Nov. 1, 2012
For the second time in as many weeks the Rice swim team is back in action on Friday and Saturday (Nov. 3-4), only this time the Owls are competing on the road for dual meets at North Texas and SMU, respectively.
In each of the first two meets of the season the Owls were in their comfort zone of hosting home events at the Rice Competition Pool. Now the Blue & Gray must compete in different venues on back-to-back days, but Rice head coach Seth Huston sees a silver lining with a break in the routine. Huston is willing to change where the team swims, but not how the team has swam after two great opening meets against Kansas and the Owls' own Rice Invitational last weekend.
"I think the team is excited to travel and compete somewhere different than our own pool," coach Huston said. "So far the team has really raced and competed in both of our first two meets. After two home meets we've had the Conference USA Swimmer of the Week both times with Erin (Flanigan) and Madison (Livingston). Both were great last weekend.
"Our team leaders are competitors and I think that rubs off on everyone else," coach Huston added. "Our team has some confidence. Madison raced very well this past weekend. It was great to see Taylor Armstrong and Stephanie Wei win the backstrokes and I thought Dominique Bessette had a great meet.
The Owls are racing well, but there's the little matter of two extremely tough opponents the Blue & Gray will have to face. North Texas is a Sun Belt Conference power that will join Conference USA for swimming beginning next season. SMU is a nationally ranked league member and the defending C-USA Champion.
"We've done well, but the entire team will need to be much better in order to compete with North Texas and SMU," Huston said. "North Texas is a lot like us, except they have diving. They will be particularly strong in the strokes and distance events. SMU lost a great senior class, but they have reloaded and will be tough to beat no matter where you swim against them."