The Florida Gulf Coast women defeated Rice in a dual this weekend, winning all but two events to take the team title 134 to 71.
FGCU scored major points by sweeping the relays. In the 200 medley relay, freshman Elise Haan grabbed an early lead on the backstroke leg, splitting 26.16 to Rice’s Australian native Alicia Caldwell‘s 26.86. Katie Armitage kept the lead by going 29.14 in the breast, and Yee Ching Wong split 25.16 in the fly leg. Rice’s anchor Jaecey Parham outsplit FGCU’s Kristin Julien by going 24.19, but she wasn’t quite able to catch up to the deficit from the first three legs. FGCU finished in 1:45.01, followed by Rice’s 1:46.68.
The 200 free relay of Barbados native Lani Cabrera (who you may know as one of our SwimSwam writers), Sarah Hamilton, Barbara Caraballo, and Katie Latham outswam the Rice team of Cora McKenzie, Taylor Armstrong, Anniina Ala-Seppala, and Kiley Beall, finishing 1:36.57 to Rice’s 1:38.32. Hamilton, Caraballo, and Latham all split under 24 seconds.
The 1000 free shaped up to be a nail-biter between Cabrera, a senior, and Rice freshman Hanna Huston. They stayed within tenths of each other on each wall the entire race, until Cabrera used a final burst of speed to finish in 10:13.23. Huston hit three-tenths behind in 10:13.53.
Caldwell used incredibly even splits to take the two Rice victories of the day. First, she won the 200 freestyle by nearly negative splitting, going 56.02 and 56.24 for a winning 1:52.26. FGCU’s Linda Shaw finished second in 1:53.02. Later, Caldwell took the 100 freestyle, splitting 25.14 and 26.57 to outtouch FGCU’s Sara Hamilton in 51.71.
Florida Gulf Coast swept first and second in the 50 free, 100 fly, and 100 back. In the 50, freshman British-native Latham swam 23.84, followed by Hamilton’s 24.06. The 100 fly went to freshman Wong, a Hong Kong native, in 56.28, followed by Christina Elmgreen‘s 56.74. Haan, another member of FGCU’s star freshman class, won the 100 back by over a second in 56.24, followed by her teammate Sandra Wilk, who finished in 57.37.
Caraballo used strong backstroke and free splits to go 2:04.83 and win the 200 IM by over a second and a half. Rice’s Kaitlyn Swinney finished second in 2:06.55.
The 500 free was another close race, this one between FGCU freshman Melissa Marinheiro, Huston, and Cabrera. Marinheiro held her splits even, never breaking the 31-second line. Huston and Cabrera both tried to come back at the final 100, but they weren’t quite able to catch her. Marinheiro won the event in 5:03.21, followed by Huston in 5:03.36 and Cabrera in 5:04.67.
Armitage took the 100 breaststroke out fast, splitting 29.78 at the 50 and finishing in 1:03.24, well over a second ahead of Rice’s Marie-Claire Schillinger (1:04.68).
FGCU is currently undefeated in dual competition, while Rice is 3-4, although they have won two large invitationals this season.
FGCU will compete next weekend at home against Liberty University, and Rice will swim January 12th against the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio.