Swimming prepares for three weekend meets
This weekend, the Rice swim team will travel to Dallas and compete in a series of dual meets against three opponents. The Owls first visit the University of North Texas in Denton to compete against the Mean Green before driving 40 miles south to Southern Methodist University, where the team will face off against both the Mustangs and the University of Arkansas in a double-dual meet.
The Owls are coming off a strong showing at the Florida Atlantic University Fun Invitational on Dec. 20, where they won six of 13 swim events en route to a first-place finish in the field of eight teams. Senior Marie-Claire Schillinger won both the 50- and 100-yard breaststroke to lead Rice to the victory. According to Schillinger, though Rice’s swimmers were all atigued from their intense training, they still put up excellent races.
“I think one of the reasons we did so well was due to the atmosphere of the meet, which was upbeat and exciting,” Schillinger said. “Also, being on [winter] break without the stress of school allowed the team to loosen up, to enjoy some time off training together and bonding in a beautiful place.”
The team now turns its focus to this weekend’s slate, highlighted by No. 23-ranked Arkansas. One Razorback to keep an eye on is sophomore Brooke Schultz, who was the 2018 national champion in the 3-meter synchro dive and has been named the Southeastern Conference Diver of the Week four times already this season. On the whole, Arkansas is just 2-3 this season in head-to-head matchups, but two of those three losses came against top-15 opponents. SMU has prevailed in four of its first six contests, and North Texas has split a pair of dual meets. Head coach Seth Huston said that a good team mindset will help the Owls compete against their strong opponents.
“This weekend we want to see more mental toughness,” Huston said. “We are finishing a challenging cycle of training with these meets and [these teams] are all programs that we can win or lose to. Being our best selves will enhance our opportunity to win.”
According to sophomore Brittany Bui, each meet will offer a different challenge.
“North Texas is a C-USA team, so racing them this weekend will be a mini rehearsal for [the C-USA Championship],” Bui said. “We race SMU every year and last year we beat them, so our team is hoping to continue that win streak. Arkansas will be a new team to race, but presents an exciting opportunity to compete against an SEC team.”
Schillinger said these meets will be an opportunity for Rice’s swimmers to gauge their fitness levels at the start of the new year.
“This weekend will be exciting to see where everyone is at in their training,” Schillinger said. “I think our team does really well with in-season competitions in the midst of training and [I] expect to see great swims from myself and my teammates this weekend. I think we have a great chance of coming home with three ‘W’s.”
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