Conference USA Championships, Day Three

HOUSTON, Texas, February 17. SMU established five meet records Saturday, making eight new Conference USA Swimming and Diving Championship meet records for the Mustangs so far this year. SMU also was able to maintain the team lead, 550-507, ahead of defending champion Rice after a strong finish to the evening session.

SMU opened the Friday evening session with a dominating win in the 200-yard freestyle relay, clocking a meet-record 1:29.26 to meet the NCAA “B” standard time and increase its lead in the team race. Nina Rangelova, Genny Konicke, Monika Babok and Isabella Arcila gave SMU the win over Rice (1:32.15), while Tulane beat East Carolina to the wall by 0.2 seconds.

Houston’s Julia Lonnegren won her second diving event of the Championship, posting 316.35 points to top teammate Natasha Burgess (309.25). SMU’s Sky Corbett-Methot finished in third place with 272.15.

Quincy Christian gave Rice its first event win in the 400-yard individual medley, winning in an NCAA “B” standard time of 4:18.67, just ahead of teammate Shelby Bottoms (4:20.64). East Carolina’s Danielle Morrin touched the wall in third place at 4:21.34 on the clock. The win, along with a total of four placewinners, pushed the Owls back into the team lead, 369-351, ahead of East Carolina, which also passed SMU during the event.

The Mustangs would regain second place after the 100-yard butterfly, sweeping the top two spots and placing another. Genny Konicke of SMU (52.12) just missed the NCAA “A” standard, but set a new meet record and led three swimmers that hit the “B” mark. Her teammate, Denisa Smolenova (52.91) finished just behind, while Rice’s Casey Clark (54.15) secured third place.

SMU’s Nina Rangelova blazed past the field in the 200-yard freestyle in 1:44.62, setting a new meet record and winning by nearly four seconds over Rice’s Erin Flanigan (1:48.34). Houston junior Moira Fraser clocked a 1:49.00 to claim third place.

Rachel Nicol of SMU won a tight 100-yard breaststroke final with a time of 1:01.05, outlasting teammates Erica Donadon (1:01.33) and Raminta Dvariskyte (1:01.42), and helping SMU to 53 team points for the event to pull the Mustangs within 12 of the team lead. The time for Nicol was the third straight meet record set by SMU.

Therese Svendsen made it four meet records in as many events and five for the meet as the SMU senior topped her own record in the 100-yard backstroke, hitting the wall in 52.31 – an NCAA “A” standard time. The Mustangs swept the top four spots in the event, with Genny Konicke (53.73) taking second and Isabella Arcila (54.09) earning third. The sweep propelled SMU back into the team lead with a 550-507 edge ahead of Rice.

SMU’s men hold the lead after three days in the men’s invitational meet, 681-658, ahead of TCU. East Carolina has 479 points.

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