Rice Owls Sign Three

HOUSTON, December 3. THREE female high school seniors have signed national letters of intent to swim at Rice University next season, head coach Seth Huston announced Tuesday.

Rice abolished its men's team, ostensibly to comply with Title IX require2ments.

Joining the Owls in fall 2003 will be Denise Bear (Orlando, Fla./Trinity Prep), Andrea Hurn (Livonia, Mich./Stevenson HS) and Jenny Whitcomb (Orlando, Fla./Lake Highland Prep).

The three signees are expected to help bolster a young Owls team that will lose only one senior to graduation after this season.

Bear, a two-time U.S. Swimming academic all-America selection, chose Rice over Notre Dame and Princeton. She is a three-time senior national qualifier, with personal-best times of 56.54 and 2:02.48 in the 100 and 200 butterfly, respectively.

"Denise is a great addition to our program," said Huston. "She is so positive and friendly and has such a great team-first attitude. She will really help make us a better team."

Hurn picked the Owls over such schools as Brigham Young, Northern Arizona, Truman State and Villanova. She was a state champion in the 500 freestyle this year, and owns personal bests of 52.88 and 4:58.94 in the 100 and 500 free, respectively.

"Andrea, as proven by her recent high school state championships, will really contribute to Rice swimming. I think her best swimming is ahead of her in college. She is very versatile, so we will utilize her in many different events."

Whitcomb was twice a state finalist in both the 200 and 500 free, while also earning two-time honorable-mention all-America status in the 500 free. She is an eight-time junior national qualifier, and Whitcomb chose Rice over Pepperdine and Davidson.

"Jenny will be a great addition to the Rice swimming team. She can swim any freestyle event from the 100 to the mile. She is very determined and has experienced a lot of adversity as a high school/club swimmer. I believe this will help her as a college swimmer."

The Owls have swum their way to a 3-2 dual-meet record this season, notching victories over North Texas, Houston and San Jose State, while dropping their only meets to top-10 powers California and Texas.

Rice is off this week and will return to action Dec. 5-7 in the UT Invitational in Austin.

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