Swim team falls just short in North Texas
After a successful home meet the week prior, the swim team headed north for two consecutive meets against Texas Christian University and the University of North Texas. However, victory was not on Rice's side, as the team fell short in both outings. First, it was the Horned Frogs that claimed a 159-126 non-conference dual meet win over the Owl swimmers on Friday evening in Fort Worth. Although Rice won six of the meet's 16 events overall, TCU won eight swim races and both springboard diving events, as Rice does not have any divers on its roster.
Sophomore Michelle Gean won both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke events and also swam with a time of 59.20 seconds to lead a 1-2 Rice finish with senior Shelby Bottoms in the in the 100-backstroke. Gean, a standout from Kingwood, Texas, then tallied a time of 2:09.05 in the 200 for a 1-2-3 Owl finish with teammates senior Nicole Delaloye and sophomore Quincy Christian. Bottoms continued her stellar performance by winning the 200-individual medley with a season-best time of 2:06.59.
Similarly stellar were senior Alex O'Brien and freshman Erin Flanigan, who traded 1-2 finishes in the distance races. O'Brien won the 1,000-freestyle with a time of 10:25.47 minutes while Flanigan was second (10:27.67 minutes). Flanigan then won the 500-yard free (5:02.79 minutes) while O'Brien was second (5:04.83 minutes).
Sophomore Chelsea Fong, who was awarded the Conference USA Swimmer of the Week award, won her third 200-yard freestyle, her third in the last three meets. Fong then teamed with Gean and the freshman tandem of Marissa Konicke and Casey Clark for the Owls' new season-best time in the 400-yard freestyle relay (1:36.39). Still they were a second behind TCU, which swam a time of 1:35.35.
The next day, the Owls looked to regain their composure and come out on top against North Texas, with strong efforts from Bottoms and Fong. They both won two individual events and combined on a winning Rice relay as the Owl swimmers won seven of the 14 swim events in the meet. Yet, it was not meant to be, as the Mean Green claimed a 165-129 victory in the dual meet's final team scoring Saturday morning in Denton, Texas.
Continuing off her great performance against TCU, Fong won her second-straight 200-yard freestyle (1:52.22) and her fourth in a row over the last three weekends. Bottoms captured the 200-yard butterfly with a season-best time of 2:05.90, and won the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 53.06 seconds just two events later. Additionally, Fong touched first in the 50-yard freestyle in just her first time racing in the event this year. Fong and Bottoms teamed with freshmen Konicke and Clark for a comfortable win the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:30.19). Fong gave the Blue & Gray a fantastic lead leg on the relay with an intermediate 51.69 split that is the Owls' fastest 100- yard free so far this season. Steady as ever, senior distance specialist O'Brien won the 1,000-yard free with a 10:23.83, and freshman Flanigan won the 500- yard free with a 5:02.71. However, after taking the two losses, the Owls are now 1-3 in dual meets this season. The Owls have a week off before they return to the pool Nov. 17 at the Houston Recreation Center Natatorium, for the Phill Hansel Cougar Invitational hosted by the University of Houston.
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