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Swimming rebounds from loss, stomps Miami

By Owls get revenge for 2010 loss to Hurricanes     10/27/11 7:00pm

After suffering a loss the previous week, the swim team got off to a dominating start against the University of Miami (Fla.) and never looked back. The Owls' swimmers posted a 131-74 dual meet victory over the visiting Hurricanes this past Saturday afternoon at Rice Aquatics Center Competition Pool. It was the tandem of freshman Erin Flanigan and senior Alex O'Brien, who each won two events, that set the pace for Rice, which as a team won even of the meet's 11 events overall.

Rice opened the day with a rare 1-2 finish in the 400-yard medley relay (3:53.77) to take the lead. Flanigan then won the first of her two events, moving up from her usual 500- yard freestyle to the more challenging 1,000-yard race. The Hanszen freshman from Austin, Texas, posted her first collegiate victory with a steady 10:22.61 finish ahead of second place finisher Christine Anderson (10:33.11) of Miami.

Head Coach Seth Huston commented on his change of plans for the race.

"I bumped Erin up [to the 1,000] just to mix it up a bit, [because] we had her in that event just to get a little different  look and see how things were going," Huston said. "She won that 1,000-yard freestyle and then came back and won the 200-yard butterfly. Where she may have been just a bit slower [in the butterfly] than last week after that  1,000, I thought she did some technical things a little better this week, and that was good to see."

In fact, not only was Flanigan more prepared, she also won the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 2:05.18 after out-dueling Miami freshman Lucy Worrall by four-tenths of second (2:05.59). Martel senior Alex O'Brien had a similarly close race with teammate Quincy Christian in the 400-individual medley, finishing with a time of 4:31.44 compared to her teammate's time of 4:31.96. Even more impressive, the Owls posted a 1-2-3 in this race, as freshman Madison Livingston was third with a collegiate-best time of 4:39.35.

Huston was pleased with the Owls' overall effort in the pool.

"We may not have been as fast as we were last week, but we had some nice performances, and we competed," Huston said.

"Alex and Erin were double-winners. Chelsea [Fong] stepped-up again and had some really nice races. She won the 200-yard free and got just outtouched in the 200-yard backstroke. It was nice to see Quincy [Christian] in there racing. I thought she performed a lot better this week. Lilly [Marrow] had some nice swims today, on the relays in particular, which is really good to see."

The results continued to be in Rice's favor all afternoon. Erin O'Brien also led a 1-2 Rice finish with  Danielle Spence in the 500-freestyle, and the duo both posted new season-bests at 5:04.66 and 5:08.18, respectively. Rice also had a 1-2 finish from Chelsea Fong (1:51.92) and Shelby Bottoms (1:54.35) in the 200-freestyle, and Fong was a close second in the 200-backstroke (two-tenths of a second at 2:05.25). However, she and Bottoms later teamed with Lilly Marrow and Marissa Konicke for an Owl win the 400-free relay (3:30.51) to close out the day's action.

"We did some changes mid-meet just because we had a feeling of who was on, and the team  responded," Huston said. "It may give us a little momentum heading into a big meet next week."

Indeed, Rice faces perhaps its largest test this season so far. After playing host to Conference USA rival Southern Methodist University on Oct. 15 and the meet versus  Miami-Fla., Rice will now host its first five-team, two-day meet at the Rice Competition Pool this weekend. The competition will feature the University of Arkansas, the University  of Nebraska, Boise State University and the University of Houston going head-to-head today and tomorrow, Oct. 28-29.

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