The Rice Owls hosted the Texas A&M Aggies for a dual meet in Houston today where the Aggies won 160-100.
The Aggies, who had the fasted time in all but one event contested (though exhibitions did factor into scoring at the end of the meet) started off strong, taking the top two places in the 200 medley relay. The team of Beryl Gastaldello, Jorie Caneta, Sarah Gibson, and Lexie Lupton finished almost a full three seconds ahead of the second place Aggie “B” team.
The 1000 free saw another 3 second victory for the Aggies, this time with senior Colleen Konetzke touching in 10:07.47. Rice’s Hanna Huston came second at 10:10.37. Following the 1000 was the women’s 200 free. A&M took first and third, with Gibson winning (1:50.63) and Claire Rasmus touching in 1:52.74- which was good for second. Alicia Caldwell of the Rice Owls came seconds in 1:51.29. Gibson would go on to win the 500 free later in the session by a commanding 7 second margin(4:58.33).
The Aggies then took the top two spots in both the 100 back and 100 breast. In the former, Gastaldello and Lisa Bratton touched in 56.31 and 56.72. In the latter, Caneta and Bethany Galat were at the wall in 1:03.89 and 1:04.19.
In the 200 fly, the Aggies took the top three spots in the field. They were lead by freshman Tiffany Futscher (2:05.35). Laura Norman and Alexandra Buscher rounded out the top three. Another freshman for the Aggies, Lupton, won the 50 free by 4/10 of a second. She was followed by the Aggie’s Kristin Malone and Rice’s Cora McKenzie (23.46, 23.83, 23.98).
Gastaldello got her second individual win on the day in the 100 free, where she narrowly beat out Caldwell for the win (51.28 to 51.34). Galat and Rasmus tied for third in 52.85. Bratton and Esther Gonzalez Medina received their first individual wins on the day in the 200 back (2:00.42) and 200 breast (2:17.38).
The Rice Owls received their first and only true individual event win in the 100 fly where Kiley Beall won in 56.77. Two weeks ago at the Phill Hansel invite, Beall earned a provisional NCAA cut. Lupton and McKenzie rounded out the top three. The Owls went on to take top point earning honors in the 400 IM, with Kaitlyn Swinney, Huston, and Marita Sailor took the top three spots. Swinney’s time in the 400 IM (4:19.86) was the fastest that an Owl has ever been in their home pool. In the 200 free relay, exhibitions gave Rice the top three point spots (however, based on time alone, the Aggies would have been first and third).
Below is an interview with Rice’s head coach Seth Huston. He acknowledges the performances of Caldwell, Swinney, McKenzie and Beall’s stand out performances.
The Rice swimmers will next enter a break from competition while taking their final exams of the semester, but return to action on Dec. 18. The Owls compete at the annual Incarnate Word University Holiday Invitational, a three-day, multi-team meet in San Antonio. The Aggies have the rest of this semester off. They’ll host Georgia and SMU on January 8th and 9th, respectively.