Casey Clark’s 51.98 Highlights an Electric Night of Conference USA Swimming

2015 Conference USA Swimming & Diving Championships

  • Wednesday, February 18- Saturday, February 21
  • Knoxville, TN- Allan Jones Aquatic Center
  • Prelims/Finals Wednesday 2 PM (diving)/6 PM, Thursday-Saturday 10:30 AM/6 PM (Eastern Time Zone)
  • Championship Central
  • Live results

Women’s Session

Night three started off with a familiar face atop the podium. Johann Gustafsdottir was able to complete the sweep of the medleys with her win in the 400 IM (4:11.83). Halfway through the race she has had built up a 5 second lead on her closest competitor, and after that no one was able to challenge her. The senior’s fly and back split (56.46 and 1:02.42) were both the fastest of the field. Pushing the first half of the race was a strategy that worked to her favor, and led her to break the meet record. Finishing in second, in a new personal best and school record, was Krista Rossum from University of North Texas.

Not to be outdone, Rice senior Casey Clark broke the meet record in the 100 fly in the next event. Her 51.98 just missed the A cut, but should be enough to get the invite. Clark was out in front racing the clock as WKU’s Haley Black finished well behind in 53.70. Black was able to keep it close for the first 50, but Clark’s finishing speed was too much to handle. Right after this event ODU’s Rachel Eckert claimed the top spot on the boards for the second night in a row by winning the 3 meter.

FAU saw their first individual win of the meet when Agi Bucz took the crown in the 200 free (1:45.58). WKU was out for revenge after Rice took over the second place position earlier in the night. Susan Marquess and Michelle Craddock helped the Hilltoppers to chip away at that lead by finishing in 2nd and 3rd (1:47.71 and 1:48.10). Following in suit, their teammate Claire Conlon won the 100 breaststroke (1:00.77) in a tight race against Rice’s Rachel Moody (1:00.83). The time from Conlon is .01 under what it took to qualify for NCAAs last year, so it should be interesting to see if she ends up getting the invite.

The last individual event of the night saw another tight battle where Rice finished in second. This time it was Silvia Scalia from FIU that touched first in the 100 backstroke (52.58) ahead of Alicia Caldwell (53.48). Scalia barely missed the meet record, but went well under her FIU school record of 53.50.

After fighting so hard to pull into second, a DQ in the 400 medley relay slid Rice back down to third. The Owls finished in first in the relay, but the DQ resulted in WKU being named the victor. After winning the 100 breaststroke earlier in the night, Claire Conlon came up big for her team by splitting a 59.90. Scalia and her teammate Michelle Craddock had the fastest bookend splits of the field (53.08 and 48.69), but Conlon’s split was too much for them to handle. FIU has pulled ahead in the team scores, and the real battle on the final day will be for second between WKU and Rice.

Men’s Session

Starting off the night for the men Chris Goodman of WKU won the 400 IM (3:53.65). This was a great start on the night for the Hilltoppers, but they really made a big move up in the standings after the 100 fly. ODU swimmers Reed Mathew and Vitor Sa may have finished 1-2, but WKU saw swimmers finish in 3-8 to round out the fastest heat. This cut ODU’s lead to only 7.5 points.

After a monster split leading off FAU’s 800 free relay on night one Matthieu Burtez was ready to put on a show in his individual race. The junior broke the meet record and blasted to a 1:35.92. In a short turnaround, Vitor Sa finished second in his second final of the night (1:37.13).

WKU made it back to the top of the podium in the next event when Fabian Schwingenschlogl finished the 100 breast in a 52.43. The last qualifier at NCCAs last year made it in with 53.23, so Schwingenschlogl should be in the clear. Ending the night out for individual swimming events Anton Mikaelsson from ODU snatched up the win in the 100 back (49.46). Zach Batus then secured the winning diving points for WKU in the 3 meter.

ODU wanted to keep things as close as possibly going into the last day of competition tomorrow. The team of Anton Mikaelsson (49.54), Jacob Zeidler (53.59), Reed Mathews (46.63), and Vitor Sa (44.01) were able to do just that when the won the 400 medley relay. This win brought WKU’s lead to only 1.5 points. It should be a fight to the finish tomorrow at the Allan Jones Aquatic Center.

Team Scores

1. Florida International University- 517
2. Western Kentucky University- 444
3. Rice University- 412
4. Marshall University- 333
5. University of North Texas-256
6. Florida Atlantic University- 230

1. Western Kentucky University- 555
2. Old Dominion University- 548
3. Florida Atlantic University- 411

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