Swimming & Diving Hosts Phill Hansel Invite Nov. 15-17
Nov. 14, 2012
HOUSTON - The University of Houston swimming and diving program welcomes 14 other teams this weekend for the annual Phill Hansel Invite Nov. 15-17 at the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center Natatorium.
The prelims kickoff each morning at 10 a.m. with a return for the finals each night at 6 p.m. Diving will begin at 10:30 a.m. each morning on Thursday and Friday with a noon start time on Saturday.
The Cougars have enjoyed the past two weeks off from competition, but not practice, as they have been gearing towards their biggest Fall home meet of the year.
"There is a lot of excitement among the coaches and team members for this weekend" said head coach Augie Busch. "We've had a tremendous last 12 weeks of training and I can't wait to see how fast our girls can go.
With six teams that finished in the top-40 at the NCAA championships in 2012, this year's Phill Hansel will feature some of the fastest squads the pool has ever seen. The entire list of teams includes Air Force, Arkansas, Clemson, Fresno State, Houston, Idaho, New Mexico State, SMU, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Texas A&M, Tulane, UCLA and Wyoming. Those teams represent eight different conferences in action this week.
"The teams here will provide some incredible competition and we look forward to being fully engaged in some exciting racing. In what can be a grueling sport, meets like this provide a chance to capitalize on very tough training and we're excited about the opportunities that lay before us."
Head diving coach Jane Figueiredo will look towards Lonnegren and sophomore Natasha Burgess to help guide the freshman Danielle Shedd against some fierce competition to give Houston some points on the boards.
In addition to the outstanding swim squads that will be in attendance, the diving team will face some of their toughest competition of the year as well as Air Force, Arkansas, Clemson, LSU, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, Nebraska, TCU and Kansas are all bring their nationally-recognized programs.
With Houston hosting the NCAA Zone Championships this year (March 11-13), many teams in the region were eager to enter the meet to get a feel for the facility when the Zones come to town in four months.
For Houston, Saturday will double as Senior Day as the Cougars bid farewell to five seniors (Kimmy Ballo, Moira Fraser, Reka Kovacs, Julia Lonnegren and Holli Pisarski). The Phill Hansel Invite will be the last home meet before hosting the 2013 Conference USA Championships.
Junior Heather Winn has paced Houston in the mid and distance freestyle events and currently ranks among the top-six in the 500 (5:04.57), 1,000 (10:29.77) and 1,650 (17:42.74).
Senior multistroke-specialist Reka Kovacs leads the team in the 200 IM and 400 IM with her third and fourth-overall fastest time in conference at 2:08.31 and 4:31.76. The Budapest, Hungary, native also holds the three-spot in C-USA at the 200 breast (2:22.00).
ABOUT PHILL HANSEL
Hansel, a 1949 graduate of Purdue, was named the Southwest Conference Coach of the Year three times during his tenure, and mentored 31 swimmers to All-America honors, including Diane Johannigman, the first NCAA swimming national champion in UH history.
Hansel also had an impressive resume at the international level, serving as the manager of the 1992 U.S. Olympics teams and working with the Singapore teams at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.