LINCOLN, Nebraska, November 19. SOPHOMORE Erin O'Brien and freshman Danielle Spence finished first and second, respectively, in the 1,650-yard freestyle to vault the Owls' swimmers into the early lead in the team standings after the first day of competition at the annual Cornhusker Invitational Thursday evening (Nov. 19) at the Devaney Natatorium in Lincoln, Nebraska. Rice leads the four-team swim meet with 152 points while host Nebraska is in second with 130. Nebraska-Omaha is third (108 points) and South Dakota State is in fourth (78).
O'Brien won the rugged distance race among a field of 26 entrants with a time of 17:14.09. It was O'Brien's first time to race in the mile this year and the standout-from St. Paul, Minn., led four Owls in the final top-five spots. Spence was second with a strong 17:20.31 in her first time to race past 500-yards this season. Sophomore Nicole Delaloye finished fourth (17:32.29) and junior Karen Gerken was fifth (17:38.25). Junior Sarah Korellis was 11th (18:17.15) overall.
Rice's depth in the mile is where the team piled up the rest of its points on day one. The Owls needed the big start in the mile because Nebraska came right back with the top two spots in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The Cornhuskers won the event with time of 3:31.42. The Rice foursome of Pam Zelnick, Erin Mattson, Kim Steinhouse and Shelby Bottoms touched-in third place with a time of 3:34.60.
The 400-free relay and the mile were the only two events held on Thursday. The Cornhusker Invitational resumes on Friday with five more events. Action begins with prelims at 10 am and finals slated for 5 pm. The meet continues at Nebraska's Devaney Natatorium through Sunday. The full team scores after day one are as follows.
Team Standings (Day 1 of 4; two events completed)
1. Rice (152)
2. Univ. of Nebraska (130)
3. Nebraska-Omaha (108)
4. South Dakota State (78)
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