Sam Straughan Doubles at American Athletic Conference Championships

Photo Courtesy: American Athletic Conference

SMU senior Sam Straughan captured two individual wins and helped the Mustangs capture the gold in the 400 medley relay on Day 3 of the 2016 American Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championships at the Campus & Wellness Recreation Center Natatorium on the campus of the University of Houston.
Straughan began the evening with a victory in the 100 butterfly for the second straight year, posting a time of 47.11. He was accompanied on the podium by Pirates juniors Adam Dear and Will Hicks with times of 48.09 and 48.19.  In the 100 back, Straughan (47.23) earned a narrow victory over East Carolina junior Fran Krznaric (47.87).

In the 400 medley relay, East Carolina and SMU were neck-and-neck after 200 yards. Straughan created separation in the third leg and teammate Lucas Schenke sealed the win in the final 100. The Mustangs finished the event with 3:12.43 on the clock, followed by the Pirates in second (3:13.32) and UConn in third (3:15.34).

SMU junior Kirsty McLauchlan defended her title in the 400 individual medley with a top time of 4:17.53, improving on her preliminary time by three-plus seconds. The win capped McLauchlan’s sweep of the individual medley events at this year’s meet. In the men’s race, East Carolina sophomore Boleck De Pawlikowski (3:47.99) and senior Julien Dodu (3:51.55) went one-two to capture gold and silver for the Pirates.

SMU swept the men’s and women’s 100 butterfly events. For the third consecutive year,  Mustangs junior Marne Erasmus produced the best time in the women’s event. Erasmus finished with a first-place time of 51.77. Tulane’s Kaitlin Simpson (54.10) placed second and East Carolina’s Bailie Monahan (54.13) took third.

Cincinnati junior Jacqueline Keire eclipsed her own championship meet record with a top-time of 1:43.87 in the women’s 200 freestyle. Keire’s previous meet mark of 1:44.70 was set at last year’s meet. Sophomore Christian Scherubl earned his second freestyle win of the 2016 American Championship with a victory in the men’s 200 free. Scherubl (1:35.54) and East Carolina’s Michael Dugan (1:35.88), who won the gold and silver in the 500 freestyle on Day 2, once again placed first and second.

Junior Tara Nicholas of SMU turned in a sub-one minute performance in the women’s 100 breaststroke to repeat as the meet champion. Nicholas covered the distance in a time of 59.59, while Tulane’s Mia Schachter (1:01.52) and Houston’s Ashley Grijalva (1:01.66) rounded out the top three. On the men’s side, East Carolina junior Will Hicks earned 20 points for the Pirates as he defeated the field with a time of 53.26. Following Hicks was the Cincinnati duo of Ludovico Corsini (54.07) and Zachary Hostoffer (54.78).

Houston had its second freshman earn an individual win at the 2016 American Championship as Eleanna Koutsouveli captured the women’s 100 backstroke. Koutsouveli (54.32) edged out UConn junior Jaimie Lynn Brookover (54.87) for the top spot on the podium, while Koutsouveli’s teammate Jasmine Williams placed third. The other freshman Cougar to earn gold at this year’s meet was Hannah Herbst in the 500 freestyle on Thursday.

SMU continued its strong performance in the women’s relay events as the Mustangs won their fourth relay of the championship meet. SMU finished three-plus seconds ahead of the rest of field for the win in the 400 medley relay . Keire anchored the Cincinnati relay and willed the Bearcats to a runner-up spot on the podium with a time of 3:39.74, while Tulane registered a third-place time of 3:40.10.

East Carolina and SMU continued to sit atop the four-team men’s field after three days of competition. The Pirates remain in the top spot with a score of 612.50 and the Mustangs are in second with 558.50 points. Cincinnati (448) and UConn (416) round out the standings in third and fourth place.

The six-team women’s field first and second place are separated by 13.50 points after Day 3. SMU comes in atop the standings with a score of 454 and Tulane ranks second (440.50).  Houston is in third (381), followed by Cincinnati (351), East Carolina (342.50) and UConn (339).

The final day of the 2016 American Athletic Conference Swimming and Diving Championships begins with preliminary swimming events at 10 a.m. CT, followed by men’s and women’s platform diving preliminaries at 12:30 CT. The finals are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. CT and you can watch it live on the American Digital Network. The senior recognition ceremony will take place at approximately 5:45 p.m. CT, prior to the start of the finals.

American Athletic Conference contributed this report.

2016 American Athletic Conference Swimming & Diving Championships
Campus Recreation & Wellness Center Natatorium • Houston, Texas
Feb. 17-20, 2016

Women’s Scores (through 14 of 21 events)
1.        SMU                                            454
2.        Tulane                                         440.50
3.        Houston                                      381
4.        Cincinnati                                   351
5.        East Carolina                              342.50
6.        UConn                                         339

Men’s Scores (through 14 of 21 events)
1.        East Carolina                               612.50
2.        SMU                                             558.50
3.        Cincinnati                                     448
4.        UConn                                           416