2022 Conference USA Fan Guide: Diving Keeps FIU One Step Ahead of Rice

2022 Conference USA Championships (Women)

Event Schedule

Wednesday

  • 200 medley relay
  • 800 free relay

Thursday

  • 500 free
  • 200 IM
  • 50 free
  • 3-meter diving
  • 200 free relay

Friday

  • 400 IM
  • 100 fly
  • 200 free
  • 100 breast
  • 100 back
  • 1-meter diving
  • 400 medley relay

Saturday

  • 1650 free
  • 200 back
  • 100 free
  • 200 breast
  • 200 fly
  • Platform diving
  • 400 free relay

The Florida International women come into the 2022 Conference USA Championships as the seven-time defending champions, having won every title dating back to 2015. Rice has been the runner-up in all seven seasons during the FIU streak, and projects to have a great chance to dethrone the champs this week.

STARS & SHOWDOWNS

200 Fly: Two of the meet’s top swimmers, FIU’s Stephanie Hussey and Rice’s Marta Cano-Minarro, are scheduled to lock horns in the 200 fly in what should be an excellent race. Hussey, a fifth-year graduate senior, was third last year, but leads the conference ranks this season with her 1:58.19 from the Purdue Invitational—her fastest time since the 2020 Conference USA Championships when she won the title (1:58.15).

Cano Minarro, a senior, won both the 200 free and 200 IM in her sophomore season in 2020, but her highest finish last year was eighth in the 200 IM. In the 200 fly, she was third two seasons ago, and similar to Hussey, has neared her PB set there this season in 1:58.73. That swim was done in a dual meet earlier this month, indicating she may be the one to beat, assuming she swims it (Cano Minarro has pre-entered five events, so she’ll end up dropping two of her entries).

The only other swimmer sub-2:00 this season is Rice freshman Arielle Hayon, who hit a best of 1:59.43 a few weeks ago in the Owls’ dual with Texas. 2021 winner Lindsay Mathys of Rice has graduated.

100 Free: The 100 free is a stacked event, and given it’s position late on the meet schedule, could have team title ramifications with the top six seeds consisting of three FIU swimmers and three from Rice.

FIU fifth-year Sara Gyertyanffy and her teammate Hussey come in with the top two seeds, having clocked 49.53 and 49.70, respectively, at the Purdue Invitational in November. Following those two are Rice juniors Lauren McDougall (49.83), Maddy Howe (49.98) and senior Cano Minarro, who may end up dropping the event for the 200 fly.

The next-fastest seed is FIU junior Elinah Phillip, who has been a lightning-quick 22.57 in the 50 free this season to lead the conference ranks in that event.

The 2021 winner was FIU’s Jasmine Nocentini, who has since transferred to Northwestern, leaving a big hole in the team’s sprint free corps. But Gyertyanffy appears to have done a great job filling that void, especially given the fact she was swimming the 200 breast on the final day of the meet last year and not the 100 free.

Star – Christie Chue: Taking over as the top FIU breaststroker this season has been freshman Christie Chue, who is ranked first in the conference by nearly five seconds this season in the 200 breast with an elite time of 2:08.66. Chue is also the only woman sub-1:00 in the 100 breast at 59.88, with Gyertyanffy second at 1:00.69.

Star – Maha Gouda: The main thing that’s not taken into account when we look at the Swimulator’s projected score (see below) is diving, and that’s really where FIU separates itself from Rice, which doesn’t have a diving team).

FIU senior Maha Gouda swept all three diving events in both 2019 and 2021, only losing the 1-meter and 3-meter titles in 2020 to teammate Mandy Song, who will also be competing this week. The two will battle head-to-head in the 1-meter and 3-meter events once again, and Gouda is a near lock for a four-peat on platform.

SWIMULATOR RESULTS

NOTE – this does not include diving, and Swimulator works as an approximation and projection based on 2021-2022 season bests. Not every team tapers the same way, injuries/illnesses come up, and projections are merely projections. 

  1. Rice, 822.0
  2. FIU, 802.0
  3. Marshall, 411.0
  4. FAU, 393.0
  5. North Texas, 318.0
  6. Old Dominion, 219.0

SWIMSWAM PICKS

  1. FIU
  2. Rice
  3. FAU
  4. Marshall
  5. North Texas
  6. Old Dominion

Led by Gouda and Song, FIU returns a ton of diving points which should push them over the edge and past Rice at the competition. Rice has plenty of depth in the pool and should give the Golden Panthers a strong challenge, but would need several swimmers to make big drops and pull off a few relay wins to make it really close.

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Swimming fan
6 months ago

I think we are missing the important fact that Rice is allowed to score more swimmers than FIU. It is difficult to fathom how the scores might look if swimming was scored alone and FIU was afforded the same number of swimmers to score. FIU won every relay, and by a considerable margin to that fact. It can’t be denied that Rice has good distance swimmers, but FIU dominates in the sprint events (which again is shown by FIUs relays).

Marshall Mama
7 months ago

Rice will never beat FIU without divers. Which begs the question: Should swimming and diving be scored as two separate events? It seems grossly unfair that teams are essentially penalized in points by not having a dive program. Many of these programs do not have pools that can accommodate 1 and 3 meter, let alone platform. So why are these dive-less/dive-poor programs forced to compete in the dive portion, as well as swim? We are Marshall! Go Herd!

Admin
Reply to  Marshall Mama
7 months ago

You’re asking big questions about the future of the sport.

Why should TCU be forced to compete against the University of Texas, when TCU can’t support the same number of athletes or lanes as Texas in their facility?

Should there be a minimum facility standard to compete in D1 athletics?

Or should Rice have built a facility capable of hosting all three diving events and hired a diving coach?

So you know, and I get the sense that you don’t care – if you split diving from swimming, diving in the United States is dead. The same way that if you split college swimming from college football, that college swimming in the United States is dead, and the same way… Read more »

Marshall Mama
Reply to  Braden Keith
7 months ago

Geez! I don’t care? I only meant that swim and dive should be scored separately.

Roll Monarchs
7 months ago

Don’t sleep on the Monarchs! Underrated depth and some real studs in sprint group give them an outside chance to win! Roll Mons!

Greg Hughes
7 months ago

I don’t think it will be close, even without the divers. FIU has three backstrokers under 54s I’m the 100, and the differential in breaststroke will be a huge advantage in the medley relays. They’ll also be heavy favorites in the 200free relay. That’s a lot of points!

PantherPower
Reply to  Greg Hughes
7 months ago

Yessss Greg!! Go panthers!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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