both Sunday and Monday. The Owls are the No. 28 ranked team in the country according to CollegeSwimming.com.