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Swimming bests Incarnate Word, wins fourth straight

Photo by Tommy LaVergne | The Rice Thresher
Courtesy Rice Athletics

By Pavithr Goli and Cadan Hanson     1/26/21 9:44pm

The Rice swim team defeated University of the Incarnate Word to win their fourth consecutive dual meet Saturday afternoon in San Antonio. The Owls won 10 out of the 14 events, easily defeating the Cardinals with a score of 182 to 79.

In total, seven different Owls took home first place in individual races with numerous Owls finishing in the top 3. Rice also swept the 200-yard freestyle, securing each of the top-five places.

Senior Rebecca Brandt, who won the 200-yard butterfly (2:06.42) and placed second in the 400-yard individual medley (4:32.85), was pleased with the team’s performance in the pool this weekend.

“We all came home very strong at the end of our races which proves that we have really grown stronger as individuals and as a team,” Brandt said.  

Fellow senior Nicole Lindberg also stood out in Saturday’s race, winning the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:05.02 and the 200-yard breaststroke with a time of 2:22.25. Lindberg said that she was pleased with her performance, and that she was able to utilize skills that she had been practicing over the break.

“Overall, we had many strong performances from everyone and I think the team had a really fun time,” Lindberg said. “With my breaststroke events, I was proud of how I kept a strong and tight line throughout my stroke. I have been working on this in practice, and it was rewarding to see my stroke come together in a competition setting.”

On the relay side, the Owls captured both relays, the 200-yard medley relay and the 200-yard freestyle relay. Head coach Seth Huston said he was very happy with how his team performed.

"The team has been so positive, stepped up to challenges and really had great focus,” Huston said. “Today, we raced very well, executed race plans and got out of our comfort zone, swimming in some different events.”

Lindenberg echoed her coach's sentiment, saying that the win was even more impressive because a number of Rice’s swimmers competed in races outside of their comfort zone.

“We got to see some of our teammates race in events that they normally don't swim,” Lindberg said. “That was exciting to watch.”

While most students were off relaxing during winter break, the Owl swimmers spent the last few weeks training. Despite fatigue from their training period, the Owls were fit and ready for their first meet in several weeks. Huston called the meet a “great finish to our winter recess training camp,” and Brandt added that it was encouraging to see such fast performances despite the draining training camp.

“We were at the end of a very challenging three-week winter training period so a lot of us were exhausted,” Brandt said. “But everyone still performed very well mentally and physically.”

Brandt said she believes that the hard work that the Owls have been devoting both in the pool and the weight room is finally paying off. Looking back at the past month, she believes that the training is helping their success in the pool as well as the cohesion on the team. 

“Over the past few weeks, we have been back at Rice, training with no class in session so we have really had the time to focus on our training and also on our team dynamic,” Brandt said. “Our team has always been very positive and supportive of each other, but I have definitely seen this improve over the past few weeks and we have all become even closer as a team than we already were before.”

Looking forward, Rice will face the University of Houston on Feb. 3 in another dual meet. After the Cougars, the Owls will look for another strong showing at the Conference USA Championship meet, where they placed second last year. The C-USA championships are held on Feb. 24-27 in Atlanta, GA. 

“Our goal is to be as well prepared as possible for the C-USA Championships and perform our best,” Huston said. “[We’ll] see what happens.”

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