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Sunday, January 26, 2020 — Houston, TX 56°

Owls swimmers compete at the Austin Grand Prix

By Louis Lesser     1/17/12 6:00pm

After finishing the first week of the new semester, the Owls headed out to Austin last Friday to take part in the USA Swimming Grand Prix Tournament. A total of five Owls competed in the events. The action began on Friday, when freshman and Austin native Erin Flanigan finished 27th out of a field of 39 entrants in the 400-meter freestyle. Her long-course time of 4:23.28 is equivalent to 4:52.77 in short-course yards. Also, Flanigan was one of two Rice swimmers in the meet's 100-meter butterfly. She was 41st in the prelims with a 1:04.50 (converts to 56.57 in short-course yards), while fellow freshman Casey Clark swam a 1:03.98 (56.11 SCY). Clark was also 51st out of 186 swimmers in the 100-meter freestyle after finishing with a time of 59.31 (a season-best 51.84 in SCY).

The success continued on Saturday, when Flanigan continued to impress her teammates and hometown crowd. She finished 56th in a field of more than 160 entrants in the 200-meter freestyle and swam a long-course time of 2:06.64, which converts to a near-season best 1:50.68 in SCY. Not to be outdone, Clark continued to show that she was as strong a swimmer as ever by finishing 82nd overall in the 200-freestyle with a 2:08.22 (1:52.06 SCY). Additionally, she was 82nd in a field of 154 in the 50-meter freestyle with a time of 27.33 (a SCY season-best 24.15). The Rice senior tandem of Shelby Bottoms (5:14.58) and Alex O'Brien (5:15.89) were 80th and 82nd, respectively, in the 400-meter individual medley. Sophomore Michelle Gean came in 94th in the 200-backstroke with a 2:28.77.

While the Owls were impressive throughout the meet, Sunday was perhaps their strongest showing, saving the best for last. It started with Flanigan, who finished 16th out of a field of 74 competitors in the 200-meter butterfly with a long-course meters time of 2:19.17. Her time is equal to a season-best 2:02.61 in short-course yards and is a half-second faster than her previous best set at the University of Houston Invitational last fall. Fellow freshman Clark led three Owls in the prelims of the 200-individual medley, and was 52nd overall in a field of 145 entrants with a long-course time of 2:25.64 (converts to a season-best 2:06.27 in SCY). Bottoms was 68th with a 2:27.04 (2:07.48). Gean completed a 2:41.74 (2:20.23 SCY) and competed in the 100-backstroke and was 100th with a time of 1:09.89 (59.62 SCY). After this impressive showing, the Owls look forward to their next meet on Jan. 27-28 at UH, as Rice participates in a quad meet with UH, Louisiana State University and Tulane University.

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