Feb. 21, 2013
HOUSTON - The University of Houston swimming and diving team closed out Day 2 of the Conference USA Swimming and Diving Championships in first place Thursday evening at the UH Campus Recreation & Wellness Center Natatorium. Houston swept the top-three spots in the 3-meter diving even and broke two more school records to lead a strong overall showing in the races and overtake crosstown-rivals Rice for first place.
Heading into the 3-meter diving finals, Houston sat in third place with 163.5 points. Senior Julia Lonnegren led her own comeback in the event to take first place while sophomore Natasha Burgess and freshman Danielle Shedd filled out the top three spots to give Houston 53 points in the event as the Cougars catapulted into first place.
"Julia is such a great veteran and she knows how to stay composed," said head diving coach Jane Figueiredo. "She loves this meet and always loves to compete. Tash (Burgess) had the event but got a little bit ahead of herself in her last dive and left it a little short. Dani did a great job coming back - she showed some great freshman spirit making a come back like she did."
Burgess posted the top round scores in the first three dives, including the high-round score (67.5), to hold the lead over her teammate but struggled down the stretch to allow the veteran Lonnegren to reclaim her league title. Lonnegren remained steady all the way through, taking first in the final three rounds en route to her fourth C-USA diving title.
"Our girls look amazing - I can't ask more from them what they're giving me attitude wise, they're just fantastic right now. The coaching staff is doing a great job and we're all so excited right now."
For the second straight day, the UH swimmers claimed two school records.
Senior Reka Kovacs earned a fourth-place finish in the 200-yard IM with her time of 2:02.04 to break her own mark she set in 2011.
Houston's 200 free relay team (1:32.24) also left their mark on the school record boards as Krystan Morrell, Maggie McCord, Doroteja Bednjanec and Moira Fraser gave Houston a third-place finish in the event to close out Thursday's action.
McCord, a freshman from Tuscon (Ariz.), tied the No. 2 mark in the school history in the 50 free (23.08) to take a fourth-place finish. Joining McCord in the 50-free finals was junior Krystan Morrell, who set a personal-best time of 23.33 to place seventh in the race.
Heather Winn turned in an NCAA `B' cut time with the in the 500-yard freestyle in school history (4:47.39) and took runner up in the event. The junior from Slidell (La.) led a strong showing of Cougar swimmers in the middle-distance event as junior Lizzie Justice finished fourth (4:52.80) and Kimmy Ballo grabbed seventh (4:54.26) and all three set personal best times.
"Quite candidly, if you asked me if we would be in first place at this stage, I'd be shocked," said head coach Augie Busch. "But we are swimming lights out right now; we are crushing personal best times. It's great to see this hard work come to fruition. The divers were just awesome tonight. It was a total team performance and I'm just so proud of these girls right now. There's still so much of the meet left and we just need to stay hungry and humble."
Fifteen personal best times fell on the second day of competition and four school records have been set over the first seven events at the championships.
Houston returns to the water tomorrow morning with the prelims starting at 10 a.m. with the finals set for 6 p.m.
DAY 2 RESULTS
1. Houston 248.5
2. Rice 228
3. SMU 222.5
4. ECU 198
5. Tulane 132
6. Marshall 114
4. Maggie McCord 23.08*
7. Krystan Morrell 23.33*
10. Moira Fraser 23.47*
12. Doroteja Bednjanec 23.55*
19. Taylor Gregory 23.81*
20. Taylor Derevyanik 23.93*
21. Maya Owens 23.99
23. Michelle Detka 24.18*
27. Holli Pisarski 24.52
-- Marissa Blumenthal 25.20
* Personal Best
# School Record