Swimming and Diving Take Runner Up Finish at C-USA Championships
Feb. 24, 2013
HOUSTON- The University of Houston swimming and diving team closed out the season with a runner-up finish at the Conference USA Championships Saturday night at the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center Natatorium. Julia Lonnegren won the platform for her second individual event title at the competition earning Diver of the Meet honors for the second straight year.
Rice (739) won their second C-USA title by overtaking the lead from Houston (694.5) on the fourth-to-last event Saturday. SMU, the defending champions, took third (664.50) with ECU (605), Tulane (373) and Marshall (255) following. With the runner-up finish, the Cougars tied the 2009 team for their best C-USA finish in program history.
The Houston divers swept all three dives and the Cougar swimmers broke seven school records and turned in four NCAA `B' cuts in the four-day meet, thrilling second-year head coach Augie Busch.
"I'm on cloud nine right now," said Busch. "This is one of the best meets I've ever been a part of as far as coaching. I couldn't be more proud of the women on this team. The divers were huge and Jane (Figueiredo) operates on a level of excellence that I try to match on a daily basis. It's so rewarding to see hard work pay off and smiles on their faces. I couldn't have dreamt of doing this well but it happened - it is real and we deserved it."
Shocking no one inside the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, Houston diving coach Jane Figueiredo was named C-USA Diving Coach of the Year for the 12th consecutive year. For Figueiredo and her divers, the meet serves as the precursor for the NCAA Zone Diving met on March 11-13, giving the senior Lonnegren one more chance to dive inside the CRWC pool.
"To finish as runner up with Augie and Clif (Robbins) and this group of girls, it is just so incredible," said Figueiredo. "We all contributed and it was a total team effort. This is one of the most awesome group of girls I have ever witnessed. The girls, team, coaching, camaraderie it has all came together and blended really well. "
The Houston senior swimmers made the most of their last chance to represent the Red and White on their own campus. Holli Pisarski and Reka Kovacs went off in their last go, both swimming a `B' cut time in the 200 breast and both made the podium. Pisarski took second (2:15.84) and Kovacs finished in third (2:15.89).
Fellow senior Kimmy Ballo set school records in both of her final swims, making the B-cut time in the 200 back (1:59.17) to take fourth and helping the Cougars 400 free relay break the varsity mark in 3:21.21. Senior Moira Fraser touched the wall to give Ballo her go on the relay, as the native of Harare (Zimbabwe) earned her spot on two UH record-setting relays.
Houston held the lead for most of the C-USA Championships and got off to a strong start to begin the day with juniors Heather Winn and Lizzie Justice both swimming personal bests to take third and fourth in the 1,650 free. Winn's mark shattered the school record with her time of 16:35.91, good for another B time.
Rice head coach Seth Huston was named Swimming Coach of the Year for the third time. SMU's Isabella Arcila was named Swimmer of the Meet.
NCAA B TIMES SET AT 2012-13 C-USA CHAMPIONSHIPS