FIU Panthers Pull Away on Day Two of Conference USA Championship


Florida International looked sharp on day one of the 2016 Conference USA Championship, winning both the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays without using any of their top swimmers twice.  Today, the Panthers made even greater strides toward defending their C-USA title with remarkable depth.  They won another relay, set a new Conference Record, and their weakest event of the night still had three athletes score with two of them in the A-final.  Rice turned in some outstanding performances and showed impressive depth as well, but a much improved team from Marshall is currently ahead of them after taking down all but FIU in a relay and capitalizing on a spectacularly strong diving squad.


  1. Kyna Pereira, SO, Florida International 4:45.62
  2. Ilari Manzella, FR, Florida International 4:48.22
  3. Hanna Huston, FR, Rice 4:50.66

FIU sent a strong message to the rest of Conference USA to start off day two finals.  Earning 51 points with three swimmers, the Panthers secured 1st, 2nd and 5th on season best times from Kyna Pereira (4:45.62,) Ilari Manzella (4:48.22,) and Skye Carey (4:53.88.)  Hanna Huston from Rice gained a little ground on Manzella near the end of the race, but was held back to 3rd place with 4:50.66.  Sara Whelan from North Texas captured 4th place points with 4:53.12.  Rice took 6th place with a 4:54.71 from Anniina Ala-Seppala, while FAU’s Abbey King (4:55.40) and Marshall’s Madison Pulfer (4:59.68) were 7th and 8th respectively.


  1. Jaecey Parham, SO, Rice University 2:00.25
  2. Agi Bucs, SR, Florida Atlantic 2:01.11
  3. Caroline Wanner, FR, Marshall 2:01.68

It was the Rice Owls who dominated the 200 IM tonight, not just with the winning 2:00.25 B cut from Jaecey Parham, but by landing four scoring athletes in the A-final.  Kaitlyn Swinney turned in a 2:02.08 for 4th place, and was joined by Marie-Claire Schillinger at 2:03.10 and Shelby Ragsdale at 2:03.46 for 6th and 7th.  Florida Atlantic’s Agi Bucs was also under the NCAA B standard with her 2:01.11 runner-up finish.  Also splitting up the Owls’ crew were Marshall’s Caroline Wanner with 2:01.68 for 3rd and FIU’s Becky Wilde in 5th with 2:02.80. FIU also scored on Jessica Piper‘s 2:03.71 8th place finish.


  1. Naomi Ruele, FR, Florida International 22.23 (*C-USA Record)
  2. Letizia Bertelli, SO, Florida International 22.82
  3. Jenny Deist, JR, Florida International 22.88

Only one swimmer, Marshall’s Gloriya Mavrova, was able to break up a 1-5 domination of the 50 free by the FIU Panthers with her NCAA B cut 4th place finish at 22.96.  Otherwise, the Panthers absolutely took ownership of the sprint.  Naomi Ruele‘s 22.23 was a new C-USA record and might be important later as it is well under the line of 22.39 invited to NCAA’s last year.  Letizia Bertelli and Jenny Deist were also under the B cut with 22.82 and 22.88 respectively for 2nd and 3rd places.  FIU also had two athletes tie for 5th place when both Marie Lauridsen and Jenny Alfani touched at 23.02.  North Texas freshman Rebeka Bradley was 7th with 23.13, and Marshall’s Lauren Cowher rounded out the final with a 23.16 for 8th.


  1. Megan Wolons, JR, Marshall 316.70
  2. Becca Quesnel, SO, Florida International 307.30
  3. Lily Kaufmann, JR, Florida International 288.20

Diving was another strong event for FIU, but it was Marshall’s Megan Wolons who came out on top, leading the Herd to rack up points on four scoring divers with two or them in the top 8.  Wolons won the event with 316.70 followed by FIU’ Rebecca Quesnel (307.30) and Lily Kaufmann (288.20) for 2nd and 3rd.  Marshall’s Heather Lonkert was 4th with 265.10.  FIU also picked up points from 6th place Laura Coronado who scored 259.70.  Florida Atlantic also boasted a strong diving contingent with Alexa Elkins 5th with 265.05 and Kiley Kuether 7th with 238.70.  Completing the top 8 scorers was Samantha Scheck from North Texas with 228.55.


  1. Florida International 1:30.70
  2. Marshall 1:33.45
  3. Florida Atlantic 1:33.79

After the Florida International squad set the 50 freestyle on fire earlier in the session it wasn’t hard to guess that they could do the same in the 200 free relay.  The Panthers team of Ruele (22.44,) Bertelli (22.64,) Alfani (23.29,) and Deist (22.33) left the rest of Conference USA nearly three seconds behind them, winning the event with 1:30.70.  Marshall managed to hold back Florida Atlantic for second place, finishing 1:33.45 to FAU’s 1:33.79.  Rice University reeled in North Texas to out-touch them by .04 for fourth place at 1:34.35 to the Mean Green’s 1:34.39.  Old Dominion finished sixth with 1:34.88.

Team scores (after day two):

  1. Florida International 339
  2. Marshall University 222
  3. Rice University 203
  4. North Texas 160
  5. Florida Atlantic 149
  6. Old Dominion 116



Leave a Reply

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments