Miami vs. Rice

HOUSTON, Texas, October 22. THE tandem of freshman Erin Flanigan and senior Alex O'Brien won two events each, and Rice won seven of the meet's 11 events overall, to pace the Owl swimmers to a 131-74 dual meet victory over the visiting Miami Hurricanes Saturday afternoon at Rice Aquatics Center Competition Pool.
Rice opened the day with a rare 1-2 finish in the 400-yard medley relay (3:53.77) and never looked back. Flanigan then won the first of her two events, moving up from her usual 500-freestyle to the 1,000. The freshman from Austin posted her first collegiate victory with a steady 10:22.61 ahead second place finisher Christine Anderson (10:33.11) of Miami.

"We bumped Erin up (to the 1,000) just to mix it up a bit," said Rice head coach Seth Huston, now in his tenth year at the helm of the program. "We had her in that event just to get a little different look and see how things were going. She won that 1,000-free and then came back and won the 200-butterfly (four events later). Where she may have been just a bit slower (in the butterfly) than last week after that 1,000, I thought she did some technical things a little better this week and that was good to see."

Flanigan won the 200-butterfly with a time of 2:05.18 after out-dueling Miami freshman Lucy Worrall by four-tenths of second (2:05.59). Alex O'Brien had an almost equally-close race with teammate Quincy Christian in the 400-individual medley, 4:31.44 to 4:31.96. The Owls posted a 1-2-3 in the race as freshman Madison Livingston was third with a collegiate-best 4:39.35.

O'Brien also led a 1-2 Rice finish with Danielle Spence in the 500-free. The duo both posted new season-bests at 5:04.66 and 5:08.18, respectively. The Blue & Gray also had a 1-2 finish from Chelsea Fong (1:51.92) and Shelby Bottoms (1:54.35) in the 200-freestle. Fong was a close second 200-backstroke (two-tenths of a second at 2:05.25), but she and Bottoms later teamed with Lilly Marrow and Marissa Konicke for an Owl win the 400-free relay (3:30.51) to close out the day's action.

"Today went pretty well," coach Huston explained. "We may not have been as fast as we were last week, but we had some nice performances and we competed. Alex and Erin were double-winners. Chelsea stepped-up again and had some really nice races. She won the 200-free and got just out-touched in the 200-backstroke. It was nice to see Quincy in there racing. I thought she performed a lot better this week. Lilly Marrow had some nice swims today, on the relays in particular which is really good to see.

"We did some changes mid-meet just because we had a feeling of who was on," coach Huston added. "The team responded. It may give us a little momentum heading into a big meet next week."

After hosting C-USA rival SMU on Oct. 15 and Miami-Fla. on Saturday, Rice next hosts its third big meet in a row next weekend. The Owls' first five-team two-day meet at the Rice Competition Pool features Arkansas, Nebraska, Boise State and the University of Houston going head-to-head on Oct. 28-29.

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