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Tuesday, July 05, 2022 — Houston, TX

Swimming gets conference win against UNT on Senior Day

Photo courtesy Rice Athletics

By Reed Myers     1/25/22 11:46pm

​​The Owls beat the University of North Texas last Saturday in their dual meet 175-119, to secure their first win of the season. In addition to the competition at the Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center, the Owls celebrated their seven seniors during their senior day festivities. According to senior Marta Cano-Minarro, the meet is always an emotional one, but it was different this time as she was one of the swimmers being honored.

“[Senior Day] always gets really emotional,” Cano-Minarro said. “You need to find the balance between getting emotional and being aware that you still have to race a lot, but it’s always nice to have  the energy here in the last home meet.”

The weather was not shaping up to be ideal swim weather, as a cold and gloomy day loomed. However, according to coach Seth Huston, the weather turned out to be wonderful for the meet, leading to a more enjoyable senior day than he was initially expecting.

“The weather turned out great for us for senior day,” Huston said. “I was really worried it was going to be really cold and nobody would be here and we’d be celebrating seniors basically with our team and their team. [But] there were a fair number of spectators here and we had some parents show up, so it ended up being much better than I was envisioning.”

Saturday marked the Owls’ third home meet of the year. According to Cano-Minarro, she and her team were excited for another opportunity to race at home. 

“It is always great to have home meets,” Cano-Minarro said. “In other seasons, we’ve only had like one or two. This season, I think it is our third and it’s been really exciting to see everyone in the stands. It warms your heart a little bit, even on this cold day, it [is] special.” 

The Owls combined score of 175 points came from 13 golds, six silvers, and seven bronzes. Of those 13 golds, 10 were secured by a group of five Owls who won multiple events. Freshmen Arielle Hayon and Amelia Kane secured two golds apiece. Junior Lauren McDougall added golds in the 200 and 500 freestyle, junior Zoe Spitz took both backstroke golds and Cano-Minarro went out on top in the 100 Free and 200 Fly. According to Huston, he was pleased with the Owls’ performances in the water, especially considering the recent circumstances his team have faced. 

“I was happy with how we swam today,” Huston said. “Knowing where we’re at and how we’ve been training and knowing what we’re going through, we’re not really looking for lifetime bests and stuff like that. I’m looking for the details, are they getting in and out of the walls quick, are they being aggressive coming home and staying in the fight and things like that and those are the things I feel like we are doing well.”

The Owls will look to build upon this momentum as they head into their final meets before the Conference USA Championships. According to Cano-Minarro, these final competitions present mixed feelings for her and her fellow senior swimmers. 

“We have two more meets to go before conference,” Cano-Minarro said. “We are really excited to finish our dual meets, to start preparing for conference and I think me and all the seniors are really excited to finish the season. It’s kind of bittersweet feeling because we love swimming here but we are also ready to give our max in our last year.”

The Owls will now travel to San Antonio where they will take on the University of Incarnate Word and Texas Christian University on Friday at 5:00 pm.

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