LINCOLN, Nebraska, November 21. RICE senior Angela Wo won two individual events and swam the lead leg on the winning 200-yard medley relay to pace the Owls' swim team on the third day of competition at the annual Cornhusker Invitational Saturday evening (Nov. 21) in Lincoln, Nebraska.
After 14 swimming races and both springboard diving events for the meet that began on Thursday (Nov. 19), host Nebraska has amassed 1,298 points to lead the team scoring. Rice is in second with 1,043 points heading into the meet's final day of action on Sunday. South Dakota State is in third place (562.5 points) while the University of Nebraska-Omaha is fourth (488.5) with just four more swim events to be contested.
Wo started off a sensational evening session by teaming with a veteran Owl crew of Pam Zelnick, Erin Mattson and Shelby Bottoms for a Rice win in the 200-medley relay. The foursome touched in first place with a season-best time of 1:47.49.
For as good as the opening relay was the Owls rolled-up an even more impressive showing in the next event. Rice took each of the first three spots in 400-individual medley with three new season-best times. Junior Kait Chura won the race (4:26.48) followed by the sophomore tandem of Shelby Bottoms (4:28.46) and Alex O'Brien (4:33.04). Ashten Ackerman (4:38.37) and Alison Godbe (4:42.14) also had strong finishes in the event for fifth and seventh, respectively.
Nebraska put together a solid team score in the 100-butterfly, a virtual sea of Red as eight of event's top 11 finishers swam for the host school. All were chasing Wo, however, who cruised to a win with her best time of the year (56.10). The senior from Sugar Land, Tex., defended her title in the event that she won at the same meet a year ago. Mattson also wedged her way into the Husker pack with a fourth after swimming a season-best 58.02.
Rice made it three wins in a row when Bottoms and freshman Stephanie Wei finished 1-2 in the 200-freestyle. Bottoms notched her second individual win in as many days after taking the 200-IM on Friday night. Her 1:53.02 was just ahead of Wei's 1:53.46. Owls Karen Gerken (1:57.78) and Danielle Spence (1:58.09) scored for the team with a sixth and seventh, respectively. Godbe won the consolation finals to finish 11th, but her time of 1:57.83 was faster than many of the swimmers in the championship finals.
Zelnick scored for the Blue & Gray with a third place finish in the 100-breaststroke. Her 1:06.00 is the best mark by an Owl in the event this year.
There were only two events left in the session but Wo wasn't finished by any account. In the morning prelims of the 100-backstroke the senior craftily and quietly qualified ninth for the ten spots in the championship finals. She then turned the field upside with her second win of the night, racing to a season-best 57.87 that was better than any of the 42 entrants in the event. The Owls came up big in the finals as Wei was third (58.79), Chura was fifth (59.62) and Zelnick sixth (1:00.15).
The Rice foursome of Wei, Kim Steinhouse, Gerken and Bottoms took second place among a field of 16 teams in the 800-freestyle relay. The group posted a season-best time of 7:42.62.
The meet concludes Sunday at Nebraska's Devaney Natatorium. Action begins with prelims at 8 am and finals slated for 2 pm.
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