Houston Stands in First Place Heading into Final Day
Feb. 22, 2013
HOUSTON- The University of Houston swimming and diving team stands in first place with a half-point lead over Rice (480.5-480) heading into the final day of competition at the Conference USA Swimming and Diving Championships. Sophomore Natasha Burgess continued Houston's dominance in the diving events leading a 1-2-3 finish in the 1-meter event Friday night at the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center Natatorium.
The C-USA Championship ends tomorrow with a dramatic finish lined up. Houston and Rice hold the top two spots with defending-champions SMU trailing by less than 40 points. This is the first time Houston has held the lead heading into the final day of competition. Action in the pool picks up Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with the prelims and the finals begin at 6 p.m.
Burgess, the sophomore from Adelaide (Australia), ended her streak of four-straight runner-up finishes to senior Julia Lonnegren to capture her first C-USA title (304.35) in the 1M. Burgess took top marks in four of the six dives and tied for the high-round score of 54.60 on a reverse one-and-a-half somersault pike in her fifth dive to edge Lonnegren by 11.15 points. Lonnegren finished runner up with a final score of 293.20 and freshman Danielle Shedd settled for third behind the veterans on a second-straight day.
Houston was well represented in the 200 free with junior Heather Winn leading the way with a third-place finish. Winn set a personal best time (1:48.74) and made her way to the podium for a third-straight day after taking runner up in the 500 free and swimming on the Cougars' 800-free relay team.
Seniors Kimmy Ballo and Moira Fraser joined Winn in the Championship Finals and placed fifth and eighth giving Houston 41 points in the event. Junior Colleen Donovan took runner up in the Consolation finals swimming a personal best 1:50.70.
The Houston 200-yard medley relay team (Taylor Gregory, Reka Kovacs, Maya Owens, Maggie McCord) overtook ECU with the freshman Owen's 54.49 butterfly split to take third place and close out the competition and keep the lead over Rice.
The Taylors, Taylor Gregory and Taylor Derevyanik, gave Houston two more finalists in the final individual event of the night by placing fourth and eighth in the 100 back. This is the first C-USA Championships for the pair of newcomers with Gregory being a sophomore transfer and Derevyanik a freshman.
Kovacs advanced to the 400 IM finals and added a fifth-place finish, adding to her collection of strong showings in the individual medley at the Championships.
* = Personal Best