March 18, 2013
Two-time Conference USA individual champion Casey Clark will represent Rice in three events at the NCAA Women's Swimming Championships scheduled for later this week in Indianapolis, Ind.
The NCAA meet begins on Thursday (March 21). Clark's first two events are both scheduled for Friday, where she competes in the 100-yard butterfly and 200-freestyle. The Owls' sophomore standout swims her final event, the 200-yard butterfly, at the NCAAs on Saturday.
Though Clark is the first Owl swimmer to qualify for the NCAA Championships since 2008, the native of Spring, Tex., is no stranger to competing at a national championship-caliber level. Last month she won two C-USA individual championships in the 100- and 200-butterfly and set three new school records to help the Owl swimmers win the conference team title. In the summer of 2012 Clark qualified to participate in the U.S. Olympic Trials.
"This is a great opportunity for Casey and Rice University, to earn a spot to compete at the NCAA Championships," said Rice head swim coach Seth Huston, the 2013 C-USA head coach of the year. "She has trained and competed at another level this season and she is prepared to swim even faster this time around.
"I like Casey's chances of scoring at the NCAA Championships," coach Huston added. "At a meet like the NCAAs performing well in the preliminary rounds each morning is crucial. Casey had a great meet at the C-USA Championships and typically performs very well in the morning prelims. Just competing is a tremendous opportunity and no doubt about it, she earned it."
Prior to Clark, the last Owl to qualify for the NCAA Championships was Brittany Massengale in 2008. Massengale finished in the Top 16 to score for the Owls in both the 500- and 1,650-freestyle. Behind that individual effort Rice swimming officially finished tied for 39th in the nation. Last February Clark broke Massengale's five-year old Rice record in the 200-freestyle with a time of 1:45.78 while swimming the lead leg of an 800-freestyle relay.