Nov. 14, 2012
The Rice swim team returns to action November 16-18 competing at one of the top collegiate meets of the fall season at the Kansas Classic.
The Owls join nationally-ranked Notre Dame, Nebraska, Iowa State, Nebraska-Omaha and meet host Kansas at the Hummer Sports Park in Topeka for the three-day Classic. The meet features 24-events divided into morning and evening sessions of preliminary and finals races. The meet format is identical to the Conference USA Championships that Rice will compete in next spring.
The opportunity for the Owls to get familiar with and compete in a conference-like meet was not lost on Rice head coach Seth Huston. Now in his eleventh season at the helm of the Owl program, coach Huston said the Kansas Classic was an ideal mix of facing elite competition while serving to get his young Owls squad familiar with the same format the team will see at the Conference USA meet next spring.
"I want our team to gain a lot of experience competing in prelim/final meets," coach Huston said. "A competitor needs to be able to focus on each individual session, and not get too far ahead nor look back. Three-day prelim/final meets are very exhausting, both physically and mentally. I consider this meet an opportunity to rehearse the same conditions we will be in at C-USA Championships and NCAA Championships. We are trying position ourselves to be physically and mentally tough for the end of the season."
As if the three-day, multi-session format, were not challenging enough there's also the little matter of the teams Rice is facing at the meet. Notre Dame is ranked in the Top 20 in the latest coaches poll. The Owls already faced the talented host Kansas Jayhawks at the Rice Competition Pool last month. Adding Iowa State, Nebraska and Nebraska-Omaha makes for demanding task this weekend. Not only would coach Huston not have it any other way, he stated the Owls have been training well and are ready to face a challenge like the Kansas Classic.
"There are very good teams at this meet, but we should be very competitive," Huston said. "I have been pleased with our training here in November. (The Rice coaching staff) have really challenged the team and they have hung in there pretty well. I have really been pleased with Erin Flanigan, Taylor Armstrong and Danielle Spence in their day-to-day training as of late."