HOUSTON, Texas, November 2. FOR the first time in nearly 28 years, the University of Houston has topped rival SMU in a dual meet. The last time Houston beat SMU in a dual meet was in 1986, before any of the swimmers on either team were even born. The Cougars topped the Mustangs on Saturday by a final score of 158-141.
Houston Press Release
The University of Houston swimming and diving program earned a 158-141 dual meet victory over SMU on Saturday to improve their record to 2-0 on the season. Five individuals earned victories in their events to help lead Cougars over the Mustangs for the first time in a dual meet setting since Feb. 8, 1986.
“I can’t even begin to describe how I feel today,” said head diving coach Jane Figueiredo. “For our program, this is unbelievable. A win like today really shows a whole lot to where this program is going.”
The Houston divers dominated the boards scoring 32 points and sweeping the top-three places in both the 1M and 3M events. Veteran Natasha Burgess placed first in the 1M (291.60) followed by Taylor Olanski (269.63) and Danielle Shedd (262.27). Olanski, the freshman, led the UH diving trio in the 3M with a 312.38 score followed by Shedd (303.75) and Burgess (300.08).
“Our expectations are very high and that probably comes from me since I ask a lot from them,” said Figueiredo. “We’ve been plagued by injuries the last six weeks and really started to get going this week. They really did an awesome job.”
Over in the swimming pool, Houston turned in another solid all-around effort led by the Cougars seniors.
“I’m really proud of our effort,” said head swimming coach Rich Murphy. “These meets are important as a reflection of our training and our confidence. We’ve got a lot of people who are making improvements and the energy that they have for each other really is contagious. That spirit, care and commitment to one another really helps us in the second half of meets like today.
“The seniors continue to perform well. I think that they are growing into their role within the team and they are in a position based on their experience to really set the tone as well as let their experience shine through as far as racing and preparation goes. They’re acting as really good role models for our swimmers.”
Senior Lizzie Justice placed first in the 1,000 free (10:29.61) in the second race of the day to help set the tone for the day. Justice was followed by Mackenzie Alspaugh (10:41.65), Leah Ortiz (10:52.79) and Rachel Hobbins (10:55.39) as Houston took the top four spots in the event.
Senior Laykin Lowry earned a win in the 200 fly (2:06.57) followed by classmate Justice (2:09.21) and sophomore Mackenzie Alspaugh (2:10.06) for a 1-2-3 showing.
Sophomore Maya Owens (58.19) and Holly Criscuolo (58.51) took first and second in the 100 fly during the third to last event of the day to give the Cougars their cushion they needed to coast to the victory.
Heather Winn earned a pair of runner up finishes in the 100 (52.51) and 200 (1:51.84) free.
Houston hosts the Phill Hansel Invite Nov. 21-23 at the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center Natatorium.
Southern Methodist Press Release
The SMU women’s swimming and diving team picked up 11 first place finishes, but fell to American Athletic Conference opponent Houston, 158-141, on Saturday afternoon.
The Mustangs started and finished the event with a pair of relay victories as senior Monika Babok and juniors Nicole Parmenter, Rachel Nicol and Nathalie Lindborg clocked in at 1:45.44 in the 200-yard medley relay, and Babok, Lindborg, senior Nina Rangelova and junior Isabella Arcila touched the wall in a time of 1:34.84 in the 200-yard freestyle relay.
With wins in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events, Nicol continued to prove why she is a standout performer in the event with finishes of 1:04.98 and 2:19.63. Her time in the 200 was nearly nine seconds faster than her closest competitor. Nicol also finished second in the 200-yard IM in a time of 2:09.36.
Finishing just ahead of Nicol in the 200-IM was senior Deanna Matthews (2:07.25). The Edmonton, Alberta, native also finished the 200-yard backstroke in 2:02.25 for the win and placed third in the 100-back. Just behind Matthews in the 200-back was Arcila, who was second in a time of 2:02.46. Arcila also won the 100-yard backstroke for the second-straight day, after setting the pool record in the Mustangs’ meet at Rice on Friday.
In addition to their contributions in the relays, Nathalie Lindborg and Rangelova also combined for four first place finishes. Lindborg had a dominant individual performance winning the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events in 23.95 and 51.40, respectively, while Rangelova won the 200-yard freestyle (1:50.38) and 500-yard freestyle (4:59.16).
Other notable performances were turned in by Babok, who placed third in the 100-yard butterfly (58.88) in which the top three spots were separated by less than a second, and freshman Ursa Bezan, who was third in the 200-yard freestyle (1:54.19).
The Mustangs are back in action Nov. 21-23 as they take to the pool at the Texas A&M Invite in College Station, Texas. Check SMUMustangs.com for ways to follow the event.